Published on November 1, 2018 by Sarah Waller  
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Nearly 100 third-year students in Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy mobilized across Alabama to provide care by administering 4,692 vaccines, 270 patient physical assessments, 675 self-care counseling, and 508 medication therapy management encounters in a community pharmacy setting over the course of six days. 

This real-world experience is a part of Samford’s commitment to empower students with confidence, compassion and knowledge through introductory pharmacy practice experience (IPPE) courses. These courses are designed to be a building block for students, refining the skills they develop in the classroom. 

“Through this experience, we want our students to understand the importance of public health in pharmacy,” said Dee Thomason, professor and assistant director for experiential education. “But even more than that, we want them to gain the confidence and experience to be practice ready before they graduate.”

Each year, Doctor of Pharmacy students complete an IPPE course with a specific focus. For third-year students, the focus is on public health in a community pharmacy setting. The course follows the training they completed in their second year for vaccines and physical assessment and their knowledge base they’ve gained to lead medication therapy management encounters. 

“Most of the vaccines students administered were for the flu, but our students also reviewed the patients’ records to determine other areas for optimal medication therapy interventions,” Thomason said.

Ninety-one students participated in this course with the involvement of 22 community partners including chain and independent pharmacies. The course began on a Friday and continued throughout the next week. Each student worked a total of 48 hours. 

“There is no substitute for hands-on experience like this and we thank our community pharmacy partners for making it happen. It provides students with extensive experience and helps them realize the critical role pharmacists play in the community setting,” said Michael Crouch, dean of McWhorter School of Pharmacy.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.