Based on the expressions from the elementary students in the room it looked like all fun and games. But as lighthearted as the event was, becoming a '"Pharmacist for a Day” held a serious message.
A CU pharmacy student helps a fourth grader learn basic compounding.
“The elementary school children learn how to make 'rash a way cream' using mortar and pestle, dye tabs and lotion. They learn how to put a prescription label on a vial. They learn about the difference between candy and medicine, and when to call poison control,” said Patricia Meyer, senior student services specialist for the Office of Experiential Education.
The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences on the CU Anschutz Medical Campus has been a national leader in experiential education – providing hands-on community outreach opportunities to students, starting with their very first semester on campus.
As part of their first-year training, pharmacy students are tasked with educating elementary students on a wide variety of healthcare issues. The idea being that if student pharmacists can learn to explain sometimes-complicated pharmacy concepts to a fourth grader, they will be better prepared to communicate more complex information to their patients in the future.
The “Pharmacists for a Day” event had been on hold due to the pandemic and was back in-person for the first time in two years.
Elementary students are honored for their newly acquired pharmacy skills with a "white coat ceremony."
Over the course of two weeks, 150 students from Paris Elementary, Park Lane Elementary, and Laredo Elementary descended on the Anschutz Medical Campus to not just learn, but also participate. The fourth graders tried their hand at identifying medication, reading measurements and basic compounding. And, like any good pharmacy student, for their efforts, they were presented with a white coat and ceremony at the end of the day.
The organizers of the annual event hope that it not only instills real-world medication knowledge in the children but also inspires them to consider pursuing a healthcare career in the future and reminds them that their neighborhood pharmacist is an accessible community wellness professional for them and their family.