Medical School

MCW School of Pharmacy team places in top 10 at National Clinical Skills Competition

MCW School of Pharmacy second-year students Marcus Haug and Audrey Schmidt placed in the top 10 at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Clinical Skills Competition held during the ASHP mid-year meeting. The meeting is the largest attended pharmacy conference in the world and was held earlier this month in Anaheim, CA.

MCW School of Pharmacy second-year students Marcus Haug and Audrey Schmidt placed in the top 10 at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Clinical Skills Competition held during the ASHP mid-year meeting. The meeting is the largest attended pharmacy conference in the world and was held earlier this December in Anaheim, CA.

More than 130 pharmacy schools sent teams to compete at the national level. This was the MCW School of Pharmacy’s first year participating in the annual competition. The ASHP Clinical Skills Competition challenges two-person teams from the nation’s Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) accredited doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) schools to analyze complex patient-case scenarios and make treatment recommendations verbally and in writing.

“The Clinical Skills Competition recognizes excellence in clinical skill development for student pharmacists,” says George E. MacKinnon III, PhD, MS, RPh, MCW School of Pharmacy Founding Dean and Professor, “Here at the MCW School of Pharmacy, we are preparing students to fulfill the expanded role of the pharmacist by developing enhanced skills in collaborative practice and direct patient care. We are delighted our students in the accelerated PharmD program competed so well nationally.”

“Participating in the competition made me realize that even though we are a new program, MCW is preparing us at the same level as some of the top schools in the country,” Haug says, “It gave me a lot of confidence in my education and it has already translated into my school work and clinical rotations.”

Haug and Schmidt, both members of the School of Pharmacy inaugural class, were selected to represent the MCW School of Pharmacy at the national competition after winning a local competition held at the MCW campus this past October. Seven teams of second-year pharmacy students participated in the local competition, coordinated by School of Pharmacy faculty members, Brianne Bakken, PharmD, MHA, and Carolyn Oxencis, PharmD.

Dr. Oxencis agrees the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum prepared the students to succeed.

“Incorporating the ‘Pharmacist's Patient Care Plan’ process of working up patient cases into MCW School of Pharmacy courses such as Patient Care Lab and Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) Seminar this winter was timely and extremely valuable,” says Dr. Oxencis. “This gave our students practice developing a complete patient care plan by prioritizing health care issues, providing treatment recommendations, and choosing appropriate monitoring and follow up.”

During the competition, students participate in a two-hour written assessment and oral presentation. Teams are evaluated on clinical relevance, effectiveness, comprehension and practicality of their written assessment and clarity and logic of their oral presentations. Both the local and national clinical skills competition gives pharmacy students an experience that closely mimics real-life pharmacy practice in a hospital inpatient setting.

“Our students practiced providing a thorough review of a patient to create a comprehensive medication therapy plan that incorporated clinical evidence-based guidelines and literature" says Dr. Bakken. “The students then distill down the comprehensive plan to provide a succinct presentation of their recommendations as if they were presenting to an interprofessional healthcare team on rounds, which helps them build confidence in not only their clinical skills, but also their presentation and communication skills.”

“This was a great opportunity for everyone, even if you just participate in the local (school) level. At the end, you have to a have a very detailed, complete and correct patient care plan to hand to the judges,” shares Schmidt. “I would encourage everyone to participate to learn new ways of approaching a patient case and having the experience of working through the patient and making patient-oriented decisions with a partner.”

Members of the top 10 national teams each received an iPad Mini device and a $25 Amazon gift card. The national Clinical Skills Competition was sponsored by the ASHP Research and Education Foundation and has been hosted by ASHP for 23 years.