My APPE Experience

I am Mahya Haji Mahmoudi, final year PharmD student who will graduate in November 2018. I hereby share my experiences which I gained through my 35 weeks of Advance Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE). During the past 35 weeks I had gone through seven rotations namely Pharmaceutical Industry, Community Pharmacy, Cardiology, Infectious Diseases, Inpatient Hospital Pharmacy Practice, Adult Acute Pharmaceutical Care and Drug Information, each encompassing 5 weeks.

In Drug Information rotation, I came to know about the role and responsibilities of Drug and Therapeutics Committee, how to search for authentic information through different search engines and where to look for the drug and health information answers. The online resources such as Micromedex, Access Pharmacy, Access Medicine and other databases available through GMU-elibrary were very useful for me.  I have answered several queries which helped me to learn new information. Initially, I could answer 2-3 queries a day which took 1-2 hours for each but as I practiced more, I was able to answer more than queries a day and became faster in giving the response like 10 minutes to one hour.

Being in Julphar Pharmaceutical Industry even as an observant was a pleasure. I learnt about regulatory affairs team and their role, functions of Engineering department, Research and Development unit and Store (and its management). I went to many other departments of which the most departments I liked and were interesting to me were Research and Development (also known as Product Development Laboratory), Quality control and Quality assurance. The Research and Development department had different sections for new products (basically if ingredients are purchased from new supplier) and stability of current medication. I had the thought of continuing my Masters and PhD education in Pharmaceutics which was finalized after this rotation; this rotation clarified my skills, interests and area of strength (as well as areas to be improved).

In Community Pharmacy Practice rotation, I learned what a licensed pharmacist should do while working in a community pharmacy. I checked for expiry dates of all products and separate them; also made an excel spread sheet and entered all relevant information regarding expiry management. I checked whether the new stocks match the information available in the paper and then attached the barcode on them and arranged them in the shelves. Also, I learnt how to work with Thumbay Pharmacy Inventory Management software like checking for stocks available in other branches and how to place an inter branch transfer (IBT). I also had the chance to place IBT for some medications and sent medication asked from other branches, of course under the supervision of my preceptor who was the community pharmacist.  I learnt and got approval from few insurance companies for those patients came in with prescription. Moreover, I had the chance to deal with over-the-counter medications based on patients’ complaints and their comorbidities and counselled the patients on how to use their medications. In the third week of this rotation, I came up with smoking cessation and body mass index calculation as a part of my Extended Community Pharmacy Activity in which I had 35 participants who successfully reduced the number of cigarette smoked per day and 25 of them who followed healthy diet and started exercise and lost more than 2-5 kgs in the remaining weeks while I was in the pharmacy.

I started my clinical rotations after completing the three rotations (Drug information, Community Pharmacy and Julphar)  which was very difficult for me as I had less idea on how to systematically screen cases, detect adverse drug reaction or medication errors and how to interact with patients  and other  healthcare professionals. However, as time passed I overcame these issues and interacted with physicians for correction or any actions to be taken. Interactions with other healthcare professionals during drug therapy intervention and routine ward rounds enabled me to learn from their experiences to help patients which are not available in text books. I learnt that communicating with different patients requires different approach. I learnt to understand their behavior once taking their medication history or at first sight to know how I should start the conversation and promote them a healthy lifestyle and to be compliant to their medications. Furthermore, I followed many cases and presented 3 cases in each of the clinical rotations which I had to do self-study to gain extra knowledge.

Moreover, I was nominated as College of Pharmacy student to participate in 3rd group of Inter-Professional Education (IPE) conducted at Thumbay Hospital, Ajman, which was the best experience. To be honest, it was difficult to meet with some of my fellow students from other disciplines and to prepare our slides. But, the outcome of this group work was ultimately amazing and I started appreciating the importance of teamwork and expertise in managing each and every patient.

Overall, I developed excellent communication and self-learning skills in APPE and gained much new information which was not available in text books and PowerPoint lecture notes.