Written By: Mark Brueckl, RPh, MBA, Assistant Director of ELP
On Feb. 3, my colleagues and I in the Experiential Learning Program (ELP) hosted the School of Pharmacy’s first-ever Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) Rotation Site Fair for third-year student pharmacists. We wanted to introduce students, who will soon be entering their last year in the School’s four-year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program, to the wide range of rotation opportunities to which they can apply for their final year in the program, which is spent away from the School implementing the skills that they have learned in real practice settings.
Finding Inspiration in Our Students
The idea to host an APPE Rotation Site Fair at the School came from none other than one of our current fourth-year student pharmacists who had heard about other schools of pharmacy hosting similar events for their students. We saw this event as not only an opportunity for preceptors to highlight their rotation sites, but also for students to learn more about the rotation opportunities available to them as well as the preceptors with whom they would be working. ELP staff — led by our office manager LaTia Few, MBA — worked with the student and a second-year student pharmacist to begin planning an event of our own.
Learning As We Go
Ms. Few was quick to organize everyone in the office. She used an online collaboration tool to set forth a project plan with tasks and goals for each member of our team, with all of us working together to bring the event to fruition. We contacted the event organizers at other schools for their input, who offered great insight and gave us a good understanding about how to organize our event. We also drew from individual experiences.
To add our own twist on the event, we incorporated a student panel discussion that was held immediately before the fair. Several current fourth-year student pharmacists were invited to discuss their experience on rotation with the third-year student pharmacists in attendance. Again, it was our student assistants who were most instrumental in coordinating this piece of the event.
Reflecting On Our Experience
In the end, all of our hard work was worth it – we created a truly memorable learning experience that benefitted not just our students, but also our preceptors who were quick to express their gratitude at the invitation to participate in the fair and “market” their sites to our students. We were thrilled to have 23 sites and preceptors, as well as more than 100 students, attend this first-of-its-kind event. In fact, almost all of the School’s third-year student pharmacists attended and commented on how much they enjoyed the experience.
But, we always know that there is room for improvement! As a follow up to the event, our office plans to send a survey to the preceptors and students who attended for additional feedback and suggestions about the fair. In addition, while our first event was held only at the School’s Baltimore campus, we plan to consider expanding it to the Shady Grove campus in the future, as well.