The Geeks Are Back In The Creek

red mattReady? Set? GO! The back to school rush has begun and we all have made our anticipated travels back to the creek from a much needed, but very short summer. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I have never seen 3 months of my life fly right by without hesitation. From traveling the world, to weekend beach trips with friends and everything in between, pharmacy students really know how to take advantage of time off from school. Summer as a pharmacy student consists of at least one month of your time devoted to a 40 hour/week rotation. My rotation at Harris Teeter Pharmacy was in May, which made the rest of the summer conveniently relaxing. As we switch our gears and prepare our mentality back into “study mode,” the transition is never easy. For the current P2’s and P3’s, that mentality had to change very quickly. Finding motivation wasnot an option since we had a medicinal chemistry nomenclature exam and the top 300 drug exam all in the first week back, respectively.

The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is always prepared to welcome students back to Maddox Hall each fall. The Back to School BBQ is always a big hit with students thanks to our sponsors from CVS pharmacy and all of the faculty and staff that took part in the preparation. The delicious BBQ is always a treat and of course no celebration is worth celebrating without Sunni Sky’s homemade ice cream.  Another exciting moment as we come back to school is the annual White Coat Ceremony. Donning my white coat is a moment that I personally will never forget. This milestone in my life occurred one year ago and I think about it each time I am in my white coat. This symbolic ceremony is a great reminder of how bright the future of pharmacy is as we welcome many new student pharmacists to Campbell University. This year 105 incoming P1 student received their white coats and took their first oath as student pharmacists. Convocation is another annual event that occurs during the beginning of school.  Convocation is a time for everyone to gather together to celebrate the upcoming graduating classes from the Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. Seeing these graduating students walk into the auditorium as a part of the processional makes it surreal to me that I will be in their position in a few short years.

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Members of the PharmD Class of 2017 being honored at Convocation. 

 
For me, going back to school is always bittersweet. It is so exciting to be back in the place most of us call our second home; reconnecting with friends new and old that you might not have seen over the summer makes the stress of starting classes again worth it. In pharmacy school, we consider ourselves a big family (or rather, a pharmily). All of us work collectively with the ultimate goal of receiving our PharmD in full focus. I encourage those that are just beginning their P1 year, or any prospective students that want to begin the long winding road we call pharmacy school, to not only work hard but to enjoy every moment that you can. As the Great Albert Einstein once said: “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”

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Matthew Fowler (P2)

Walgreens Intro To Community Rotation

Scared. Anxious. Nervous. Excited. That’s how I would describe myself before starting my introduction to community rotation at Walgreens. I have worked in an independent pharmacy for around 7 years now, so branching out and learning about how a retail chain pharmacy operated was completely new to me. I chose to go to Walgreens in Pittsboro, because it is back home and I would be able to see why certain customers chose this pharmacy over the independent I was previously employed at. I had heard rumors from colleagues to go ahead and prepare myself to count pills all day every day at community rotation. Some even said we are considered “free labor” on this rotation, however, I had the complete opposite experience.

I’ll start off by saying standing on my feet from 8:00-4:00 every day was something I definitely had to get used to. The whole first week I felt like my body, from my hips down, were jello.

Pittsboro is about an hour from Campbell and 30 minutes from UNC. Therefore, I had another pharmacy student from UNC on rotation with me. Little did I know, I was working at the second busiest store in our district, which includes Walgreens in Cary and Apex. Yes, we did fill a lot of scripts a day, but we also did A LOT of other tasks.  During the month of May, our district was having a vaccine competition and the stores that administered at least 10 vaccines a week got free lunch from the district manager. My store took this competition very seriously, and needless to say, we earned free lunch multiple times.  From this experience, I am now comfortable administering both intramuscular and subcutaneous vaccines after getting my immunization certification P1 year. Obviously, I was nervous to give my first few vaccines, but now I am even comfortable administering them to fragile individuals and those that seem like they are skin and bones!

In addition to administering vaccines, I was able to compound medications, participate in CMR’s, counseling patients, recommending OTC products, checking blood pressures, checking blood glucose levels and giving advice and medical assistance to patients that came in not feeling well and contemplating going to the hospital. I loved being able to put what I learned in the classroom from the previous school year and apply it to real life, because what we learned really does happen in the real world of pharmacy!

I thoroughly enjoyed my rotation. I loved having another student there from another school because we were able to learn from each other and also help each other out. In addition to us, there were also two P4 students that were interns at the store. It was very interesting and comforting to be able to see how much they’ve learned since P1 year and that we will be in their shoes one day! Another bonus of this rotation was that I had an awesome preceptor. In fact, both of the pharmacist at this site were awesome and truly care about their students (as students and as people). They pushed me to my full potential and helped me learn a lot. I would highly recommend this rotation site to any P1 student in the future!

-Sierra Timmons (P2)

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Sierra and her preceptor on her last day of an awesome rotation!

Five Minute Study Break: A Look at Professional Pharmacy Fraternities

For our first installment of the year for the “Five Minute Study Break” series we reached out to the presidents of all three of the professional pharmacy fraternities to get to know them and their organizations better. Campbell University College of Pharmacy has active Kappa Epsilon, Kappa Psi, and Phi Delta Chi chapters.

1) Tell me about the organization that you represent and what is your role on the officer board? 

I am Cameron Mines,  the president of Kappa Epsilon, which is predominately a female fraternity. We are a smaller fraternity but with that comes a very tight knit group of friends. In our fraternity we work to promote women in pharmacy and our philanthropy is The Young Survivors Coalition. We are also involved with volunteering at other locations to give our members as many opportunities to get service hours as possible. Although we try to get as many service opportunities, we also make time for socials and spending quality time together as a fraternity. – Cameron, KE 

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Kappa Epsilon members after their Spring 2016 Initiation

My name is Xanthe Andrews (P3) and I serve as the Second Vice Regent and Rush Chair for Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity, Inc.  Kappa Psi is the oldest and largest pharmaceutical fraternity in the country.   We were founded May 30, 1879 in New Haven, Connecticut.  Our chapter, Delta Lambda, was founded at Campbell in 1988 and we have been growing ever since!  The four main pillars of Kappa Psi are Fellowship, Industry, Sobriety, and High Ideals.  We strive to serve the community, advance the profession of pharmacy, and inspire a deep and lasting pride for our fraternity in our members.  –Xanthe, KY

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Kappa Psi members at a regional Province meeting.

My name is Matthew Harding and I represent Phi Delta Chi as the current President. The motto of our fraternity is Alterum Alterius Auxilio Eget which means “each needs the help of the other.” Our Brotherhood is just that, a family, and I personally could not have made it through pharmacy school without the help of my Brothers. During times of stress, Brothers will go out of their way to provide snacks, food, drinks, etc. for either the class above or below in order to help them deal with their upcoming exams. Our philanthropy is St. Jude Children’s Hospital for which we hold several fundraisers and service projects throughout the year.-Matt, PDC

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Phi Delta Chi members at a Tailgate

2) Why did you choose to join a professional fraternity?

I wanted to rush with a smaller tighter knit group. When I started at Campbell I didn’t know anyone and the girls in KE just seemed like my perfect fit. Now starting my third year I can definitely say that KE was a very important part of my pharmacy experience.-Cameron, KE

 

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Kappa Psi members after an Adopt-A-Highway event.

Starting P1 year, I was an introverted extrovert. I had a mentor encourage me to rush (she knew I needed a way out of my shell!) and I figured everyone was so excited about a Round Robin, I better not miss it! I was instantly surrounded by people cheering me on and helping me find a place in our program. People I had never met before that year were coming to my house with care packages before exams, giving me tips on how to handle all the material coming my way, and genuinely interested in my wellbeing and leadership development. It is not every day you get the opportunity to network with such a wide array of professionals in your field and in the pharmacy program. -Xanthe, KY

 

Upon arriving at Campbell University, I did not have the benefit of knowing many people in my class. For the first time, I felt like an outsider and I wanted to rid myself of the feeling. As it turns out, joining PDC was one of the best decisions I have ever made in my life. Pledging helped me learn how to manage my time better, get to know my fellow classmates who were also rushing, and get to know P2’s, P3’s, and P4’s who were Brothers of the fraternity. -Matt, PDC

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KE new members pose with their new letters.

3) What is your favorite thing about being a member of your fraternity?

My favorite thing about being a member KE includes the opportunities for service and the social activities. We work with one of the local churches in their soup kitchen and Adopt A Highway so I very heavily rely on the fraternity for service opportunities. The social activities are even better where we have done many different things from movie nights to lunch. -Cameron, KE

I have loved the family atmosphere and the connections I have made along the way. We have the opportunity to attend regional and national meetings regularly, so I am constantly meeting new people who are eager to help me begin my career. Xanthe, KY
It affords you the opportunity of networking with other Brothers around the country. We have two other chapters in North Carolina, one at UNC and the other at Wingate, and we are very active with Brothers of each chapter. There are 95 chapters of Phi Delta Chi around the country and all would welcome you with open arms for the simple fact that you are a Brother of PDC. PDC is my pharmily as we say, and that has to be my favorite thing about our fraternity. -Matt, PDC
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Phi Delta Chi members and alumni with chapter awards at Grand Council.

4) What benefits have you received from being a member of your fraternity?

The best benefit of being a member of KE is the friendships I have made along the way. It is so helpful to have the advice and support of upperclassmen and to pass on your help to those in classes below you. Above all, you become very close with all of the people in your fraternity and really depend on each other for support and friendship. -Cameron, KE

I have gained friendships, mentors, and a new sense of my abilities. I have become a leader and a more confident person. I have been given the opportunity to serve in roles I never would have imagined as a P1, and not just within the fraternity- I am now the PSEB Vice President! What?! Being a member of a fraternity has given me so much, and I cannot imagine going through pharmacy school without the support system I have gained. -Xanthe, KY

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Kappa Psi members at a social event.

Support is the greatest benefit I have received from this fraternity. There have been a few Brothers who have gone through some traumatic experiences and we have done things such as send flower baskets, provide meals during their time of need, etc. On my first day of pharmacy school, I never thought I would have the chance to say that I am the President of an organization, but it is from the support of all members that I have been blessed with the opportunity to serve this organization on a greater scale then I ever imagined possible. -Matt, PDC

 

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KE members at a Fall social event.

5) What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about going through rush?

I would definitely encourage everyone to try as many rush events as possible! It is not only a lot of fun but can also be a great way to meet new friends and see which fraternity fits you best. Joining a fraternity is one of the best things I did and I have no idea what I would do without my KE members. -Cameron, KE

Have an open mind and just give it a try. You may think now, “This isn’t for me.” You honestly won’t know for sure unless you test it out. Come to Round Robin and see what you think. Whatever you do, do not look back and say, “Man, I wish I would have just checked it out.” It will be a decision you won’t regret, and probably the best one you could make in this program! -Xanthe, KY
Take your time in deciding. Don’t just pick a fraternity because all your friends are joining that specific one. Pick the one that you feel best represents your character. Each and every organization is great in their own ways, just keep an open mind throughout Round Robin and Rush. -Matt, PDC
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PDC members at their annual Lasagna Dinner which raises money for St. Jude.

For anyone interested in joining a professional pharmacy fraternity, please come to Maddox Hall on Wednesday, August 17 at 5:00pm to meet members of all three fraternities at Round Robin. We hope to see you at all of the rush events over the next few weeks!
-Xanthe Andrews (P3), Matt Harding (P3), Cameron Mines (P3), and Kathryn Ray (P3)

Duke Outpatient Pharmacy for the WIN!

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My first rotation as a Campbell University Student Pharmacist could not have gone any better! I spent the month of May at the Duke Outpatient Pharmacy to fulfill my Introduction to Community rotation requirement. Even though we are assigned a preceptor, I was placed under the wing of all of the pharmacists in the outpatient pharmacy. They were all wonderful and eager to teach me! I often came to them with questions about a new drug I had never seen before as well as questions about pharmacy operations. If they didn’t know the answer, they didn’t stop until they found someone who did.

One of the pharmacists took the role of scheduling visits to other pharmacies at Duke which was so much fun! For a couple of hours, I would shadow pharmacists and technicians in other areas of the hospital to see what their daily routine consisted of and to see if our interests were sparked. This allowed me to be exposed to different facets of the pharmacy field without a long commitment. I have a background in pediatrics so I really wanted to visit the pharmacy in the Children’s Hospital to learn more about the role of a Pediatric Pharmacist. I wanted to know the similarities and differences between their role and the role of the typical hospital pharmacist. I absolutely LOVED it! The first half of my day consisted of just filling prescriptions already on the counter but THEN (drumroll, please)…I made liquid compounds from tablets!! I was even more excited than a kid in a real life Candy Land. It may not sound like a whole lot of fun on paper but preparing it under the hood and watching the results made me feel like an evil scientist with a recipe.

On day 1 of my rotation, my preceptor analogized that my experience at Duke would be like a buffet table at a restaurant and he was right! I was able to get a taste of different positions and job descriptions that are available in our profession. That was a rare opportunity since I know I wouldn’t have received that type of exposure at a normal retail pharmacy. My advise to anyone who will be experiencing their first rotation soon is be sure to take advantage of every opportunity made available no matter where you go!

-Mariam Dari (P2)

Intro to Community Pharmacy Rotation: Realo Discount Drug

This summer I did my Community Rotation at Realo Discount Drug in Lillington right down the road from Campbell University’s campus. If you live are from Eastern North Carolina, you have probably seen a Realo before as there are about 20 in the region. They are considered a small chain so they are kind of in between a CVS or Walgreens and a single independent pharmacy. At Campbell, students between their P1 and P2 year are required to do an introduction to community rotation during the summer. I chose Realo specifically because I wanted to get a feel for what it was like working in a smaller volume pharmacy in a more rural area. I am from Apex, North Carolina and have previously worked at CVS in Cary so I was looking for a completely different experience and the wide variety of community rotation options allowed me to have my choice of which part of the state I wanted to learn in.

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When I say I loved every day at Realo Discount Drug I am being 100% honest. Would I rather have been on a beach somewhere for the month of June? The answer to that is yes, I am only human, but for a required learning experience I could not have asked for a better month. My preceptor was fantastic and helped me learn so much not only about drugs and pharmacology but about business and how much more pharmacists themselves are relied on in smaller pharmacies to control margins and profit. Having great people to work with goes a long way. The pharmacists and technicians at Realo truly care about patients and we had a lot of fun teaching and learning together. I did a lot of the same tasks I was used to from working at CVS like filling prescriptions, calling doctor’s offices, and helping patients pick up their medicines, but in the short time I was there I learned many new things as well. I was able to more formally counsel patients with my preceptor’s advice and I gained new experience with compounding and blister packing. Something else that was new to me that I really enjoyed was learning more about MTM (Medication Therapy Management) platforms and how pharmacists are working with other healthcare providers to improve their patients’ quality of care and medication adherence. To me, the MTM experience was the most valuable knowledge I gained. Healthcare is changing to be more focused on the quality of care patients receive and their progress outside of healthcare settings is being more closely monitored. These MTM experiences helped me see how retail pharmacists can have a personal and meaningful impact on patient health in addition to filling their maintenance medications at the pharmacy.

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Though I am still unsure of the direction my pharmacy education will take me for my career I am so grateful for the experience I had at Realo and that Campbell pharmacists are so willing to precept current students. Having their leadership and direction helps put your future into perspective and personally motivates you to learn all you can while in school. My rotation was an invaluable learning experience and I can’t imagine a site I would’ve enjoyed more!

-Tess Wells (P2)

Beginning of Pharmacy School Study Tips

Starting pharmacy school can be an adjustment from the pace of undergrad classes. The information is presented more quickly and depending on the class, the material can be more challenging than you have seen before. Everyone learns differently, and I think one of the biggest ways to succeed is to determine the way that you learn best. Do you learn best by seeing a diagram or picture explaining a concept? Do you remember those random little facts that the professor speaks during class? Do you learn best by explaining the concept to someone else or writing out your own study guide?

[Here is a link to an online quiz that can help assess learning styles, in case you don’t know yours: https://www.engr.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ilsweb.html ]

By understanding what learning style suits you best, you can adapt your study strategies to include these in order to be most efficient and maximize your time. For example, if you learn best by listening, you can review lectures using Tegrity. If you are visual learner, study the PowerPoints or map out concepts using diagrams/pictures.

These study tips will probably not be revolutionary, but these helped me survive P1 year…and hopefully P2 year😉

#1 Be organized

With pharmaceutical skills labs meeting only certain days, tests, quizzes, and organization meetings, I wouldn’t have lasted without a planner. Things can really pile up quickly, and if you can look ahead in the week, it is easier to plan out your time.

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Good tools:

  • Google calendar/iCalendar
  • ToDoIst (todoist.com) –an online to do list that can sync across devices and has ways to set up reoccuring events/prioritize items
  • Good ol’ paper planner and written to do list
  • OneNote to organize all of your classes
    • I make a tab for each class and in each tab load the PowerPoints so it is all consolidated in one place. You can draw on the PowerPoints to highlight or circle key words. You can also type notes next to each slide.

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#2 Do not be afraid to switch up study methods for different classes

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When I first started pharmacy school, I wanted to study exactly like I had for undergrad classes which for me was usually making a nice handwritten outline. I tried to do this for all of the classes and found myself pressed for time to complete the outlines before exams. That’s when I realized it’s ok to have different methods from (a) undergrad and (b) for each class. I found that the outlines were still helpful for biochemistry, but didn’t help for anatomy and physiology where studying the PowerPoints directly was more time effective. Then, second semester I discovered Anki (see #3) and now use flashcards for most of the classes. But don’t be scared to switch it up–study in a group for one class, study individually for others–the main thing is once you figure out which system helps you, use it!

#3 Review every day, if possible

This tip is not revolutionary, but I think is the most valuable. If you use flashcards or even just look over the PowerPoints after class, it can help when it comes to preparing for exams. Reviewing a little bit helps store the information in digestible chunks, so you spend less time before tests studying (and for me relieves some stress since I am not cramming).

Flashcards really help things stick in my brain. Two flashcard programs I used first year are listed below. The one that changed how I studied was anki. If you are a flashcard person, I would check it out!

  • Anki (http://ankisrs.net/) –it’s a free flashcard program that is based on reviewing everyday but only studying flashcards you don’t know. I don’t waste time reviewing something I already know but spend more time on those that I don’t which makes it time efficient, productive studying.
  • Quizlet (quizlet.com) –most people are probably aware of this and used it in undergrad but this flashcard system is great for learning top 100 where spelling the drug names count. You can use learn mode and type out the drug names so you are sure to ace top 100!

 

#4 Take breaks!Take a break

There is a lot of information to absorb, but taking time for yourself and relaxing can be just as important as studying. Try to have fun and continue hobbies/activities that you enjoy so you don’t get burned out. It’s a marathon, not a sprint so pacing yourself is key!

-Holly Jordan (P2)

Intro to Hospital Rotation: Wake Forest Baptist Health

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During the summer between P2 and P3 year, every student is required to complete a hospital rotation. This past summer I had the privilege to complete my rotation at Wake Forest Baptist Health. I had never worked in a hospital setting before, so when it came time to pick a rotation site I wanted a bigger hospital. Due to the size of the hospital, I got to see varying areas of pharmacy within the hospital as well as seeing the everyday operations of working in a hospital.

Since I had never worked in a hospital, my preceptor made sure that I got to see almost everything the hospital had to offer. Wake Forest Baptist Health has a central pharmacy that dispenses medications throughout the hospital. In this area, I got to help verify, pull, fill, and check prescriptions. In the central pharmacy, they have an IV room where I got to get some experience in filling IV prescriptions. While working in the central pharmacy, I delivered prescriptions and learned how to work the machines on the floors where medications were placed. My preceptor wanted to ensure that I understood how medications arrived at the hospital, how they were properly filled, and then how the patients received them.

One of the best parts of my rotation was being able to go on rounds with a clinical pharmacist. I was able to round on the pediatric and psychiatric floor. It was really interesting to see how the clinical pharmacist works with a healthcare team to treat patients. On rounds, there was a medical doctor with their students and the clinical pharmacist. The doctor and students would rely on the pharmacist for recommendations on medication dosing and strengths, especially with the pediatric patients. It was interesting to see how the group collaborated to make a plan for the patient and determine how to ensure the patient is getting the care they need. The collaboration was very important in the pediatric population due to their small size. These were some of the most rewarding days because you got to see how your medication decisions were impacting a patient’s life.

Even though rotation takes a month out of your summer, my hospital rotation seemed to fly by! I learned so much about the hospital setting in that time and was able to apply what I had learned in class to real-life situations. Rotations are very helpful in determining what a student might want to do after graduation. Due to my experience, I may choose to work in a hospital in the future and even if I do not end up in a hospital, I had a great experience and made a lot of connections with pharmacists for the future.

-Haley Webster (P3)