As the profession of pharmacy continues to evolve in response to society’s health-related needs, one of the most pressing developments is the demand for more residency training opportunities. The demand currently far outstrips the supply of residency positions, and 2010 saw nearly 1 in 3 applicants fail to secure one through the Match. The onus on us as pharmacy educators is two-fold. Nationally, we need to scale up existing slots and help create new programs. Locally, we need to prepare our students as intensively as possible to help them compete for residencies that will help transform them into agents of change for the profession.
To that end, a couple of my colleagues developed an elective, Residency Interviewing Preparatory Seminar (RIPS), the details of which were recently published in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. I was fortunate to be involved in this course aimed at developing our students’ core skills in the process including: improving their interviewing and presentation skills, professionalism, and developing their curriculum vitae (CV) and personal statement. As the course was targeted to P4s (i.e., completing the final, clinical phase of their education) who were at their rotation site all day, the class was held weekly for two hours in the evening and timed to be completed directly before the Midyear Clinical Meeting.
Completion of the RIPS course demonstrably improved the confidence of the enrolled students and 78% of RIPS students that cycle secured a residency. Nationally, the success rate is only around 62%, although these numbers cannot be directly compared. We have continued the course since publication and the most recent iteration saw a further increase in the percentage of RIPS students able to secure a residency position. Plans are to continue an iterative approach to course development.
When you teach at a University with multiple campuses (in our case, Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach in Florida and Ponce in Puerto Rico) even with live, interactive videoconferencing – you have to try and figure out ways to connect with your students at different sites. We’ve tried different methods over the years with varying success, but one that worked well early on was the use of an audience response system (aka clickers). This is something I talked about previously in the presentation, “The Science Behind Engaging Students in Class“.
Our recent article in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education basically describes our multi-campus implementation and measurement of its impact on student engagement, satisfaction, and opinions about projected use of clickers in other courses. We also touched on related issues, such as clickers’ possible role in helping desensitize communication apprehension in students.
Clauson KA, Alkhateeb FM, Singh-Franco D. Concurrent use of an audience response system at a multi-campus college of pharmacy. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. 76(1):6.
The 45th Annual Meeting of the Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists (FSHP) was held in Orlando during the weekend. Since it is a state organization conference, it is much smaller than gatherings like the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting. This allowed for a streamlined set of programming tracks and a more relaxed atmosphere. There were also some interesting individual sessions (and necessities) on medication errors, pain management, etc. I particularly liked the presentation on “Cyberhealth”, which focused on issues with Internet Pharmacy. Additionally, I had the opportunity to present “Pharmacy: Is there an app for you” at the meeting.
The most recent issue of the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education featured a Technology in Pharmacy Education section. There is some really interesting reading in this section including, “Use of Twitter to Encourage Interaction in a Multi-campus Pharmacy Management Course” by @Brent_Fox. Brent actually authored several articles including, “Knowledge, Skills, and Resources for Pharmacy Informatics Education“, which he wrote along with the newly installed Chair of the ASHP Informatics Section Allen Flynn, informatics luminary and frontliner Chris Fortier (@FortiPharm), and I. With this article, we tried to summarize the baseline informatics knowledge that pharmacy students should possess upon graduation, framed within med use processes. My hope is that it will be of real practical use to educators and others as specific recommendations are provided regarding activities and resources for class and curricular integration, rather than just observations made from 30,000 feet. Also, as with all articles in AJPE, this one is open access (OA) in that it can be accessed free, full-text by anyone.
Source: Fox BI, Flynn AJ, Fortier CR, Clauson KA. Knowledge, skills, and resources for pharmacy informatics education. Am J Pharm Educ. 2011;75(5):Article 93.
One of my pet interests is health literacy and its far-reaching impact on quality and access to healthcare. The issues surrounding it can almost be insidious in nature. Despite this, health literacy is typically only given superficial coverage in traditional training programs.
Here in South Florida we have an especially diverse patient population with a higher than average percentage of those with limited English proficiency (LEP). It’s pretty intuitive, but LEP patients are (unfortunately) more likely to encounter barriers to health care and are associated with poorer outcomes than non-LEP patients.
In part to address this, there was actually an Executive Order mandating “meaningful access” be given to LEP persons for Federally-funded activities (what, you didn’t think ‘meaningful use/access’ was limited to EHRs and the like?). Consequently, hospitals, clinics, etc. began incorporating translators and other language access services (LAS) as SOP (at least on paper) due to their receipt of Federal funding/payments. However, a funny thing happened on the way to implementation in community pharmacies – much as those pharmacies and the healthcare professionals that staff them are treated differently than similar entities/professionals in our system of health care…this mandate has been treated more as a voluntary compliance issue. What, if any, impact has this had on reimbursement or outcomes? The jury is still out. However, as a first step to methodically examine this issue, we conducted a national survey of availability and use of LAS in community pharmacies; the initial results of which have recently been published in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association (JAPhA).
Pharmacist responses to the survey ranged from descriptions of widely advertised and seamlessly integrated interpretation (verbal) and translation (written) LAS services to the (rarely observed) attitude of ‘if they’re in our country they should speak English’. Overall, we identified issues regarding awareness (e.g., about half of pharmacies with LAS capacities did not report making them known to patients), use of LAS (e.g., about 40% said they “never” used interpretation/translation tools), and workflow/time (e.g., a quarter of respondents said they simply lacked time to use LAS). Alternately, there were encouraging signs as pharmacies that did apprise patients of LAS availability used a variety of methods including in-store direct notification, signage, flyers, and targeted mailings. Additionally, more LAS products are becoming available such as Elsevier’s MEDcounselor Languages module, which advertises SIG translation and patient education materials in 14 languages. Another gem that area pharmacists have started using (albeit moreso in AmCare clinic settings) is the free MediBabble iPhone app. My understanding is that a future update will (ahem) include pharmacists in the introductions section.
Unfortunately, our article “Community pharmacists’ use of language-access services in the United States” is behind a subscription wall, but I would be happy to answer any questions that I can.
Disclosure: A couple years ago we received a grant from one of the quadrillion companies Elsevier operates for an unrelated research study. Inclusion of their product in this post is mostly due to timing (I just received an email about it), and should probably not be construed as a conflict of interest except for the most Mel Gibsonian of conspiracy theorists. Separately, this JAPhA LAS study was funded by a NSU President’s Grant. Going forward we are planning to study the LAS disconnect further, as well as possible solutions that may include tools such as automated LAS kiosks in pharmacies and online functionality as well as LAS availability notification via social media; funding source(s) TBD.
Source: Feichtl MM, Clauson KA, Alkhateeb FM, Jamass DS, Polen HH. Community pharmacists’ use of language-access services in the United States. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2011;51(3):368-72.
Like many colleges of pharmacy, ours added a seminar component years ago. The seminar has since been expanded to include a paper, a poster, and a podium presentation. The topics range from literature-driven examinations of therapeutic controversies to original research tied to the faculty mentor’s specialty. This year I was responsible for the recitation on the poster component. This slide deck is what I used for that lecture. Two particularly notable resources for me in assembling this lecture included the piece in The Scientist that inspired the name  and the site maintained by the Godfather of Scientific Posters: Dr. Colin Purrington . If you want to dig a little deeper, here are my current favorite articles on the topic as well [3-5]. The full-text of all of these journal articles is currently available online for free.
I’ve benefitted from attending a lot of conferences over time and have seen (and continue to see) posters that are masterful creations, along with others that are absolute rubbish. I posted the ‘Pimp My Poster’ slide deck here in hopes that it may be a resource to others, but am also keen for feedback to improve it for future iterations.
 Westly E. Pimp my poster. The Scientist 2008;22(10):22.
 Purrington CB. Advice on designing scientific posters. 2009. http://www.swarthmore.edu/NatSci/cpurrin1/posteradvice.htm Accessed February 2, 2011.
 Erren TC, Bourne PE. Ten simple rules for a good poster presentation. PLoS Comput Biol 2007;3(5):e102.
 Hamilton CW. At a glance: a stepwise approach to successful poster presentations. Chest 2008;134(2):457-9.
 Wood GJ, Morrison RS. Writing abstracts and developing posters for national meetings. J Palliat Med 2011 Jan 17 [Epub ahead of print].