Hello Everyone! I am honored to be selected as one of the recipients of the 2013 - 2014 ASHP Student Leadership Award. As part of this award, we were asked to share the essay we wrote about engaging students in the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative (PPMI) and ways to increase student's awareness of PPMI. If you have any comments regarding the ideas I have outlined in my essay below, please feel free to leave a post on this blog or contact me directly. I would love for this essay, as well as the other recipient's essays, to create open dialogue about a topic so important to our profession! Happy reading! :)
Engaging Students in
the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative
By: Lauren Grecheck, Pharm.D. Candidate 2015
In Steven Covey’s book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, step one is “Be proactive,” and step two is “Begin with the end in mind.” To achieve the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative’s (PPMI) ultimate goal of enabling pharmacists to take responsibility for medication-use outcomes, we must be proactive as a profession. Student pharmacists are the future of our profession, and a strong understanding of PPMI is necessary to supporting innovations in the practice of pharmacy. Due to students’ excitement for their future careers, creative thinking is heightened, thus enabling novel ideas to be proposed. Several areas that students can easily become involved in to have an impact on PPMI include: promoting team care integration, leadership in medication use, leveraging pharmacy technicians, and technology.
A Cochrane Review of inter-professional collaboration found that "practice-based interventions aimed at improving collaboration through practice changes may improve health care and patient outcomes.” Increasing awareness of the positive impact of inter-professional care on patient outcomes has encouraged many institutions to implement pharmacists on their health-care team; however, this concept is still developing. Student leaders can increase the awareness of team-based collaboration by coordinating opportunities for students to work together in clinics and symposiums. For example, involvement in a free clinic setting allows professional degree students to care for patients, while developing inter-professional competence and strong, long-lasting relationships with other health professions. Students’ understanding of the perspectives of their peers can also be enhanced by hosting symposiums, such as the CLARION Case Competition, in which students from different health professions collaborate to analyze a case of a medical error leading to patient harm. Student leaders can emulate this type of event by holding smaller sessions before students work together at health fairs and in clinics. This allows students to work through a case and discuss how their profession would approach the case, what aspects of the case are of most concern, and how they perceive other health-professionals’ roles in caring for this patient.
ASHP’s statement on professionalism “urges practicing pharmacists to serve as mentors to students, residents, and colleagues in a manner that fosters the adoption of high professional aspirations for pharmacy practice, high personal standards of integrity and competence, a commitment to serve humanity, habits of analytical thinking and ethical reasoning, and a commitment to lifelong learning.” This past fall, I developed a mentorship program with our state affiliate (VSHP) that was aimed at creating a stress-free environment for students to learn more about health-system pharmacy, while allowing mentors to influence the future generation of pharmacists to become strong leaders in medication-use outcomes. Having a mentor allows students to seek advice on career paths, as well as gain experience in health-system projects, such as medication use evaluations. Students should also seek to serve as a mentor by partnering with pharmacy technicians for projects, such as taking medication histories in the emergency department. This partnership allows the student to give back to the profession and empowers them to better understand the barriers that pharmacy technicians encounter, as well as leverages pharmacy technicians to serve in increased capacities.
Many of the proposed changes above can be carried out by a PPMI Task Force, organized through the student societies, and charged with creating events that raise awareness of the principles of PPMI. A committee such as this gives students the opportunity to be involved in varying levels of leadership. The PPMI Task Force could host an interactive session for student pharmacists to propose a change to medication administration technology, such as a re-design of crash-cart trays. At the ASHP 2013 Summer Meeting and Exhibition, a poster was presented in which the framework of the crash-cart tray allowed the medications to face forward with their name clearly visible, much like a spice rack. This simple design successfully decreased the time pharmacists spent preparing drugs in a code situation.
Overall, students are great resources for engaging in the Pharmacy Practice Model Initiative due to their fresh perspective and eagerness to implement change. By providing our students with resources, such as the Share and Reapply handouts or interaction via the ASHP Student Forum, we are equipping our students with the tools they need to implement projects at their own school. As a student leader, it has been my goal to provide resources and programs, such as the VSHP Mentorship Program, to my peers to prepare them for their future, and it will be my continued duty as a future practitioner to find new and innovative ways to continue this level of engagement with future students.