MU pharmacy student in national competition focused on care
The role of the pharmacist is changing.
The days of pharmacists who simply dispense prescription medication are disappearing, as pharmacists play a more comprehensive role in each person's health care, Lynne Fruth told a group of pharmacy students on Friday at the Marshall University School of Pharmacy in Spring Valley.
They're talking more with their customers, educating them about each medicine, how to use it properly and sharing other crucial information. They don't just have to know about the pharmaceuticals but also have the communication skills and have a bit of expertise in human behavior to make sure all is well with their patients.
It's like going back to the past, said Fruth, president of Fruth Pharmacy, who remembers watching her father compounding ointments, talking with customers and working closely with their physicians.
One way that Marshall pharmacy students chose to try their hand at this is through a local competition, the winner of which was announced on Friday.
Sarah Dunaway of Greenup, Ky., came in first place in Marshall's competition. She won $1,000 from Fruth Pharmacy and advances to the American Pharmacists Association/Academy of Student Pharmacists national competition set for March 27-31 in Orlando. About 130 pharmacy schools will be represented at that competition.
To compete, she and other students had to simulate a session with a "customer" in which they as pharmacists are counseling them about an inhaler. They had five minutes to prepare their discussion about how to use it, possible adverse effects and more.
"That's what I'm going to be doing," Dunaway said. "Pharmacists are doing more counseling and less just checking prescriptions."
Other students who placed in Marshall's competition included Stephanie Walker of Auburndale, Fla. (second place); Megan DeLong of Louisa, Ky. (third place); and Daphne Hollingsworth of Gallipolis, Ohio (fourth place).
Each was offered an internship opportunity with Fruth Pharmacy.
"Today's pharmacists are being asked to participate as more involved members of the total health care team," Fruth said. And with their unmatched knowledge of medications and access to patients, they're uniquely qualified to help them have better outcomes, she said.
"I encourage each of you to embrace the opportunities you have to help patients through counseling," she said.
Dr. Kevin Yingling, dean of the Marshall School of Pharmacy, said a lot of education is built around simulation, and this competition helped participating students to hone their skills.
"The opportunity to go present nationally is a great motivator to the students," he said.
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