Challenged to face change head on
WCU student pharmacists Alexandra Pellerin (left) and Hannah Eagles represent the chapter at the recent American Heart Walk.
The William Carey University School of Pharmacy (WCUSOP) in Biloxi, MS, is the second PharmD program in the state and the first accelerated program in the region, from New Orleans, LA, to Pensacola, FL. The 2-year, 10-month program offers the opportunity for students to gain clinical knowledge and experiences to begin providing health care to communities sooner than a traditional program. With leadership and service as core values, students are prepared to enter the field with the necessary skillset to become leaders and servants in the community.
Making a difference through experience
The PharmD program is specifically designed to combine core science courses with experiential components so that they align with pharmacy practice. The experiential-based portion of the curriculum is critical to the learning process as it provides students with the opportunity to apply clinical knowledge to increase health outcomes and to provide patient-centered care. While working alongside pharmacy professionals, students broaden their knowledge and skills, and grow exponentially under the guidance of area experts. During this time, preceptors provide opportunities for student pharmacists to be exposed to experiences that will progress toward achievement of professional competencies. Through these experiences, students gain both skills and confidence to excel as emerging health professionals.
In addition to creating curriculum-based experiences for students, our APhA–ASP Chapter strives to be a catalyst for change in our coastal community. Our members promoted heart health by working with both the American Heart Association and local nursing and rehabilitation centers in efforts to carry out the chapter’s mission of creating an environment for student pharmacists to grow professionally by collaborating with health professionals to better the community. During these events, the chapter focused on bringing awareness to heart disease and teaching prevention strategies. Plans to partner with local officials to assist with the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day 2020 further promotes the chapter’s goal of providing education to the community regarding safe medication practices.
As an accelerated program, experiences can often pass by quickly, but faculty, staff, and the entire WCUSOP family work collectively to ensure the best environment for growth through learning and experiences.
Karen Johnson, 2021 PharmD Candidate
The faculty and staff at WCUSOP have made the experience in the program here an exciting one, and offer their time and share experiences to guide us along our educational journey. As a member of APhA–ASP, I have been afforded the opportunity to grow academically, personally, and professionally by collaborating with and learning from some of the best experts in the field of pharmacy. As a member of the inaugural class, I have been challenged to face change head on and to leave the school better than I found it. It is my hope to be a positive representative of WCUSOP and APhA and to advance the field and act as a guide for future pharmacists.
Victoria Nguyen, 2021 PharmD Candidate
WCUSOP has afforded me an opportunity to develop lifelong relationships with both friends and future colleagues. The skills that I have learned at the university will allow me to adapt to a multitude of aspects within the pharmacy profession with ease. The curriculum and resources are unique and provide the best experiences to ready students to excel as practitioners in the field as leaders and innovators.
Riley Davis, 2022 PharmD Candidate
The experiences I have had at WCUSOP have been great so far. I have just completed my first year of didactic coursework, and I already feel more confident in my ability to be a successful pharmacist. The faculty here are always challenging us to think differently and pushing us to be our best at all times. They go above and beyond to ensure we are excelling in our coursework and are always available outside of the classroom for extra recitation. I feel very confident that when I enter the workforce I will be prepared to be the best pharmacist I can be.
Karen Johnson and Victoria Nguyen are second-year PharmD candidates at The William Carey University School of Pharmacy (WCUSOP), and Riley Davis is a first-year PharmD candidate at WCUSOP.