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AACP APPE Student Blog:  A Great New Way to Stay Connected to Academic Pharmacy

Have you ever been curious as to what a day in the life of an AACP APPE student is like? So have we!

The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy is proud to announce that they are now accepting applications for APPE students who wish to complete a rotation and find out more about association work. Dr. Jennifer Adams, Senior Director of Strategic Academic Partnerships at AACP, is the primary preceptor for student pharmacists for the duration of their APPE rotation. Please email appe@aacp.org with any questions you may have about the AACP APPE or related topics.

*For rotations occurring in the fall 2013 and spring 2014 time frame, AACP will accept applications until Nov. 1, 2012. All applicants will be notified by Jan. 30, 2013 of their acceptance status.

This blog will serve as an innovative forum for students to post their weekly reflections about their experiences at AACP and provide unique insight into the great work that the association does for academic pharmacy. Feel free to post your comments/feedback/suggestions and we look forward to sharing our journey with you!

Week 4: Saying "Yes" To Opportunity
Week 4: Saying "Yes" To Opportunity
September 22- September 26
 
Throughout my last week I have spent time visiting some of the other national pharmacy associations in the area, including the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), the American Pharmacists Association (APhA), and the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). From each of these visits I have been able to continue to learn more how each association represents their specific members as well as work together to create a of pharmacy on a national level. I also was able to meet with their executive residents and fellows to learn about the fellowship and residency opportunities available in Association Management. However, I spent the majority of my time this week focusing on the completion of my final presentation. My final presentation consisted of a Prezi outlining my journey at AACP, including a synopsis of my internal meetings, external meetings, mini projects, and large final project. Within this presentation, I also debuted the product of my final project. My final project was the creation of a resource to be used by pre-pharmacy and pre-health students to learn more about Interprofessional Education (IPE) and Interprofessional Collaboration in Practice. This resource will be displayed on the AACP and PharmCAS webpages and has the potential to be used by other disciplines and at recruiting events. With this project, I hope to introduce students to the concept of IPE during the application process leading up to admittance in professional programs. I took on this particular project because I find it important for students to see the changing climate of the health care team as early as possible, especially since these students will be the future providers who will be essential in shaping interprofessional practice and the interprofessional education of future students.
 
When I decided to take on this project earlier this month, I knew I wanted to present the information in an interactive and effective manner. I decided to use the Prezi platform for this resource, in which I recorded my voice over each pathway. Students would then have the ability to click forward and backwards between areas of the presentation as opposed to watching a video in one sitting. With these two presentations being my first Prezi presentations and my project being my first presentation ever to include audio track, I knew at the time I began these projects that I had embarked upon a large undertaking. It was the uncertainty of the obstacles ahead that slightly frightened me but also motivated me to excel at this challenge.
 
As I complete my last day here at AACP, I reflect not only on accepting challenges in this particular project, but also on the challenges I have overcome throughout the entirety of my month here. My one piece of advice to give to future students doing an APPE rotation here (and in any rotation) would be to take advantage of each opportunity that may be offered and to do so with an open mind. I came into this rotation with expectations and personal learning objectives, but by simply saying yes to opportunities I did not yet know existed, I was able to maximize my time here and grow each and every day.
 
My next rotation in my 4th year experiential education will be in Transitions of Care at Mission Hospital in Asheville, NC. This rotation will be a very different opportunity and will bring me into a more patient centered practice setting of pharmacy. In starting at this new site I may not be able to directly work in many of the capacities that I have at AACP, but I will take the initiatives, attitudes, and passions from my work here to help advance practice and education in pharmacy in a more patient centered manner. As is true at the start of each new rotation, uncertainty of the challenges ahead for my October rotation loom. However, I now have an increased confidence to take a more hands on approach to my own learning and increased desire to create these learning opportunities for myself by simply saying “yes”. I will take the power of this “yes” attitude and the memories acquired as a result of saying “yes” here at AACP to guide my decisions to maximize the opportunities that may be afforded to me in my Transitions of Care rotation. As sad as I am to leave all of the wonderful staff and work being done at AACP, I will always be grateful and appreciative of all of the hard work each individual has invested to insure I felt welcomed, integrated, and challenged by providing opportunity after opportunity for personal and professional growth.
 
Quote of the Week:
“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”
-Michaelangelo
 
Lauren Clouse
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2015
Week 3: Excitement
Week 3: Excitement
September 15- September 19
 
I cannot think of a better word to describe my week other than EXCITEMENT.  Excitement to meet new people, excitement to see the work of pharmacy advocacy, excitement to hear about integrating pharmacists into the patient care team, excitement to explore new places, and excitement to discover all of the work of pharmacists to further patient care. 
 
Week 3 Outline:

Monday:
Pinnacle Awards Reception and Program (APhA Headquarters, Washington, DC)
Tuesday: Health Professions and Nursing Education Coalition meeting (American Association of Medical Colleges, Washington, DC)
Wednesday: Professions Quest demo (Fairfax, VA)
Pinnacle Award Lecture (University of Maryland College of Pharmacy, Baltimore, MD)
Thursday: Speaker of the House John Boehner on Resetting America’s Economic Foundation (American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, Washington, DC)
Friday: The Missing Links: Research on Patient Medication Adherence (The Network for Excellence in Health Innovation, Washington, DC)
 
As you could imagine, individually each one of these events provided new perspectives at which I retrieved many new “take away’s”. Collectively from these events, I gathered new insights on Association management, policy, interprofessional collaboration, and the emerging roles of pharmacists in today’s health care.
 
However, my excitement reached a PEAK at the Pinnacle Awards Reception and Lecture.  Upon arrival at the reception at the American Pharmacists Association, I was introduced to individuals with ties close to home, such as the Executive Director of the North Carolina Association of Pharmacists, who was able to give me insight into his role and connections to many of the pharmacists I have learned from and worked alongside. I was also introduced to individuals with a more nationally focused perspective, such as APhA President Matthew Osterhaus. He spoke about his recent visits to Capitol Hill in efforts to push the bill for pharmacists to receive provider status and his community pharmacy practice in Iowa.  Following the reception, the awards ceremony recognizing Hai Mi Choe, The Kroger Company, and El Rio Community Health Center began on the terrace. Each of these individuals/organizations spoke on their leadership roles in enhancing the quality of patient care in their practices and each were presented their Pinnacle Awards by the APhA Foundation.  Later within the week, I was able to hear more about El Rio Community Health Center pharmacist’s involvement in annual wellness visits and their roles as an integral part of the patient care team on Wednesday at the Pinnacle Awards Lecture at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.
 
Following the celebration of these inspirational advocates of our profession, I continued to mingle with many innovative leaders within the profession, many of whom shared valuable pearls of advice. As I took in the amazing individuals’ stories and heard of patient’s impact of their many accomplishments, it was impossible to not also take in the incredible view from the APhA terrace. APhA is ideally located in the heart of DC with beautiful views of the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument, Potomac, river, and is completed with the flags of the White House flying in the distance.  Watching the sunset from this idealistic DC location, I was clearly able to appreciate the incredible position of APhA within DC, but also the incredible positioning of pharmacists to integrate into the patient care teams across all practice settings. As I see my future career rising over the horizon within the upcoming months, I want to go beyond limiting my work to improve the health of each my patients. I want to supplement this already challenging goal by also endeavoring to continually improve and innovate the practice of pharmacy.
 
When walking in the door my first day at AACP, I was fairly set in my desire to pursue an ambulatory care or administration PGY1/PGY2 residency position in which I would hopefully have the opportunity to gain experience in academia. Ideally, I wanted spend a few years in patient care before moving into a role in hospital administration or industry in which I could play to my business, administrative, and strategic thinking skills. As much as I love interacting with patients and being able to help solve the medication piece of their puzzle, I have fallen in love with the world of Association management and am strongly considering pursuing Association management residencies and/or fellowships in the DC area. In this arena, I would hold the responsibility to help craft and deliver the change pharmacists across the country want to see in the profession and as a result help numerous patients from a more global scale.
 
Regardless of my potential change in career path, I do not want to become detached from professional organizations once I have graduated. I want to use my experiences in practice to continually stir my excitement to innovate practice and advocate for the vital role of the pharmacists within the health care team. This could mean on a day to day basis within a pharmacy Association. This could also be as a clinical pharmacist by day, advocating for my profession through successful and meaningful work, and serving as a committee or SIG member for APhA or AACP as a volunteer. No matter which path I carve for my career or how busy these roles may keep me, I will definitely be able to hold this week’s exciting experiences at the forefront of my mind, quickly accessible for retrieval, as reminders and motivators to challenge myself, my colleagues, and my future students to be the change we want to see in the profession.
 
Quote(s) of the week:
“It’s a challenging time to be a pharmacist…but also an exciting time to be a pharmacist”
- Matthew Osterhaus, BSPharm, FASCP, FAPhA
  APhA President
 
“We’ve only just begun”
- Jim Kirby
  Clinical Services Coordinator, The Kroger Company
  Pinnacle Award Recipient 2014
 
Lauren Clouse
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2015
Week 2: Mentorship vs. Sponsorship

Week 2: Mentorship vs. Sponsorship
September 8- September 12

It’s hard to believe my second week has already come to a close! Throughout this week, an open mind, flexibility, and the ability to work in a fast paced environment where each day’s schedule has a high degree of variability have been key. This week, I have done everything from attend my very first Washington Nationals baseball game to participating in meetings with PharmCAS committees to attending a briefing on Capitol Hill. Of all of these exciting opportunities, I found the Hispanic-Serving Health Professional Schools (HSHPS) briefing entitled “Eliminating Hispanic Health Disparities: A Collaborative Effort to Diversify the Heath Workforce” to be the most eye opening.

Being the first briefing I have attended, I was excited and eager to see what a session like this could offer for myself, AACP, and the other audience members who sought similar goals as this organization. Walking up the stairs, passing through security, and down the halls lined by congressional members’ offices, I was increasingly curious to learn more about HSHPS efforts to help diversify the healthcare profession as it pertained particularly to the pharmacy profession. Within the welcoming and opening remarks, I quickly learned the strides HSHPS were taking in medicine and public health to address the urgent issue in the gap between the Hispanic emerging leaders in public health and research and those leaders who are graying or nearing retirement. I found that up to 50-80% of under-represented minority (URM) physicians and other health professionals go on to practice in areas upon graduation with predominately underserved minority patients. That being said, a gap in future URM physicians will lead to an increased gap in care for the URM patients and communities. As the briefing discussed the opportunities created for URM physicians thus far, I was excited to hear their desire to expand their efforts to recruit and support URM students into the pharmacy and dental healthcare professions additionally.

Aside from the desire to create an interdisciplinary workforce, they also desire to help support and encourage Hispanic students to become leaders within their fields through relationships with strong and meaningful mentors. As stated by HSHPS president, Maureen Lichtveld, “Expand, Engage, and Sustain. Without those three we will get nowhere”. With these words and the discussion to follow on the need for mentoring of Hispanic students pre and post higher healthcare education, I began to reflect on the importance of a mentor’s role to expand their students’ knowledge, to engage them in these educational opportunities in a hands on manner, and to sustain this relationship by fostering leadership skills in the student’s passion. HSHPS discussed the potential benefits of layered mentorship programs in which a medical attending would mentor fellows, who would mentor residents, who would mentor medical students, who would mentor undergraduates, who would then mentor high school students. They also discussed a mentor’s increased service when he or she offers the “gift of invitation” in which they bring students on their journey with them. Finally, they discussed the distinction between a mentor and a sponsor.  They defined a mentor being one who guides you throughout your career and a sponsor being one who goes a step further to be your advocate. A mentor may advise you on best practices or career decisions without telling you which path is the one to choose. A sponsor will mentor in a similar manner, but is also willing to stick their neck out for you and potentially put their reputation on the line in efforts to endorse you to their colleagues for opportunities such as residencies or job interviews. Therefore, just because you have a mentor doesn’t mean you will have a sponsorship relationship. However, often an excellent mentor comes hand in hand with an excellent sponsor.

Looking back on my personal experiences in pharmacy school thus far, I have had many mentors ranging from professors, to advisors in student organizations, to practicing clinicians, and most recently as preceptors. Luckily in many of these mentor relationships I have recently realized I too found sponsors who would advocate for my success, whether it be for opportunities in leadership development or in educational growth. Moving forward in my 4th year of pharmacy school and in my career, I hope to take my new perceptions of mentors versus sponsors to help guide my decisions on who I will seek mentorship from. I realize that not all mentors in my life will have to also serve as sponsors, but I have actively decided to strive to connect with passionate and meaningful individuals to serve as potential future sponsors, while continually building upon my current mentor and sponsorship relationships to help guide my path.

Quote of the Week:
“Expand, Engage, and Sustain.”
-Maureen Lichtveld, MD, MPH
 President, Hispanic Serving Health Professions Schools
 Profesor and Chair, Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine

Lauren Clouse
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2015

Week 1: The Art of Strengths Based Leadership
The Art of Strengths Based Leadership
September 2-September 5
 
Throughout my last 3 years studying at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, I have been introduced to and been provided with many experiences designed for students to discover of the art of teamwork in the healthcare work setting. These experiences range from classroom focused group work in the form of patient case SOAP notes to experiential education opportunities to an array of events and projects within student run organizations. In each of these teamwork settings, I have easily been able to identify which of my peers were better at certain tasks and adapt to work alongside those who may not share similar viewpoints. However, the word that is commonly forgotten in this correspondence is strengths.
 
Prior to arriving in Alexandria, VA for my Association management rotation at AACP, I was excited when asked if I had completed a Strengths Finder assessment. This assessment tool generates your top 5 strengths through completion of a series of paired of statements. The questions must be answered in 20 seconds and in most cases ask you to pick preferences that may not necessarily lie on opposite ends of the spectrum. I like that this model forces you not to overthink any question due to the time limitations nor allow you to easily remember and duplicate your responses between assessments due to the volume of questions.
 
My first time using this assessment tool was about this time last year for an elective course entitled the “Leadership Challenge”.  I took StrengthsFinder again in January of 2014 in preparation for a leadership conference, finishing the process with very similar results. It was not until after the second time I took this assessment, analyzed the validity in my determined strengths “off paper”, and then allowed these reflections to resonate that I really became fascinated with the concept and practice of strength based leadership.
 
My strengths were as follows:
 
September 2013: Woo, Communication, Achiever, Includer, and Connectedness
January 2014: Communication, Woo, Arranger, Connectedness, and Achiever
 
On my first day at AACP, one of the first things I noticed when walking by each staff members’ office was that below their name card lies a list of their top 5 strengths. Upon orientation with Dr. Adams throughout the day there was one conversation that continually stuck with me throughout my first week: “It’s nice walking into a meeting and knowing whom each person is and what they bring to the table”.  I stopped for a minute to really take in this seemingly simple concept, and realized that in many of my group and team based learning I rarely stopped and took the time to define each members’ strengths. Although it can be difficult to sum up a co-worker with 5 simple words, it can give others insight into how this individual thinks, acts, and communicates with those around them.
 
Throughout the rest of my first week I began my individual meetings with each Senior Staff member. I tried to enter each meeting recognizing the strengths each individual brought to the table and understand how each strength fit into their roles within the organization and even within that particular meeting. During each discussion, I continued to see a pattern of warm, friendly, and passionate team members working cohesively to continually offer the best for their members.  I continually asked myself, “What had helped create and shape such an effective working environment?”.  By Friday, I had finally come to the conclusion that each individual was strategically matched in capacities in which their strengths were maximized.
During my meeting with Vincent Lau, Vice President of Research and Graduate Education, we discussed his role with the New Investigator Award. Not only is he involved in the detailed review of applications, but has initiated efforts to increase training for recipients in the program and continually follow up with each investigator throughout their career. After obtaining a glimpse into his desire to help further the education of such a select group of learners through a very strategic process and program, I was not surprised to find his top strengths were as follows: Relator, Strategic, Learner, Analytical, and Responsibility. Throughout our meeting we discussed many of the other projects he is involved in within AACP, with each comprising of tasks centered around a common theme: his top 5 strengths. It was very apparent that Vincent did not purposefully mold his work around his assessment prescribed top 5 strengths, however found a role in which he could capitalize upon his strengths to do his part in helping advance the profession of academic pharmacy as a team member at AACP.
 
So far I am only a few days into my month long journey at AACP, but I could not be more excited to continue to work alongside Dr. Adams and the rest of the AACP team. In moving forward with my next week, I am setting a goal not seek to improve upon my weaknesses, but to work in capacities and projects where I can best contribute and develop my strengths. In moving forward with my future APPE’s and in pursuit of further education, I plan to transfer the value I have placed in the StrengthsFinder assessment within the Association into my methodology on approaching the application process for residency/fellowship programs. After observing the importance of successful strengths based leadership teams this week, I plan to pinpoint programs in which my personal skill set can serve as a unique asset to further a program’s patient care initiatives. However, I must also seek a learning environment in which I can cultivate my existing strengths as the framework for my growth into the best new pharmacy practitioner that I can possibly become.
 
Quote of the week:
“You cannot be anything you want to be- but you can be a lot more of who you already are.”
- Tom Rath, Strengths Finder 2.0
 
Lauren Clouse
UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2015
 
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