Building relationships with pre-pharmacy students
Building partnerships with pre-professional students is an opportunity to reflect on your own journey in pharmacy and mentor those who will one day follow in your footsteps. Our Pre-Pharmacy Club has seen significant growth since 2016, and mentor–mentee relationships have strengthened as the years have passed. What started as “Pharmacy Student Panels” at Pre-Pharmacy Club meetings has developed into undergraduate involvement and membership in our APhA–ASP Chapter.
The growth of this partnership has required time and commitment from both executive teams but has resulted in many collaborative events and activities that have allowed undergraduate and PharmD students to engage and excite each other about their shared passions. Currently, a Pre-Pharmacy Club Liaison sits as a member of our executive team.
A most anticipated event by both PharmD and pre-pharmacy students is the Skills Lab Immersion. Pre-Pharmacy students get a peek at the responsibilities of a pharmacist. Rather than simply reading about activities, students are immersed through participation in more than 20 stations, from creating their own “cream” from frosting and crushed cereal to learning how to properly handwash and garb for sterile I.V. product preparation. This is a unique, student-run event, as PharmD students work with pre-pharmacy students and guide them through the activities. Functioning as both an educational and professional development opportunity, the event enables students to reaffirm their chosen career path, share their passion with others, and develop relationships with future colleagues, mentors, and friends.
Our Rx Mentorship Program further deepens this relationship by partnering freshman and sophomore undergraduate students with PharmD students. Students are paired through an interest survey and attend classes with their mentor during allotted weeks to preview pharmacy classes. This partnership lasts 2 years, but the mentor–mentee relationships often continue over time. As undergraduate students matriculate into pharmacy school, they have a mentor they can rely on to ask questions or gather advice.
Creighton offers multiple programs for undergraduate students to transition to pharmacy school after a minimum of 2 years. Building relationships with undergraduate pre-pharmacy students early during their academic career can entice students to become engaged in APhA–ASP prior to admittance.
1. Flexibility is important when trying to work with differing class schedules. Our Pre-Pharmacy Club holds meetings at night to allow pharmacy students to attend, and our APhA–ASP lunch meetings are over the lunch hour for undergraduates to join if available.
2. Having a Pre-Pharmacy Club liaison as a formal part of our executive team bridges gaps and makes event planning easier.
3. Communication between the two organizations is key to advertising events to members and holding joint events.
4. Holding events frequently enough for relationships to build will ensure that mentor–mentee pairs stay connected throughout the years.
5. As undergraduate students move into their professional studies, continuing to engage in the Pre-Pharmacy Club is important to their pre-professional organization involvement.
Katie Sandquist is a second-year PharmD candidate, Christa Taylor is a third-year PharmD candidate, and Marielle Wong and Cat Palmer are pre-pharmacy students, at the Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions.