Welcome to the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy blog!

Friday, February 27, 2015

IPPE Assignments

Hello, if you are like me then you are reading this blog because you are interested in applying and attending Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy.  I am a second year student now but I remember back to when I was applying for pharmacy school, I read every single blog that was posted.  With that being said I want to briefly mention one of my favorite things that we do at school.  Starting in the spring of your first year, each student is assigned a specific rotation during the week.  The first year the rotations are at various community (retail) pharmacies in the surrounding area(s).  The second year the rotations move to hospitals and dialysis clinics, and in the third year you move to an 8 hour rotation.  This main purpose of each rotation is to grant the student with exposure to the possibilities that await us upon graduation.  During each rotation you might be asked to complete various assignments.  These could range from simply filling prescriptions, keying prescriptions in a computerized system, doing medication reconciliation reports, taking a drug request over the phone, researching patient question, and possible presentations.

During my first year I did a rotation at Walgreens, every time I would go in my preceptor would have me do a “scavenger hunt” throughout the store.  My preceptor would have a series of say 20 questions (ex:  Which over the counter allergy medication will deliver results the fastest?), I would then go on the sales floor and answer her questions.  When I finished and presented my answers to her, she would go over anything that I had missed and explain to me why a different option would be better.  She would also have me do medication follow up calls to new patients.

Sometimes a project might seem pointless, but in doing the project we realize how lucky we are to have all our information at the touch a cell phone.  I recently did a rotation at a local hospital with a classmate we were asked up to make the updates in the Facts and Comparisons book.  This particular book is roughly 1700 pages and each month various changes are made.  Packets are sent out with directions such as; remove pages 10-16a and add pages 10-16j or remove pg 1100 and add the updated pg 1100.  My classmate and I spent roughly 40 minutes on this task.  As we worked we thought, man this would stink if we had to refer to this large book on a regular basis.  We were both very grateful for online resources.

These are just a few of the many different assignments or projects that one might be asked to complete on a rotation, but rest assured each task has a purpose.  There is always something that can be learned from each assignment.  If you have any further questions about my experiences on rotations or in pharmacy school in general, please feel free to email me at castaggs@presby.edu.  We look forward to meeting and seeing you at one our open house events.

P2 - Class of 2017

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Pharmacy Legislative Day

Each year the South Carolina Pharmacy Association (SCPhA) coordinates Pharmacy Legislative Day in efforts to advocate for the profession of pharmacy and raise awareness regarding certain bills which affect the profession. This year, Pharmacy Legislative Day took place on Thursday, February 19 at the State House in Columbia, South Carolina.

Over 150 pharmacy students from across the state united at the State House to speak with legislators regarding the bill S.413. This particular bill, “Pharmacy Vaccine Expansion Legislation” will allow student pharmacists to administer vaccines to patients under the direct supervision of a pharmacist. Additionally, the bill will allow pharmacists to immunize those who are 12 years of age and older.  Students created posters to advocate support for the bill. Additionally, students discussed the significance of the bill with legislators.

Recently, PCSP was recognized as one of the top five pharmacy schools in the nation to have the most student pharmacist participation in the national “Pharmacists Provide Care Campaign”.  PCSP students are passionate about contributing to the profession of pharmacy and enjoy participating in events which support the development of the profession. PCSP encourages student leader involvement by offering endless opportunities to be involved on a local, state and national level. As we unite together, we can strongly impact the future of pharmacy.

P3 - Class of 2016

Monday, February 23, 2015

Compounding Competition

Each year PCSP holds an annual compounding competition hosted by NCPA, one of our community pharmacy associations, and Dr. Asbill, our compounding pharmacist.

The competition consists of teams, each with three members. The first thing that the teams participate in is a written test that includes several questions about ingredients in compounding, calculations, and many other things. After completing the test, each team has a debate about a certain topic related to compounding. Once each team has completed their debate, it’s then time for the most exciting part…compounding! Each team is given three compounds to make with each of them being a different formulation, such as a cream, solution, eye drop, etc. Each type of preparation also differs each year. There are ingredients and other items set out that you’ll need to compound with and each team has to decide which items/ingredients they need and how to make each preparation. They also have to write down all their steps, make a product label, and present their final preparations to the judges.

Once the competition is over, Dr. Asbill and the other judges examine all of the material and announce the winning team that gets to go on to compete in regionals. It’s a very fun and rewarding experience that allows you to be more involved in pharmacy and get a better idea of the many avenues that pharmacy has to offer. I recommend everyone trying it at least once! It’s an amazing opportunity!

P3 - Class of 2016

Friday, February 20, 2015

Preceptor Recognition

One of the most exciting milestones as a first year pharmacy student is starting your first Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) in a community pharmacy setting. I have had the privilege of learning from Dr. Viren Patel at Rite Aid in Spartanburg, SC. Dr. Patel graduated from South Carolina College of Pharmacy in 1977, and has worked in retail pharmacy for 38 years at various pharmacies. He is a true, patient-centered, hands-on pharmacist who believes that pharmacy is the best profession, which makes him passionate about caring for his patients. His work ethic and love of pharmacy are quite infectious (pardon the pun).

I am truly grateful to have had the privilege to learn from such a wonderful preceptor! Preceptor-generated assignments, incorporation of education into patient interactions in the pharmacy, and a strong emphasis on OTC medication knowledge and counseling make the rotation with Dr. Patel invaluable. I believe that, if it were possible, he would like to teach me everything he knows in these six short weeks. Unfortunately, he is a very good pharmacist so it would take much longer to learn all that he knows. Fortunately, I know the professors at PCSP and other preceptors will make sure that I learn everything else I need to know over the next few years so that I can be a great pharmacist, like Dr. Patel is. I hope my wonderful IPPE experience will make you excited to begin your rotations next year!

P1 - Class of 2018

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pharmacy Fun Facts

So if you are interested in pharmacy school you’ve definitely heard that we are one of the most trusted professions on the Gallup poll every year. If you’re in pharmacy school you know that beta-blockers end in “lol” and ACE-inhibitors are the “prils.” But here are some fun facts about pharmacy you might not know yet…

…when a pharmacist is involved, people are more likely to get routine vaccinations.

…Lipitor consistently ranks as one of the most used drugs.

…Louisiana was the first state that required a pharmacist to be licensed.

…Benjamin Franklin used to act as a “pharmacist” dispensing herbal remedies to cure ailments.

…the first hospital pharmacy started in the US in 1752.

…Coco-cola was originally made by pharmacists for medicinal purposes.

...and perhaps the most fun fact of all, not even pharmacy school can’t help explain why companies choose such weird brand names for their drugs.

P2 - Class of 2017

Monday, February 16, 2015


Pharmacy school is by far the most rewarding experience of my academic career. That being said, it can easily be considered one of the most demanding processes a student goes through.  Structuring one’s time to accommodate all of the responsibilities is vital to success in any pharmacy program, but at PCSP the resources available to aid in this process are second to none. We have various meetings with our academic advisors throughout each semester, as well as, an open door policy when discussing our progress. As we grow as students during the four years of our program, we can rely on the same advisor to be there with us throughout the duration. It is important to take full advantage of the time spent with your advisor, as this person knows everything it takes to be successful in this program and your development as a pharmacist. Meetings with your advisor are perfect opportunities to discuss what steps need to be taken to get you where you want to be and taking advantage of this resource is fundamental to our success here at PCSP.

P1 - Class of 2018

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Not because of the presents, chocolate, and fun cards because it’s another reason to celebrate the people you love in your life. Every year, my friends and I get together on February 13th and celebrate Gal-entine’s day. We play games, eat treats, and take time to appreciate the “gals” in our life that we are thankful for. This way, we have a special day for each other and the 14th is saved for our men!

Valentine’s Day itself can be very expensive—especially if you go out to dinner, buy flowers, a present, and candy I personally enjoy spending Valentine’s Day at home.  You can still enjoy all of the fun things the holiday has to offer but you won’t break the bank—this is important to consider on a student budget! I have compiled a few instructions on how to have the perfect Valentine’s Day at home with your special someone.

Step One: Go to the grocery store. While you are there, purchase a card, flowers (they are much cheaper than ordering them, and the following list:
Brownie Mix and ingredients listed on back that are required (eggs, vegetable oil, water)
Reese Cups (1-pack of 8)
Two steaks
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. Red potatoes
1 tsp. Rosemary
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp., garlic powder
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 package of steam able veggies of your choice (I suggest broccoli)
2 tbsp. butter or margarine
Salt and Pepper to taste


1. For dinner, cut the red potatoes into 1 inch squares. Mix 2 tbsp. of the vegetable oil, 1 tsp. rosemary, 1 tsp., paprika, and 1 tsp. garlic powder in a bowl. Toss the potatoes in the mixture and pour on a cookie sheet. Bake for 30 minutes at 425o.

2. Remove the steaks from the refrigerator and allow them to come to room temperature for 30-45 minutes. Season the steak on both sides with salt and pepper. Rub both sides with olive oil and set aside. Heat a medium frying pan (not non-stick) over high heat until hot. Put the steak in the pan and let it cook until a small crust forms on the bottom (3-4 minutes). Flip the steaks using tongs or a spatula and cook until its medium rare (3-4 more minutes). The steaks should be done when you can press the edge and its firm around the edges but still gives in the center. Serve immediately.

3. Steam the veggies according to package directions. Pour into bowl and toss with 2 tbsp. butter and dashes of salt and pepper.

4. Serve the steak with the potatoes and veggies.

5. Make the brownies according to package directions. Place Reese cups in the batter once it’s poured in a pan. Push them down until the touch the bottom. Bake as directed on the package. Serve once they are cool with a dollop of ice cream!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!

P3 - Class of 2016