Before a medical professional can be released into the world with accreditation and valid licensing, they must first complete a set amount of clinical practice. For pharmacy students, this is split into two time periods. There is intermediate which is year 2-year 4 and advanced which is year 6. Transitioning into advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) is a long process that begins two years before the first rotation.
In year 4, students are given the timeline that they must follow for the next year. The idea is that students will have enough to begin looking into clinical rotation types and sites before they need to start applying. Some sites perform their screening of applicants and must be applied to before the end of semester. An example from this year is for public health and illness prevention from the CDC.
In year 5, a list of Ohio-based sites that have a shared history with ONU and a series of pre-APPE videos are posted. ONU requires that students spend most of their rotations with shared sites to ensure that the time is spent getting real, quality experience, which is difficult to ensure when the site is brand new. The pre-APPE videos break down the different regions that have known APPE sites like Columbus, Cincinnati, and Out-of-State.
Then, there’s the first meeting.
This year, all meetings need to be finished before the end of October. Dr. Jennifer Grundy meets with last names A-H and Pat Partillino with I-Z. During the meetings, there is a chance for one on one discussion about desired experiences and possible barriers students may face in the remainder of the program. This is the time when P5s are chastised for forgoing elective credits and outreach (medical-based volunteer work) then given a roadmap to succeed. While outreach is still a priority with school closings and limited face-to-face interaction, lower numbers are more acceptable coming into this term; there’s still plenty of time to make it to 50.
In order to have the best first meeting, students need to have an idea of what, not just when they’re out of school, but what experiences would be interesting now. Pharmacy has many smaller subsets that aren’t commonly talked about. For example, compounding labs may work on veterinary prescriptions, and a pediatric pharmacist may specialize in infectious disease. If you know what you like this meeting can certainly give you an idea of what places are an option.
Even if the majority of pharmacy students are too early in the program to worry about placements, there is no harm in asking questions of older students about their experiences and desires. It is difficult to have every subset laid out to choose from, so sometimes, the best way to learn the options is to see what others want to do.