Authors: Dip Patel, SSHP President and Hubert Kusdono, SSHP President-Elect
St. Louis College of Pharmacy’s SSHP has started off the spring semester with multiple career development and community outreach events.
First, we had a fundraiser called “Pants with a Purpose.” This was a fundraising event in which for every pair of pants purchased, a pair was donated to St. Patrick’s Center for the Homeless. This event was a way for students to give back to their community, and SSHP was fortunately able to donate about $1800 to the charity.
Next, we had a Ronald McDonald House Outreach Event. During this volunteer and community outreach event, students from our chapter cooked and prepared meals for patients’ families at the Ronald McDonald House. Our students were able to give back to the community by interacting with and providing food for families of patients from Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital.
In February of this year, our SSHP chapter expanded our Practice Advancement Initiative (PAI) Week greatly. PAI is one of ASHP’s best-known initiatives to promote and advance the profession of pharmacy. The five pillars of PAI week include: integrating pharmacists into health-care systems, leveraging pharmacy technicians, promoting pharmacist credentialing and training, technology, and ensuring pharmacists are leaders in medication use. Many students on campus are unaware of PAI week, so SSHP’s goal was to educate students on PAI and discuss ways students can maximize our profession’s potential. We created a national advocacy video for PAI in which we advocated for pharmacists’ role in the healthcare team. To create awareness, we also had an event for every day of the week in which we had a volunteering opportunity through Blankets for Cancer Patients and had advocacy booth to promote provider status for pharmacists. Our SSHP chapter also held a blood pressure clinic at Walgreens. During this event, students were able to talk to patients regarding their medication adherence, diabetes, asthma, and hypertension management. We were also able to reach out to the community by advocating the importance of medication adherence. This event was a great opportunity for students, who are learning about how to take blood pressure in some of their classes, to enhance their skills by obtaining blood pressure from real patients in the community. Overall, PAI Week was a great success.
Our biggest career development event was the Residency Directors Roundtable. This is an event we held for the first time. Students were able to network and connect with residency directors from throughout the St. Louis area. This provided students with an opportunity to learn about what residency programs seek and expect from their candidates.
SSHP plans to hold more service and career development events throughout March and April. A volunteer event at the St. Mary’s NICU is planned for later this spring. This will provide students with a unique opportunity to volunteer their time and services towards a specialized area of healthcare, and in the meantime, learn more about what a pharmacist’s role may be in a neonatal intensive care unit. All profits from a fundraiser held for this event will be used to make “baby care packages” for newborn babies through the “Sweet Babies” program.
We have also planned Mock Interview Practice Sessions where students will be able to partake in a residency, fellowship, or job interview simulation conducted by various pharmacy practice faculty. This will give students the opportunity to sharpen their interviewing skills and know to what kind of questions to expect in a potential residency interview.
Other upcoming events in March and April include Aseptic Technique Lab, CV Review, Clinical Journal Club, and Cancer Care Packages.