5 Things to Do Before Starting Pharmacy Rotations

MAY 16, 2018
Pharmacy rotations are a great opportunity to get hands on experience before starting your career as a pharmacist. Preparation is key to being successful, and to making the most of your experience. The didactic component of pharmacy school has given you the necessary tools to be a star on rotations.
 
Here are 5 things to do before starting pharmacy rotations:

1. Check with your preceptor about preparation materials and labwork.
Contact your preceptor at least 2 weeks before the start of your pharmacy rotation. Inquire about ways to prepare, such as reviewing guidelines, and clinical studies. Some facilities require that students undergo a drug screening, and tuberculosis skin test (PPD) prior to the rotation. Additionally, proof of an annual influenza vaccine may be required. Make sure to complete all of the necessary requirements or your pharmacy rotations may be delayed.

2. Review reputable online drug information resources.
Check out various drug information resources such as the FDA, CDC, and Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) websites, as these will assist you regardless of your rotation practice site. These free resources provide the following information:
  • FDA website: new drug approvals, and drug safety communications
  • CDC website: vaccine and public health information
  • ISMP website: safety alerts, and medication error prevention resources

3. Download pharmacy applications (apps) to your smartphone or tablet.
In a recent study, pharmacy school graduates were surveyed about their use of medical apps on advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs).1 More than 97% of the study participants used medical apps on their APPEs, with Lexicomp®, UpToDate®, and the Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk (ASCVD) (free app) calculator being the most frequently used.1 Pharmacy apps can assist students with answering drug information questions right at the point-of-care. Lexicomp®, UpToDate®, and other apps that normally have a fee may be free for students through their pharmacy school library. The CDC vaccine schedules app is a great free resource that contains immunization charts for children, adolescents, and adults.

4. Know your rotation location and start time.
When you your preceptor in advance, make sure to inquire about your start time. Try to take a practice drive to the site if it is at a location you are unfamiliar with, which will help to put you at ease on your first day. Take into account if you are stopping off for coffee or breakfast on the way to your rotation, as it is important to be on time. Being punctual is important to most preceptors, and your rotation grade may suffer if you are tardy.

5. Have a professional mindset that you will carry to rotations.
Professionalism is extremely important, especially on pharmacy rotations where you are interacting with patients, and healthcare professionals. Remember to bring your lab coat, and intern license. Make sure that all of your emails to the preceptor are professional and respectful. Remember that social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, should not have inappropriate material posted.
 
The best of luck on your pharmacy rotations!
 
Reference
  1. Donohoe KL, Matulewicz AT, Alotaibi FM, et al. Medical apps used during advanced pharmacy practice experiences. Curr Pharm Teach Learn. 2018;10(2):195-200.


Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh
Jennifer Gershman, PharmD, CPh, received her PharmD degree from Nova Southeastern University (NSU) College of Pharmacy in 2006 and completed a 2-year drug information residency. She served as a pharmacy professor at NSU’s College of Pharmacy for 6 years, managed the drug information center, and conducted medication therapy management reviews. Dr. Gershman has published research on prescription drug abuse, regulatory issues, and drug information in various scholarly journals. Additionally, she received the Sheriff’s Special Recognition Award for her collaboration with the Broward, Florida Sheriff’s Office to prevent prescription drug abuse through a drug disposal program. She has also presented at pharmacist and physician continuing education programs on topics that include medication errors, prescription drug abuse, and legal and regulatory issues. Dr. Gershman can be followed on Twitter @jgershman2
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