Students Hit the Pharmacy Aisles to Counsel Patients

Published on 19 February 2014

Sixth-year student Bethanne Carpenter was perusing the pharmacy shelves of Walgreens on Lindell Blvd. when she noticed a man picking up one medication bottle before placing it back down and picking up another. Carpenter approached the man and asked if she could help.

He told Carpenter that he was experiencing cold symptoms. He also told her he was HIV positive, and wanted to make sure that whatever medication he took would not react with the medication he was already taking to treat his disease.

Carpenter reviewed different medications used to treat a common cold and assured the man that the cough and cold medications he took would not cause any adverse reactions or side effects. “He was thanking me because he had no idea what to take,” Carpenter says.

Carpenter’s counseling was done in conjunction with the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacist’s Operation Self-Care. At least once a semester, STLCOP students counsel patients about specific medications at the Walgreens on Lindell. In October, they counseled patients about flu medications. On April 11, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. they will counsel patients about allergy medicines.  “We’ll educate patients about the different triggers of allergies, and how to treat them,” says Heather Kindermann, fifth-year student and chair of Operation Self-Care.

Student pharmacists will also be doing heartburn counseling as part of Operation Self-Care at the St. Charles Chill hockey game at Family Arena on March 8 at 7 p.m. After the game, students will be handing out antacid medication.

After all, pharmacy shopping can be an intimidating process, especially considering

“A lot of people are intimidated by the amount of over-the-counter medications now available at most pharmacies and don’t know what questions to ask, so having us here available to them is very beneficial,” says Monica Dutridge, fourth-year student and vice-chair of Operation Self-Care.

Operation Self-Care is also great practice for pharmacy students, according to Clark Kebodeaux, assistant professor of pharmacy practice and APhA-ASP advisor. Kebodeaux is also the pharmacy manager at the Walgreens on Lindell Blvd. “It’s a great opportunity for our student pharmacists to really get out in the community and help our patients, whether it’s cough and cold or any of the medications that are available over the counter,” he says. “It makes them realize what a difference they can make with their patients.”

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