Published on November 4, 2019 by Sarah Waller  

In a one-week course, third-year Doctor of Pharmacy students in Samford University’s McWhorter School of Pharmacy administered 7,373 influenza vaccines to patients in the community. This total equates to, on average, 68 vaccines per student. 

This work was done in coordination through the school’s introductory pharmacy practice experience, or IPPE, for third year students. With each year of the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum, students complete an IPPE with a specific focus. For third-year students, the course is focused on public health in the community pharmacy setting.

The experience follows the training that students completed in their coursework related to immunizations, physical assessment, medication management, and drug therapy vaccines, and it challenges them to utilize their knowledge and skills. 

“Through this whole experience, we want our students to understand the importance of pharmacy’s role in public health,” said Dee Thomason, professor and assistant director for experiential education. “But even more than that, we want them to gain the experience and confidence to be practice-ready before they graduate.” 

The outcomes from the week does not end with the vaccine count. Over the course of six days, students also provided care to the public by administering 444 patient physical assessments (which includes tests like blood pressure checks), 522 self-care counseling and 1,869 medication therapy management encounters.

 “While these numbers are impressive in themselves, the impact on these patients’ lives is even greater,” Thomason said.

One hundred and twenty-two students participated in this course with the involvement of 30 community partners including chain and independent pharmacies. The course began on a Friday and continued throughout the next week. Each student worked a total of 48 hours. 

“Our introductory pharmacy practice experiences are a critical aspect of our program, and they help students be practice-ready as they transition into the final year consisting of advanced practice experiences ,” said Michael Crouch, dean of McWhorter School of Pharmacy. “I’m so thankful for our community partners that help make this experience happen.”