The Pharmacy Curriculum Needs These 4 Things

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As a pharmacy student, I have come to realize that everything we learn is to prepare us for our practicing careers. While the curriculum for pharmacy cannot hit on everything, it does the best it can. Here are some areas I think that would be a great addition to the pharmacy curriculum.

Networking Courses

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There comes a point where almost all of you and your colleagues are equal in knowledge and the only way to differentiate you is who you know. It even happens now in pharmacy school with internships. Actually, this happens in all professions. A great way to get your foot in the door is to network. I hear this time and time again but, what does networking entail? What are the rules? How do you not make it so obvious or awkward? You all already know that I find asking for favors awkward. How am I supposed to ask for a job opportunity and keep a relationship long enough that me asking for a job doesn’t seem like that’s all I wanted from you. How often should I contact the person I’m networking in? How do I start the email or phone call? There are just so many questions that only a few of my classmates knew how to answer. Unless you find a classmate that is a pro in networking etiquette, you may be completely lost or intimidated by the entire process.

Interpretation of Law

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Yes,  we already have law classes and pharmacy is not law school but, how do I know I am interpreting the law properly. I do not want to get sued or arrested for malpractice. I know what the law says but, there are so many grey areas. What do the laws mean for how I serve my patients? That is not always clear when it comes to pharmacy law. If I were to be equipped with the right tools to interpret the law, there would rarely be a question of what to do and I would definitely be more confident. We won’t always have professors to translate the laws and I don’t know if I can afford a personal lawyer to explain them to me before I act.

Deeper Mental Health Focus

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A deeper mental focus, this is a very broad statement but, I mean this in a broad way. We need to be able to know how to help remove mental health stigmas. We do not focus on mental health often. Some schools are starting to require mental health first aid training which is great but, we still need more. We see mental health issues all the time in our lives but, have no idea how to approach it. Mental health issues are more common than people let on. Pharmacists are the most accessible health professional to patients. We could make a huge difference with mental health stigmas mitigation. We can also help to get patients to the appropriate person to help them but, we also need to know how to approach these situations.

I also think we need to focus on mental health for ourselves too. We need to know how to avoid burnout and promote more mental care amongst ourselves as health professionals. This will lead to happier more productive students and professionals. There are lots of times where we feel like there is no time to focus on our emotions when in reality that is so detrimental to everything in our lives including the things we are stressing out about. We are so over-worked and over-stressed that who wouldn’t benefit from some mental health tips or open discussions about our stresses in pharmacy school?

Professors Who Care

There is a lot of focus on numbers. While I understand how that can be important for accreditation and school rankings, numbers are not all that important. We do not treat our patients solely based off their numbers so, why do we do that to our students?  We need professors that care to find out why passing rates were low after an exam. We need professors that strive to fix any discrepancies we may have in our understanding, not constantly berate us for our curiosities or lack of understanding. We need professors that want to teach us how to understand and connect the information rather than focusing on the class exam average and finishing a module quickly.

Students can tell whether or not a professor cares about the student population or is biased. This is something that can affect the student confidence in the pharmacy profession and affect the learning environment of the student. A professor has the power to destroy or build a student’s confidence in their knowledge and ability to practice.

Conclusion

Overall, networking courses, interpretation of law classes, a deeper mental health focus and professors who care are all things that can greatly improve upon the current the pharmacy curriculum and help pharmacy students to reach their highest potential. This post is based on my experience and what I gathered from others. What are some other things that could be added to the pharmacy curriculum or any school curriculum?

Thanks for reading my rant,

Shika

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Shika Tamaklo is a pharmacy student attending Mercer University. She is a college lifestyle blogger who writes on fitness, health, student life struggles and, occasionally dabbles in creative writing.

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