High school juniors, seniors and rising college freshmen received a taste of what a profession in pharmacy entails while attending Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy annual Bulldog Pharmacy Camp.
The camp was held on campus the week of June 28-July 1, after not taking place in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions. In years, past students have stayed overnight on in dorms, experiencing what it is like to live on campus, something organizers hope to return to next year.
During the week, campers participated in compounding labs where they were taught how to make gummy bears that can be used to deliver medications, took part in simulation experiences, and received hands-on medical training. In prior years when they were able to spend the night, campers created a liquid suspension and made IV bags and ointments.
“They were trained by our faculty on how to check patients' blood glucose levels and perform a patient physical assessment by taking a heart rate, a blood pressure and listening to heart and lung sounds,” said Kim Benner, professor of pharmacy practice at Samford and one of the camp’s directors. “The students were also taken to our CHS simulation floor where they were able to practice CPR and perform physical assessments on our mannequin simulators and practice calculating medication administration concentration and flow rates.”
In the past, campers have visited local pharmacies and healthcare facilities, but despite not being able to go in person this year due to COVID-19, they were able to watch virtual tours and hear from pharmacists about their careers.
“We had several of our faculty who practice at local hospitals and clinics come present to our campers showing pictures of their site, illustrating common patient cases they encounter and showing some common tools we might use to teach patients how to use medications appropriately,” Benner said. “We also had some local pharmacists, all alums of our program, provide a live Zoom into their pharmacy and showed the campers what their pharmacists do to improve patient health.”
Students also listened to presentations by faculty on the history of pharmacy, careers in pharmacy, how drugs are made, and other helpful tips on applying to pharmacy school as well as needed prerequisites and available financial aid.
Current McWhorter School of Pharmacy students served as counselors while Jonathan Parker, director of pharmacy admission, served as the co-director. Katie Boyd, assistant professor of pharmacy, also helped with the lab exercises and virtual pharmacy visits. Several other faculty members from the College of Health Sciences assisted throughout the week, too.