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Pharmacy Practice Skills Labs

At St. Louis College of Pharmacy at University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, pharmacy students gain opportunities to enhance their classroom learning through the Pharmacy Practice Skills Lab series of courses.

The series of five integrated courses is taught in conjunction with the college’s patient care course series, and offers hands-on training designed to help students to develop the skills they need to become a pharmacist.

The labs feature innovative spaces and creative curriculum that enrich the learning experience and prepare students for real-world work on rotations and in their future careers.

Innovative Spaces

Student works independently during pharmacy practice skills lab.

Students taking part in the Skills Lab course series have access to unique spaces to enhance their learning experience.

Hospital Skills Lab

During Skills Lab IV, students utilize the college’s hospital skills lab to develop their pharmacy practice skills in a health-system setting. Students have the opportunity to practice intravenous (IV) and nutrition calculations, check IV compatibilities, perform medication reconciliation and answer drug information questions. Within the main hospital skills lab, is a sterile compounding lab with state-of-the-art laminar flow hoods that allow students to prepare IV medications. Prior to entering the sterile compounding lab, students scrub up and put on gowns and gloves in a process designed to mimic that of an IV room at a hospital.

Clinical Exam Rooms

Skills Lab students at the college have the ability to practice and develop their patient care and communications skills within simulated exam rooms located on-campus in the Academic and Research Building. The rooms mimic the look and feel of a traditional doctor’s office and feature exam recording capabilities which allow faculty to record, watch and assess students’ interactions with patients. To provide the most realistic practice sessions possible, patient roles are portrayed by actors brought in by the University. The spaces are reserved exclusively for pharmacy students, and can be utilized for practice outside of regular class times.

Team Learning Classroom

Located on the second floor of the Academic and Research Building is a unique space which gives Skills Lab students the opportunity to take part in collaborative learning related to Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The room features desks with large computer monitors attached. Students can pull up the educational EHR software platform as a group and review a patient chart together and collaborate on activities related to the chart.

Creative Curriculum

Roxanne Took, assistant professor of pharmacy practice, instructs students during skills lab.

Through a combination of online learning tools and hands-on training, Skills Lab students gain the knowledge needed to become patient-centered care providers.

Online Learning tools

During Skills Lab I, student pharmacists utilize the My Dispense community pharmacy platform which simulates community pharmacy workflow. The virtual dispensing environment initiates student pharmacists into the basics of safe medication delivery from receiving prescriptions from prescribers to communication with and final dispensing of medication to patients.

Student pharmacists in Skills Lab I also gain knowledge of how pharmacy management software is used to optimize patient health through the PioneerRx online platform, which provides customizable pharmacy management solutions to independent pharmacies.

Hands-on experiences

Through faculty collaborations with area pharmaceutical companies, students in Skills Lab II have the opportunity to obtain inhaler devices, which they learn to use and are able to keep and utilize as they work to provide inhaler education to future asthma patients during rotations. The inhalers are also used for interprofessional activities with students from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. During a recent interprofessional session, pharmacy students from the college educated students from the School of Medicine on using inhalers, and the School of Medicine students provided insight on giving physical exams.

In Skills Lab III, students learn about insulin administration and get hands-on experience with administering insulin injections via a silicone stomach replica. Additional hands-on training is provided to educate students on taking blood pressure and using a glucometer.

The college is also committed to educating its students on the use and administration of naloxone, a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. In Skills Lab V, students receive training on the three FDA-approved naloxone delivery systems: injectable, auto-injectable and prepackaged nasal spray. Once their training is complete, students are assessed on their ability to train patients on how to use each of the delivery devices.

Patient-Centered Communication Tools (PaCT)

Pharmacy practice faculty at St. Louis College of Pharmacy at University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis have developed a published and validated communication and assessment tool for pharmacist-patient interactions, known as PaCT. The tool is utilized by pharmacy practice faculty to validate students’ abilities to go beyond delivering information to patients. PaCT is grounded in a patient-centered approach to care that demonstrates the importance of being able respond to a patient’s emotions and understand their individual perspectives in order to provide more successful patient encounters. First introduced during the 2012-13 academic year, PaCT continues to be used throughout the college’s pharmacy curriculum, and is a platform that can be adapted by pharmacy schools nationwide.

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