Pharmacy Students Explore Career Opportunities at Experiential Education Expo
The MCW School of Pharmacy’s 5th annual Experiential Education Expo gave students the opportunity to interact with 35 different practice sites as they look forward to rotations, residency placements and the start of their careers.
Presenters from across the state of Wisconsin, and elsewhere in the Midwest, represented a wide range of pharmacy pathways – from hospital and community sites to long-term care, specialty pharmacy and insurance providers.
“I look at the expo as a win-win for our students and practice sites,” said Stacy Reid, PharmD, director of experiential education. “Students may find career opportunities that they didn’t realize existed that they’re now interested in pursuing. Our practice sites and preceptors can get their name out there to students who are looking for rotations and postgraduate opportunities.”
Second-year pharmacy students in attendance gathered information to rank which sites they’d prefer for their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs), often referred to as “APPE rotations.” The Office of Experiential Education works diligently to pair students with the APPE rotations that best fit their career goals. During the third and final year of the PharmD curriculum, students are immersed in the practice setting full-time, completing four required and three elective APPE rotations.
“Something we pride ourselves on in the Office of Experiential Education is how much time we put into each of our students’ schedules,” said Ciara Beckers, MBA, program manager for experiential education. The OEE team conducts individual meetings throughout July and August to understand each student’s interests. That information is paired with a computer-generated lottery system that matches students with the practice sites that they ranked as preferred.
“Developing this personalized schedule for each student takes hours of our team’s time, but at the end of the day, the satisfaction that the students have in their rotation schedule is priceless. It’s great to hear their excitement and show that we really care about them and their postgraduate plans,” added Beckers.
During the expo, second-year students could also participate in interviews for the Longitudinal Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (LAPPE). Students selected for the LAPPE program are provided extended time at one of their APPE rotation sites to help gain a better understanding of the healthcare services provided and prepare for their intended career path.
Third-year pharmacy students attending the expo gathered information about potential residency, fellowship and other postgraduate opportunities.
“Many students entering pharmacy school envision themselves pursuing a residency in the hospital or retail pharmacy setting, but there are very few students who have ideas or concrete plans outside of those two pathways. We try to make sure that students understand that the possibilities for pharmacy careers are endless,” said Beckers.
Attendees participated in mock interviews conducted by MCW faculty members or pharmacy preceptors. After a 10-minute mock interview, students watch a recording and participate in a self-reflection activity to compare their perceived performance to that of the interviewer.
Experiential Education at the MCW School of Pharmacy
The MCW School of Pharmacy, the only pharmacy school in southeastern Wisconsin located at an academic medical center, provides students with access to clinical experiences with top-ranked partners: Froedtert Hospital, Children’s Wisconsin and the Clement J. Zablocki VA Medical Center. The school also has partnerships with more than 500 pharmacy practice sites around the state which facilitate experiential education opportunities.
Also unique to the MCW School of Pharmacy, students start Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPE rotations) in year one of the PharmD curriculum. By the end of their second year, they have completed double the amount of clinical rotation hours required by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). For APPE rotations in their third year, MCW pharmacy students complete an additional six-week rotation compared to what is required by ACPE.