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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Inspiring Leadership Interviews

Mar 2, 2018

Dr. Jane Allen, a graduate of Drake University moderates a discussion with two APPE students, Shannon Mohr from Drake University and Ashleigh Arndorfer from Creighton. 


Full Transcript:

welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy
leaders podcast is a member of the
pharmacy podcast network with interviews
and advice on building your professional
network brand and a purposeful second
income from students residents and
innovative professionals welcome
everyone to the pharmacy leaders podcast
I'm Jane Ellen and I'm going to be your
moderator for today I have a pleasure of
talking to Ashley armed or fur and
shannon moore ashley is ap4 out of
Creighton University and Shannon is a p4
at Drake University so welcome you guys
thank you for having me
can you tell us a little bit about
yourself I'm looking for student at
Drake University I'm originally from
media appleís which is a small town in
southeast Iowa I started out there
working as a pharmacy technician and
went to a community college there in
Burlington Iowa went there for two years
where I completed my pre-pharmacy
coursework and then I transferred to
Drake University in Des Moines as a p1
student and Here I am now and like Jane
said my name is Ashley R norfert I'm a
student at Creighton University
currently on rotations I also was a
pharmacy technician for many years
before I started from a-z school and now
that I'm on rotations I'm having a bit
of an adventure while I am getting these
experiences my husband and I decided to
sell our house buy an RV and live on the
road so that I've had the opportunity to
get very diverse experiences through
rotations this year Oh awesome Ashley it
sounds like you've had a pretty
interesting year so far so what does
your next year look like currently I'm
in the middle of the interview process
for a community-based pgy one residency
so I'm hoping everything works out with
that keep continuing going to the
two interviews that I have and then I'll
be going through the match process in
March and Shannon what about yourself
I'm planning after graduation to move
back to southeast Iowa area and continue
working in community pharmacy they're
so right now you guys are both in block
seven so what's the biggest thing you've
learned about yourself since being on
rotations and is this where you thought
you would be on block seven so I think
one of the biggest things that I've
learned about myself throughout this
experience on rotations is just how
adaptable I am and you know my ability
to be successful in a lot of different
areas the four rotations I might
most of my experience was really in
community pharmacy and that was kind of
my comfort zone and so throughout
rotations I've had the experience to
work in a lot of different areas Mike
worked and infectious disease inpatient
I did a specialty compounding rotation
and then I worked in a long-term care
pharmacy had a little bit of
opportunities for teaching roles and so
these are things I had never really
thought about doing and I really enjoyed
all these different experiences and it
kind of opened my mind up to some
different pathways in the future and
just taught me really to be more
flexible and open-minded about different
areas of pharmacy and one thing I
clearly remember right before rotations
starting is everyone saying you know
more than you think you do and that I
always laughed and said Yeah right when
they told me that at the time but that's
the one thing that I've really learned a
lot this year is that when I am asked
questions it's like oh I do I do know
that but I still have a lot to learn and
rotations and I'm hoping next year with
residency has given and will give me an
opportunity to gain
it's in my clinical decision-making
skills and just continuing to get that
experience so that's what I've learned
the most this year awesome I think
rotations your is a really great year
where you become self aware of
everything that you know and what your
passions are one of the things that I'm
really interested to talk to you guys
about today is one I think we need to
let everybody know that on this rotation
you both have had a teaching component
with this so we've been working with a
community college here at Des Moines
area community college or d-mac with
their pharmacy technician program and
what's really neat about you too is that
you both actually were pharmacy
technicians before you entered pharmacy
school and you both attended a community
college before you decided to go into
pharmacy so can you tell us a little bit
about that unique path that you took to
get where you are today sure I was a
pharmacy tech now I've been a tech or a
student for the last 12 years and I went
back to school before I finally landed
at Creighton and the thing is I did the
majority my prereqs here at DMACC where
we are teaching this pharmacy technician
course now Des Moines area community
college and I really chose this rotation
because I wanted the chance to give back
to DMACC and I felt like I had that
having been a technician for so long
that I wanted the opportunity to be a
part of the technician training program
and I felt like I could relate to the
students a little bit more on that level
so one thing I'd really just like to
point out is that anyone who is thinking
about pursuing a pharmacy education but
there are multiple routes you can take
to get there and she and I can speak
also to her experience with
College but it definitely helped helped
me and feel like I was prepared to enter
pharmacy school yeah I would agree with
that I had a little bit different
pathway so right out of high school I
started Community College at
southeastern Community College or SCC in
Burlington and I completed all my
pre-pharmacy coursework there and was
able to transfer that into drink as a
p1o it was nice because I wasn't really
hundred percent sure out of high school
that that's the path I wanted to go so I
was able to just get into some chemistry
science classes and also work time in a
pharmacy as a technician there and kind
of decide if that was really the way I
wanted to go I have to admit I was a
little bit nervous about the process of
being admitted I was a transfer student
I heard it was more difficult to get in
and so I didn't want to talk about that
a little bit it is a little bit more
competitive as a transfer student and I
had to take the PCAT exam as part of my
application which I don't believe you
have to do if you start out right away
in the program at least I drink so there
are some components you have to take
into account but obviously it worked out
great for me I'm really happy with that
it was obviously you know financially a
really great decision I was able to get
some really good scholarships at that
college but also I had some really good
professors there and a lot smaller class
sizes so that was kind of the advantages
of that for me so I just hope that other
people won't be deterred from that
pathway thinking it'll be too difficult
to get in it does seem like a lot of
colleges are accepting more transfer
students I think my class had a close to
15 in my class that were transfer
students so I just hope that other
people will consider that as an option I
think that's a great point I think
there's no one path to take in getting
you know into pharmacy school or even
one path in you know your career as you
guys are both looking towards next year
again you know another way is that you
guys both attended d1 schools ultimately
for pharmacy but Ashley you had again a
pretty unique experience where yours was
mainly done online and Shannon and yours
was in what we'd call a traditional
classroom setting so I cannot wait to
hear you guys talk about both of those
components and how they were the same
and how they differed I'll talk about
the traditional experience a little bit
at first so some of the things that I
enjoyed most about being you know on a
traditional program on campus was just
being able to go through it with all my
classmates you know I made relationships
with people and you kind of helped each
other get through this stress of
pharmacy school so that was nice and
then just a lot of our classes at Drake
had a lot of interactive team-building
kind of components that you get in a
classroom setting and then just all
kinds of opportunities on campus to get
involved in professional organizations
and groups and there's always events
going on on campus so I think those are
some of the things that I enjoy most
about the more traditional experience
there were some online components you
know some of our homework assignments
quizzes a lot of our reading material
would all be online so there were some
online components that mostly the
traditional in-class program no Shannon
you talked a little bit about like a
team-building activities in class did
they refer to those as like team-based
learning or TV out how how were those to
reference - yes so especially in the
last year of the program there was a big
focus on team based learning or TBL and
it seems like the push is to really go
more in that direction so it's going to
be I think a really big thing not only
at Drake but a lot of other pharmacy
schools and so a little bit about what
that is so basically in each class you
would be split up into groups of about
five to six students and you would stay
with that group throughout the whole
semester which was nice because you got
to form those relationships and then you
would start out preparing before each
class by reading all of the material
that was provided online or in the
textbook and usually you would fill out
a study guide that was provided and so
then for each new topic you would start
out the beginning of class taking what's
called an I rat which is the individual
readiness assessment test so it's
basically a short quiz that you would
take to make sure that you prepared you
know all the material and then you would
after you turn that in you would take
the same test as a group and kind of see
how you compare and so those would be
scored and then for the rest of the
class there was no traditional lecture
you would just work through case
questions with your group and then there
would be some discussion with the class
about the case answers and then the
professor's would usually summarize the
main points but it was not given to you
in a traditional lecture so that's a
little bit about what TBL is and I have
to say it took a little bit of adjusting
it's definitely a different learning
style than what I was used to but it was
really nice to be able to work through
so many cases and apply the material to
real situations rather than just having
the material presented to you so and
it's interesting that you specifically
bring up iris and teawrex because that
was also a component of many of my
classes as well we although we weren't
meeting face-to-face we still had quite
a bit of group work the only difference
is that we wanted
all together we were all in different
places but out throughout the country
meaning over Skype or WebEx and just to
give some background information about
cretins distance learning programs it's
the exact thing curriculum as their
campus based program and every lecture
is recorded and then it's available
online within two hours of the class
time so you have the opportunity to
build your own class schedule based off
of that it worked out much better for my
classmates on the west coast since they
were already behind but now there's new
technology that allows you to
participate in class live you can watch
the lecture as it's happening and submit
your questions for the instructor to
answer during class so that's pretty
cool it aside from being if you weren't
going to be watching the class life
setting your own schedule was a huge
component of the program and it taught
me a lot about time management and
self-discipline and just learning how to
prioritize so you don't fall behind
because although it is an online class
it is a no means self-paced we had the
same assignments as our campus
classmates our exam schedules were
exactly the same it was just a matter of
I was not sitting in a lecture hall I
was you know my couch at home so Ashley
can you tell me a little bit more about
how your labs were set up because that
is an interesting component when you
have when it's a distance-learning yes
and it is an important part of our
education learning things like
experience wise hands-on
we did have some lab components
throughout the year calculation based
questions other things like that and
then every summer we were required to be
on campus in Omaha for two weeks at a
time and all of the skills lab training
that the canvas students have been doing
the course of the school year we were
doing all of those activities and the
ten days that we were on campus which is
a lot of information at once but
everything like how to give a blood
pressure or how you know practicing
counseling on medications in addition to
the lab activities we also did our CPR
training while we were on campus the
immunization certificate program and TM
certificate program so they really did a
good job of making sure that we had all
of the same experiences it was just more
of a condensed timeframe so with that
being said then since it was so
condensed like you talked about
counseling skills all right how did you
retain that information then how did you
make sure that it wasn't something where
you just learned it dumped it right onto
a test and then moved on how did you
rotate retain that information and that
was another thing that we had to do
throughout the semester we had a lab
instructor that we would meet with on
skype and we had three sessions
throughout the semester where we would
do the same thing what they were doing
on campus where she would give us a
medication and we would have to counsel
her as if she was the patient and also
our case studies and therapeutics were
set up similarly we were in teams of
four to five people and we had an hour
to work up the case and then we came
together with a second group as well as
a lab facilitator and ours was
phenomenal I have to give a shout out to
Terry Miller at Creighton she did a
great job of connecting with the
distance students and making sure we got
the most out of that hour that we could
and then we would present the case and
she would give us questions related to
the case and then feedback as well so I
feel like it wasn't shortchanged at all
in any experience was the advent of
technology and taking advantage of all
these things that we have available to
us it really gave us the opportunity to
have a very similar experience to people
on campus awesome so another thing that
would be kind of different when you have
a distance based learning
atmosphere would be professional
organizations how were professional
organizations incorporated into your
experience and then also Shannon how
were professional organizations at Drake
so we had a lot of opportunities to be
involved in professional organizations
we I personally was a member of APHA ASP
and since I was so close to Omaha I had
the opportunity to drive up and
participate in a couple of different
operation diabetes events where I was
working with members of that
organization I was also a member and CPA
the national community pharmacists
association as well as a SHP and while
it definitely was more difficult to be a
part of that organization because we
were not on campus it wasn't impossible
I have a classmate who lives in
Washington State and she was a member of
nearly every organization that he
possibly could be a part of and
president of a few of them she was even
a member of the international pharmacy
Student Association so they give us
plenty of opportunity and it really is
what you make of it there is that
additional challenge for being farther
away but it's not impossible
yeah so I just had you know your
traditional experience on campus so we
had you know the option of doing pretty
much any of the pharmacy organizations
they would do career fairs on campus
where you could go hear about all of the
different organizations that were
available and then a big thing also was
the pharmacy fraternities as well so I
was involved in one of those and then I
was involved in APHA and then Iowa
pharmacy Association has quite a few
events around this area so we were able
to take advantage of that as well being
here close to campus and so they would
have meetings on campus
students that were involved in those
organizations which would be a little
bit different than what actually had but
again it's similar you know to what you
said it's just kind of what you make of
it and how much you want to get involved
in bringing up the Iowa pharmacy
Association reminded me that I too was
involved in some of the different events
that were put on by IPA so it gave us
the opportunity to be involved locally
and I know other students who took that
same opportunity to become members of
their state organizations and become
more involved with students from their
local schools of pharmacy so I think
that was another unique aspect and that
we had that opportunity to become
locally involved as well
awesome so something else I mean you
guys both brought up the idea of working
together as a team which is huge I mean
you're gonna be working as a team with
whatever path you choose in pharmacy
whether you end up in a community
pharmacy hospital pharmacy managed care
no matter what you're gonna be working
with other people to make those
decisions so it sounds like both of you
had the opportunity to work with us a
team and grow with those skills
throughout school so one of the other
things I know that we push a lot right
now is the idea of interprofessional
learning so can you guys talk a little
bit about maybe what those situations
look like in your education yeah so at
Drake it's definitely a big push right
now for interprofessionalism
there's always different you know groups
and events going on where you can get
interprofessional communication but
they've actually started building it
more into the curriculum now so I think
my last two semesters when not started
for me we were required to go to an
interprofessional education event or IPE
event at least once a semester so we
would just sign up for that and so that
was we would either do that at Drake
campus or DMACC dmu Grandview were all
involved and we would me
usually it was some kind of case based
activity that we would do mostly with
with nursing students and then pharmacy
students but there were some other
programs involved as well depending on
which event you would go to and then my
last semester we were required to attend
a large IPE day which was a really cool
experience they had almost a thousand
students I believe that attended and it
was from Drake D Mac D mu Grandview and
then Mercy College of Health Sciences
and so there were all kinds of programs
there pharmacy nursing PT ot respiratory
therapy there was even dental hygiene
students medical assisting so that was a
really neat experience that we all met
up and we did several different case
type activities and we have keynote
speakers and so I see that being you
know even a bigger push in the future
for more inner professionalism through
not only through the curriculum but
their different groups and stuff that
you can get involved with to get those
kind of opportunities as well in
Creighton now has incorporated it into
professional lism into their curriculum
unfortunately I was the last class so it
was not a requirement but it's
interesting because they have the School
of Medicine and nursing ot PT dentistry
right on campus and I know that in the
last few years they've made a big push
to get everyone working together which i
think is definitely beneficial for
everyone one thing that I did seek out
on my own as part of my service learning
hours from my experience I volunteered
at the magic linic on near campus in
Omaha and that is a free clinic that is
mainly run by students so there is a
pharmacist on staff
attending doctor on staff but it's
medical students who are seeing the
patients and then my role as the
pharmacy student was to do med
reconciliation with the medical students
and make recommendations based on their
limited formulary and that experience
was one of my favorite throughout my
education just having the opportunity to
work together as a team and having that
mutual respect for one another awesome
and I know like right now you guys are
even getting a little bit of that not
necessarily with you know a resident or
nursing student but with pharmacy
technicians or future pharmacy
technicians as they're starting to
develop their skills but one thing I did
want to kind of go back on a little bit
too is you both had very different ways
that you had to set up your rotation
here learn even just your experience
hours throughout your p1 through p4
years so I'd love to hear a little bit
about yours Ashley like how yours was
set up
mine was a very unique experience
compared to most other pharmacy students
that I know love the thing would be in a
distance student is that mean my 60 plus
classmates are spread out throughout the
country and the experiential education
office has been incredibly supportive
but it's almost impossible for them to
facilitate relationships in all 50
states so we were required to set up all
of our experience experience 'as our
self and that included the introductory
the IP PE hours as well as my entire
rotation on the AP PE which again that
taught me is another layer of self
discipline and how to be professional
and reaching out to people and how to
build relationships there is a database
that is provided by the school of sites
where past students have gone through
rotations but we were also welcomed and
encouraged to set up new sites if we had
a relationship
the preceptor to build that database to
help future students so like I said
before I decided to travel this year for
my rotations and that is because when I
was trying to find sites in Des Moines I
heard a lot of noes simply because there
were students that had already filled
those spots from Drake and from the
University of Iowa and they didn't have
spots available to take somebody from
another school so I looked at that
database and decided that we could
literally go anywhere my husband agreed
that it was a good choice for us to make
so I looked at that database we decided
where we wanted to be geographically and
I started calling and making connections
and found sites that would be willing to
take a Creighton student and at first I
was apprehensive like how do I know that
this is going to be a good experience of
worthwhile experience but so far all of
the preceptors have been wonderful
they have had activities for me to do on
site to further my education and it has
really been a great year so far awesome
so that is completely my experience
sounds a little bit scary but so our
experience will office at Drake would
just have a list basically online of all
the sites that they have already made
connections with and their availability
so we would go through that list and
just based on the requirements of how
many inpatient outpatient experiences we
needed we would make up a preference
sheet and so we put all of our top
choices in each category of experience
on that she and turned it into the
office and then they worked really hard
to get all of our schedules set up for
us and then just trying to get everybody
their top picks if possible so that was
definitely a lot different than Ashley's
experience and drink obviously has a lot
of experiences
in Des Moines which I did stay pretty
much local for all of mine except for
one that I'm still staying in state but
they do have a lot of out-of-state
experiences traveling all over and then
they do have abroad as well available so
you can still travel all around you know
doing experiences with Drake as well so
since I was responsible for sending them
all up I got to choose exactly was it
did you run into anything where you
weren't worried that you aren't going to
guys night you particularly wanted or
have there been any sites this year that
surprised you I wouldn't necessarily say
that all of my experiences were at least
on my preference list they weren't
necessarily always my top choice because
a lot of students you know there's
popular ones that everybody chooses so
but every single one was one that I
listed as an option and so I have really
had a great experience with all of them
I tried to choose a couple things you
know that we're a little bit different
that I may not be able to get that
experience again so just the compounding
one or the long-term care pharmacy just
something that I had never done before
so even though I wasn't traveling around
I was getting some different kind of
experiences that would be unique and so
no I don't feel like I really struggled
with that there were you know plenty of
options and all of them have turned out
really good so far well it definitely
sounds like you guys were in control at
points but also not in control at points
of this year but again that really
speaks to I know Shannon you mentioned
that you saw that you're really
adaptable to situations which is
important and I know I actually said
that you were just looking to gain
confidence and I'm sure after going
around to a lot of places you didn't
know you certainly gained confidence in
yourself yes but also what that means
that I guess you know you talked about
how hard it was to sometimes find
rotations to or experiences even to have
because that made you maybe want or
maybe you already did want to become a
preceptor for future pharmacy stood
I'm going into this year I had an
inkling that I might want to become a
preceptor but as I have gone through
this year it's definitely instilled in
me that I do I've had great
relationships with all of the preceptors
that I've had the opportunity to work
with and especially on this rotation
working not with pharmacy students but
with pharmacy technicians and other
students it has shown me that I really
do enjoy teaching I enjoy being with
students and seeing them make a
connection working one-on-one with them
I didn't think I would be comfortable
speaking in large groups but that has
turned out to be one of one of my more
favorite parts of this experience so I
am really excited to take that role and
forward with it and while I'm going
through the residency process I'm really
looking for programs that have a strong
educational component as well so I can
even further those skills even more
mm-hmm I know what you Shannon yeah so I
would say before rotations I never
really thought of myself as a teacher or
wanted to pursue that the thought of
standing in front of a huge class still
terrifies me but I have had the
opportunity to work with smaller classes
more one-on-one and then also with
younger students that were on their
introductory experiences and so it has
made me consider doing more of a
precepting we're all in the future or
potentially helping with a smaller size
class but I still don't think I'll be
giving you know lectures and a hall of
200 people but it definitely has made me
think about precepting for sure that's
awesome and I you know the thing about
pretty something too is I know I'm a
preceptor I really enjoy working more
with just like a one-on-one basis with
students and I think there's different
types of things I know Ashley you said
that you've become more comfortable
working with large groups of students
but there's teaching in all capacities
and that might even just be a lab like
you talked about at Shana and just being
able to work with a smaller group of
students so again that transitions us
really well into that we're all working
with a class of future pharmacy
so what have you enjoyed or what have
you I guess learns let's start with that
learned about their education is it more
or is it less than you expected what are
some of your thoughts since you guys
were both actually pharmacy technicians
before you started pharmacy school yeah
I was very surprised by the level of
education that they're getting like I
said when I started out as a pharmacy
technician I worked as a technician and
training for a while and then went to
take my test to get certified my
employer had me go to like a two-day
class to prepare for that but it was
nowhere close to the level that they're
getting so I do think it is really nice
that there's programs like this
available for pharmacy technicians now
it's definitely a lot to get thrown into
with on-the-job training weight
especially if you've never worked in a
pharmacy before so I was surprised that
you know the level that they're getting
in these classes and I think it's a
really great thing and it's something I
wish that I would have had when I was
going through that I agree I also did
not well I actually didn't have any
formal training for my Pharmacy
Technician Certification
other than the manual that was provided
by a PTC B I have been at Tech for a few
years before it became a requirement and
I think had there been a program before
I started my technician job that I would
have had access to I think just being
the type of person that I am I would
have sought that out because working
with these technicians I agree with
Shannon I am surprised at the level of
things that they are learning and prior
to coming to this program I didn't
realize that they learned both the
institutional side of pharmacy as well
as the community-based pharmacy and
having had no Hospital experience myself
when I was a technician I had no clue
what text in the pharmacy or in a
hospital pharmacy were doing so I think
it really makes them more well-rounded
individuals because they have the
background knowledge for both aspects of
that one thing that I've really
enjoyed about working with the Pharmacy
Technician students is how excited that
they are to come to class and to learn
the material because this is a career
path that they are looking to follow and
some of them have expect expressed
interest in wanting to go to pharmacy
school to become a pharmacist as well
yeah I think something also I think
we've all learned you know by going
through this too is that we have to take
a step back sometimes and realize how
much and how much of a different
language and away we speak and I think
that really also applies to not only
working with maybe a new pharmacy
technician but also working with the
public and also working even maybe with
other healthcare professionals I mean we
talk a whole different language
sometimes and I know one of our students
spoke to the fact that she's coming
she's changing career paths and so she
said I am learning a whole new language
and it's gonna take me a little bit of
time and that's that's fair so I think
it's also good for us to realize you
know what how much we also know and how
we can work better with the public so I
guess after working with these future
pharmacy technicians and also being a
technician in the past what do you think
the most valuable piece of advice you
could give them is before entering a
pharmacy I would say just be open to
learning because even if they have gone
through a training experience like this
the hands-on aspect of it and gaining
that experience is going to teach them a
lot as well and that's one thing that
I've learned from even working with
other pharmacy technicians is that
pharmacy is a fast-paced work
environment that's for sure and so you
have to be open to learning a lot and
taking feedback from your colleagues I
would agree with that I think a big
thing part of the pharmacy is to just
communication and dealing with patients
and you know your pharmacist your other
technicians calling doctors off
dealing with insurance companies so all
that can be really overwhelming and
frustrating so it's just important to be
open-minded and flexible and you're
going to be doing thrown into all kinds
of different tasks on the job and so
it's good that they have all this
background knowledge but just you know
being prepared for that and then just
being prepared for all the
communications you're gonna need and I
think that also kind of goes into like
my last question I had for you guys too
is that not only you're giving people
our future pharmacy technicians words of
advice but also what words of advice
would you have for students students
entering rotations in May so this kind
of goes back to what I said you know I
learned about myself this just being
really open minded and be flexible some
of my rotations did have to get switched
around based on availability of
preceptors and so you can get thrown
into something different and even if
it's not your top pick of what you
wanted I haven't had one bad experience
on a rotation so just be really flexible
and open-minded to different experiences
and even if it's something that you
don't think you're gonna pursue as a
career when else are you going to get
these kind of experiences to do all
these different practice sites so just
take advantage of that and be really
flexible I agree with that absolutely
the flux will be open-minded one of my
preceptors told me this year and it was
sort of in jest but the answer is always
yes when you're a preceptor or one of
the other pharmacists you're working
with asks you to do something the answer
is yes don't be afraid to step outside
of your comfort zone within reason
obviously you don't want to put a
patient in danger but be open to
learning more and then again going back
to what I said from the beginning
you really do know more than you think
you know so just be confident which
comes with time I'm the first to admit
that and just be ready to tell her I
love that I love that answer just to say
yes to opportunities and I think that's
is also really all about it's just
always feeling being willing to learn
more and to say yes to opportunities so
with that thank you guys so much for
talking to me to today I think you guys
have learned a lot about each other a
lot about yourselves and I certainly
have learned a lot so thanks guys
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