Throughout the month of October, students in Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy have observed American Pharmacists Month, a national initiative designed to promote the pharmacy profession and raise awareness among pharmacists’ peers, patients and communities.
“The activities over the past month are just a few examples of how students are making a difference in the communities they serve,” said pharmacy dean Michael A. Crouch. “Ninety percent of the U.S. population live within five miles of a pharmacy, and it’s exciting to see students advocate for patients and show how pharmacists help people live healthier, better lives.”
Samford’s pharmacists month activities focus on outreach. Throughout the month, pharmacy students have provided more than 3,800 vaccines as a result of experiential learning and student organization activities. Third-year students in the introductory pharmacy practice experience course also provided more than 450 self-care consultations, and conducted more than 200 physical assessments where they assessed blood pressure, blood glucose and cholesterol in community and ambulatory care settings throughout the area. In addition, the Samford chapter of the National Community Pharmacists Association provided an additional 150 vaccines in local community pharmacies as a part of its Mission Vaxx campaign.
Students in the Samford chapter of the American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) launched an innovative social media campaign, “31 Days of American Pharmacists Month,” to highlight pharmacists and pharmacy students from throughout the state. Each day, a pharmacist or student is featured in a carefully crafted graphic or video, showcasing the various factors that motivate individuals to choose a career in pharmacy and the multitude of career options available. Numerous Samford faculty, alumni and students have been highlighted in the campaign.
According to Crouch, in addition to educating communities about the profession, pharmacists month provides an opportunity for students to reflect on the profession and determine how they want to serve others through the profession of pharmacy.
“The role of a pharmacist matters,” said third-year pharmacy student and vice chair of communication for APhA-ASP Sydney Sanders. “We are medical professionals. We make clinical recommendations daily. We monitor blood pressure and blood glucose. We administer immunizations. We monitor IV drug levels in the hospital setting. We provide evidence-based medicine recommendations to physicians. We matter to the health care system.”
Sanders further explained, “Pharmacists are in every part of the health care system, making dosing recommendations, monitoring interactions and toxicity risks, and providing clinical skills that most health care professionals do not receive in their schooling.”
Katie Stripling is executive director of external relations for the College of Health Sciences and McWhorter School of Pharmacy.