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Week 5 & 6: Final Reflections
Week 5 & 6: Final Reflections
October 7, 2013 - October 18, 2013
 
These past two weeks have been quite the experience culminating to my bittersweet departure from AACP. On Thursday, last week, I presented my findings from the research that I had been doing during my time here at AACP. I spent the whole week basically putting together my presentation and tying together some loose ends on my projects. I presented my background research on the AACP Academic Leadership Fellows Program and on criminal background checks for student pharmacists, but the majority of my presentation was spent on my evaluation of the AACP Wal-Mart Scholars Program and its faculty recruitment potential. Overall, the presentation went well and I received positive feedback on my performance.
 
The same wasn’t quite as true for my manuscript of my major project. Though I had synthesized new data from raw data, I hadn’t presented it well and actually portrayed the opposite of what I wanted to prove in my manuscript. Writing on this type of topic and writing on qualitative measures is really new to me, and although I wanted my manuscript to be ready by the end of my rotation, I wasn’t too upset about not having a perfect paper. When it comes to writing and evaluating scientific literature on quantitative data, I’ve had at least 3 years of formal training from my pharmacy education, while for this manuscript, I had learned some new skills and tried to apply them in less than 6 weeks. I was still proud of my work, but it was more of a learning exercise. Getting feedback earlier in the project would have really helped steer the project in the right direction and save some time.  What I did get out of the project was that I had definitely honed the skills that I’ve learned from school; I was able to identify weaknesses in a project as well as find and critically evaluate literature. Now, I’ll be working on this research outside of the office, and hopefully, it will be better and publishable the next time around.
 
The majority of the next week was spent at the American College of Clinical Pharmacy (ACCP) Annual Meeting in Albuquerque, NM. A couple of my classmates and I were actually quarterfinalists in the ACCP Clinical Pharmacy Challenge, and we have been preparing for it throughout this rotation. Although we didn’t make it past the quarterfinals, I still managed to make the most of my time at the meeting. I watched the other rounds of the Clinical Pharmacy Challenge to gauge what I knew and to learn some random facts about therapeutics. I attended a couple seminars related to drug therapy and one on curriculum vitae and portfolio building, where I received some very helpful feedback on my CV.  Probably the most exciting part of the meetings was meeting new people from different parts of the country. I met some other student pharmacists and some practicing pharmacists that were in clinical roles in critical care, emergency medicine, academia, and so much more. I learned a lot about other career paths and was able to solidify my plans a little more.
 
As I am writing this reflection on my experiences these past two weeks, I also have been cleaning up my desk to prepare it for the next APPE student. I put it back the way I found it; I stacked up all the books, fanned out the magazines, cleaned out all my papers, and wiped the white board clean.
 
Reflecting back, I’m seeing that what I had planned to do last week was already being put into action. I wouldn’t have known my presentation was good or not unless someone had told me; likewise, I wouldn’t have realized that my manuscript needed a lot more work if I hadn’t gotten some feedback. I got a better picture of what my future might be like by networking at the ACCP Annual Meeting. It’s a great realization to have to continue to improve on my plan. As a future pharmacist, realizing opportunities for improvement and change in current plans is an important part of what we do.
 
Looking at things from another perspective or getting that outside perspective from someone else is really valuable for meaningful planning and change. It helps to focus on what the root problem is and what buy-in there might be from stakeholders when a change in plans is made. With my project manuscript, the root problem was that I was simply evaluating a program from a critical stand point, identifying all the problems, without highlighting what was good about the program, which was really a lot more than what I had originally portrayed. Throughout my experience here at AACP, I’ve actually managed to see a lot of my own growth by looking at things from an outside perspective. I have been able to improve my writing skills, become more reflective about my experiences, and communicate more effectively. Comparing two evaluations I did of my own performance from the midpoint of my rotation and the end of it, I was really able to appreciate all that I had learned.
 
When I first came to this rotation, I wasn’t new to reflecting, but I wasn’t an expert by any means. Looking back at my experiences and looking at them with a critical eye from multiple perspectives is what I really took away from my rotation here at AACP. It is commonly said, “no need to reinvent the wheel,” but I’ve learned through reflection that improving what is already being done can make the outcome even better. It’s even easier when you have the input of other people who may be able to come up with another perspective that I couldn’t think of. As I continue my rotations, I’ll remind myself to reflect and get feedback from as many people as possible, whether they be my preceptor, fellow students, patients, doctors I work with, or whomever, as it can all be valuable to improving my work.

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