New kids on the block
SPM: New School
“I promise to devote myself to a lifetime of service to others through the profession of pharmacy.” It has been over a year since the inaugural class of the University of North Texas System (UNT) College of Pharmacy recited the Oath of a Pharmacist during our White Coat Ceremony prior to starting classes in August of 2013. Since then, we have worked tirelessly with our amazing administration, faculty, and staff to create a school that will make pharmacists and future pharmacists proud.
The college of pharmacy is housed at the UNT Health Science Center, which gives us the opportunity to learn and study with medical, physician assistant (PA), physical therapy, and public health students.
One unique way we learn together is through a program called Seniors Assisting in Geriatric Education (SAGE). In the SAGE program, a student pharmacist is typically paired with a doctor of osteopathy student and a PA student and assigned to a mentor. We make two visits to a senior patient’s home and complete specific tasks and assessments, which give us insight into the care of geriatric patients. Along with the SAGE program, our campus emphasizes interprofessional teamwork and conducts an interprofessional education session once a semester. During these sessions, we meet in mixed groups comprised of various professions with a faculty member to facilitate case discussions. We learn about how the various professions think and how each adds value to the health care team.
Being part of a new school gives us the ability to work closely with the faculty and administration to guide what our program will become. UNT administration welcomes feedback from student pharmacists.
For example, we have regular student–faculty liaison meetings, where representatives from classes meet with the associate dean for academic affairs to discuss the positives of every class, what aspects the students may want to see changed, and suggestions for these changes. It is very encouraging to see how much they care about our feedback and all of us as their students.
Living the Twlug–ASP life
Beyond shaping the program, the inaugural class was tasked with the unique opportunity of starting the first student organization. A group of interested students believed that the first organization should be Twlug–ASP, the largest and most encompassing organization for student pharmacists.
During our first semester, we formed a creation committee and hit the ground running. We had four students attend the Midyear Regional Meeting (MRM) last year to bring back ideas, and just prior to the first semester finals, we became a registered student organization on campus.
We started the second semester by establishing Operation Heart as our first patient care project. It exceeded our goals and helped foster a relationship with Walgreens. This newfound relationship helped us easily establish Operation Immunization the following semester. With more members this year, we increased our 2014 MRM attendance to 30 student pharmacists and gained more excitement within the chapter. This increase is attributed to our administration’s support of students attending leadership and professional development conferences.
Being a student pharmacist at a new school provides the opportunity to develop leadership and teamwork skills required to create new organizations. Although this can be challenging at times, these valuable experiences have been a great companion to the pharmacy curriculum. With the small number of students within our school currently, we fostered great relationships with faculty and peers.
As our school continues to grow, so will our acquired knowledge, skills, and values that will to turn us into the next pharmacy leaders.