In his seventh installment, Ahsun Babalmorad interviews P-4 students Josh Sanchez and Cameron Phillips about what is was like completing a rotation in the Office of Student Services.
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Welcome back to Talk Pharmacy. On this episode I talk to Josh Sanchez and Cameron Philips. That’s right. Two guests on the podcast at the same time.
Two fourth year students who talk to me about their first APPE in the office of student services.
Focusing on recruiting students into the program. Why applications are down and what they are doing to increase enrollment. Take a listen.
Ahsun: Welcome back to Talk Pharmacy. Joining me today…
Experience on their first APPE at the Office of Student Services where they are requiring new students into the pharmacy program.
Josh: We are working right now under marketing and outreach team down there. Cammie they just hired her. She comes from a business background. She’s really good at marketing and product placement. We are learning how to promote our business. School of pharmacy is technically a business. That’s what we’re doing right now.
Cameron: Working on a couple of different events. Primarily working with high school and college students. Basically broaden the public’s knowledge of what a pharmacist does. Over the past few years applications to pharmacy schools across the nation have been declining and CU is not immune to that. So they’ve experienced a decline in applications, as well.
Okay, so it’s all over. Not just CU. That’s interesting.
Ahsun: Do you guys know the numbers? how many applications we were getting previously versus now.
Josh: The peak was about 106,000 applicants nationwide. Last year that decreased to 75,000.
Ahsun: Why do you think there’s such a huge drop in applications.
Cameron: I think it has to do with the public’s misunderstanding of what a pharmacist does. A lot of people think it is a one track profession where we are in a retail setting, a walgreens or king soopers. I just don’t think it appears to be as glamorous to particularly high school or college students. Trying to promote the info that pharmacy is more than just working in retail. Pharmacy is a career that has ample opportunity to pursue whatever field you like.
Ahsun: So more clinical . They had high numbers before. The general population’s idea of pharmacy – were they just promoting it better before?
Josh: It’s tough to say. I know one of the hypothesis – going into 2000, there were about 90 schools of pharmacy now we’re up to 135 schools of pharmacy. Don’t know average number of students. Assume average class size 100. That’s a potential 1500 less that would apply to CU.
Ahsun: That’s probably a big factor. How many pharmacy schools in California?
Cameron: There are now 15 in California, which is our biggest feeder state.
Ahsun: we only have 2 here in Colorado. Influencing… not just that many people interested in pharmacy for reasons that Cameron just stated.
Josh: Report came out in late ‘90s saying huge pharmacy shortage, which created this big boom. A lot of people now are concerned that the job market is just too saturated. If you’re a prospective student now, if I graduate in 4 – 8 years, how many more pharmacists in the job market.
Ahsun – undergrad I was working at a retail pharmacy and every day companies tried to recruit our pharmacists. At that point, pharmacists were getting signing bonuses. Now, that’s certainly not the case. But you guys’s job is to try to increase the number of applications?
Cameron: Important point to mention – as the laws change surrounding pharmacy we’re going to see another increase in job opportunities. I don’t know if you’re aware but the legislature was recently signed by the governor to expand the pharmacists role in the health care services.
Ahsun: Exactly. That’s a good point. Now that we have provider status. Is that what the school suspects… more job openings for pharmacists or more potential to make money.
Cameron: I think it will change and increase the potential the amount of revenue a pharmacist can contribute to a company. So by being able to get reimbursement for intellectual services for those health care services it could definitely impact the role a pharmacist plays in any job setting.
Ahsun: Let’s talk more about what you’re doing to get people interested.. what you’re doing and events you hold.
Cameron: Largest event is going to be an international event called HOSA, which is geared to students primarily in high school interested in health care professions. Very large base of hundreds of thousands of students interested in health care. However, pharmacy is not represented in this base. Almost every other profession is represented. However, pharmacy has no or minor presence at these events so far. By us attending this event and increasing our attendance to increase awareness for pharmacy to generate additional interest.
Ahsun: International you say?
Cameron: I believe this year is speculated to be in the 9,000 range.
Ahsun: The pressure is on. Not only are you representing CU pharmacy, you are representing pharmacy.
Josh: Dr. Jarvis has done a lot of work to get pharmacy there. So what Dr. Jarvis has done is created a Colorado state pharmacy chapter; created a competition and have people compete in this competition and the next step is to get other states to do the same and have people compete. We believe we will have pharmacy competition at national level. That’s our goal.
Ahsun: This is a yearly conference.
Josh: Last year pharmacy may have had a booth. This year I think we have 6 booths. Cameron and I are giving a presentation about microbial drug resistance. Dr. Borgelt is presenting on marijuana. Pharmacy is going to play a very big role in the conference.
Cameron: Poster presentation to AACP conference that Dr. Jarvis will be attending this summer. Outline our work that we are doing at HOSA this year to essentially recruit other pharmacy schools to generate interest in unifying with us to make our presence at HOSA in the coming years even larger.
Ahsun: specific examples of what you do with these students to promote pharmacy
Josh: We have a day with UPP – undergraduate pre health professionals. It’s about 20 students interested in some form of health care. Been on our campus for two weeks. Each day they get to hang out with a different profession. Yesterday with dental, today medicine and tomorrow is their day with us. We get the whole day with them. Show them how to make chapstick, lip balm, go through vaccine technique, also injection technique for insulin and show how to sterile compound IVs. Some of the stuff they don’t know a pharmacist can do. Spoke with same students Monday about how important it is to talk with advisors to make sure your pre-reqs are all okay. They didn’t have a good understanding as to what a pharmacist does and tomorrow we’re going to open their eyes.
Ahsun: Do you find there’s a common misperception about a pharmacy career? Just those people in back of stores, who just count pills. Do you find it’s a common view of students?
Josh: I agree with what Cameron said. Majority wanted to be MDs, wanted to prescribe; wanted patient interaction. Now we can tell them provider status, which we are supposed to call it pharmacist provision of health care services – to be politically correct. Not too far down the road pharmacists will be able to do that. Pharmacists who have same role in Oregon can do strep testing and prescribe antibiotics.
Ahsun: Is this an APPE you recommend.
Cameron: This rotation is extremely useful to any student who is trying to pursue something other than retail. You get to see a different side. You get to work with administration. What goes into deciding what pre-reqs the school will accept. How do we generate interest in the profession of pharmacy. A lot of other facets of pharmacy that you get to be exposed to in this rotation.