Giving back to my APhA–ASP Chapter

APhA New Practitioner Mentor By Stephanie Gartrell, PharmD

When I was as a member and co-president of the Butler University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences APhA–ASP Chapter, I was fortunate enough to meet and learn from the best mentors, both at the college and in the pharmacy community. I am still close with many of my mentors that I met during my time with APhA–ASP, so it really excites me that I am able to serve as a APhA New Practitioner Mentor for the chapter that has given me so much.

“CoPHee” talk
The chapter’s executive committee worked hard all summer to create a new opportunity for their members to connect with pharmacists who are practicing in the community. They have developed “CoPHee with Students” and it’s off to a great success this year. Each month, a pharmacist from a different practice area comes to Butler and shares their experiences with the students over coffee.

I was the pharmacist for September, and we discussed various aspects of the profession. I graduated from Butler 3 years ago, so I was able to provide insight on IPPE/APPE rotation preferences and what resources on campus helped me along my journey. The students were also eager to learn about the variety of careers they could pursue with their PharmD. We discussed postgraduate training, networking, and leadership opportunities in professional organizations like APhA–ASP. They were also curious to hear about my day-to-day duties as a clinical pharmacist at a suburban hospital, and I shared various ways to continue growing professionally after finishing their degree. 

Other APhA–ASP involvement
Other events that I have been a part of over the past few years as a New Practitioner Mentor include health screenings, attending chapter and officer meetings, and providing shadow experiences. Our student pharmacists work diligently to come up with creative ideas to help the community at their chapter meetings and plan the events for months. It is always such a proud moment for me to see their hard work in action when their measuring blood pressures, providing education, and counseling on medication. 

Enthusiasm renewed
As APhA New Practitioner Mentors, we have a unique opportunity to support future pharmacists and assist them in reaching their goals. I have arranged many shadowing and networking opportunities that have allowed students to observe experiences they would not otherwise receive until they are on rotations. I can see my influence at Butler the most when I observe my students on rotations. They incorporate all their experiences from APhA–ASP into their daily practice when they interact with other providers and with patients. It is really exciting to see them critically evaluate patient cases and make an impact.

I think anyone who has a desire to work with student pharmacists should consider becoming an APhA New Practitioner Mentor. Not only can you be a part of the next generation’s journey and growth, but you can also refine your precepting skills and become immersed again in a close-knit pharmacy community. Because of APhA–ASP, I have become a better preceptor and more confident in my ability to assist students. This opportunity has also provided me with a “pharm-ily” again. After graduating, my friends from APhA–ASP spread out across the United States, so it is a great feeling to be connected again to another generation of APhA–ASP.

These student pharmacists inspire me and renew my enthusiasm for pharmacy, and I can’t wait to see what they do in their careers! If you are interested in serving as an APhA New Practitioner Mentor, contact APhA’s Tom English at tenglish@aphanet.org. You can check out all the information here.