Office of Experiential Services
The Office of Experiential Services at the College of Pharmacy is designed to provide each WSU student pharmacist the opportunity to be mentored by practicing pharmacists and other healthcare professionals in a wide variety of practice settings.
Student pharmacists will be expected to apply what they have learned in the classroom to real-life patients and real-world situations. The knowledge, professional judgment and skills obtained during these hands-on experiences will provide the necessary foundation required for a lifetime of responsible service in the pharmacy profession.
During the first three years of the Doctor of Pharmacy program, each student pharmacist will be expected to complete over 300 hours of non-paid experiential learning opportunities. This includes service learning and community outreach activities during the fall and spring semesters within classroom and lab based courses, as well as the following Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations during the summer:
- Summer after First Professional Year (P1)
Three-week Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) rotation in a community pharmacy setting
- Summer after Second Professional Year (P2)
Three-week IPPE rotation in a hospital/health-systems pharmacy setting
The IPPE community and hospital rotations are scheduled during the summer months in a variety of practice sites geographically dispersed across the State of Washington. These IPPE and service learning opportunities provide the initial exposure to professional pharmacy settings that will prepare you to get the most out of the final year of the program, which consists entirely of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) rotations.
Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE)
The APPE rotations are unlike any other didactic course or IPPE rotation student pharmacists have experienced in the pharmacy curriculum. These rotations are intense, concentrated and highly experiential; meaning, student pharmacists will be faced with many real problems involving the care of actual patients under the supervision of a WSU preceptor which may include WSU College of Pharmacy faculty members, adjunct faculty members, volunteer preceptors and practitioners.
Furthermore, a significant portion of the fourth year focuses on a way of thinking—a process of integrating, applying, recognizing, and arriving at decisions that are equally, if not more, important than remembering specific facts about a given disease, drug or product.
Student pharmacists will be expected to be actively involved and take ownership of their own learning process. Those who put a great deal of energy and effort into the experience will gain a great deal more than a student pharmacist who takes a passive approach.
The Office of Experiential Services fully supports student success, and strives to ensure all APPE rotations provide the necessary foundation for the student pharmacists’ desired career path.
The Office of Experiential Services has established a network of quality and unique practice sites geographically and strategically dispersed across the State of Washington. Student pharmacists will have the opportunity to preference their preferred geographical location to complete the majority (if not all) APPE rotations. The Office of Experiential Services cannot guarantee all student pharmacists will receive their preferred geographical location but can offer exceptional and diverse learning opportunities within the following geographical locations: Spokane, Pullman, Tri-Cities/Walla Walla, Yakima, Wenatchee, Olympia, Seattle/Tacoma, and northern California.
While specific rotations cannot be guaranteed, each student pharmacist is able to preference their desired rotation schedule. The majority of rotations assigned have been preferenced by the student pharmacist. The Office of Experiential Services fully supports student success, and strives to ensure all APPE rotations provide the necessary foundation for the student pharmacists’ desired career path. It is our goal to make sure student pharmacists are satisfied with their schedule while also meeting programmatic requirements and the placement needs of our valued practice sites within the established geographical location network.
Student pharmacists will be required to complete a minimum of 1440 APPE hours of non-paid experience which includes a total of six 6-week rotations with an option to complete a seventh rotation if the student pharmacist desires to do so. APPE rotation requirements consist of the following:
- 1 – Acute Care (in-patient/internal medicine)
- 1 – Institutional/Health-System
- 1- Ambulatory Care
- 1 – Community Practice
- 2 (or 3) – Elective (patient or non-patient care)
Practice sites will fluctuate in the type of experience they provide. In fact, student pharmacists may be surprised how different their learning experiences are from student to student and preceptor to preceptor at the various sites. Despite these differences, there are many common skills required throughout the APPE rotations the College of Pharmacy expects each student pharmacist to perform and master in order to be successful and maximize each learning experience. The student pharmacist will be assessed (at a minimum) two times in the form of a midpoint and final evaluation during each rotation under the following global outcome categories to track progression and competency levels: knowledge application, professionalism, communication, patient care and management of systems.
In addition, each preceptor and student pharmacist is encouraged to create site-specific learning objectives that highlight the unique aspects of a given experience and individual student interests. Student pharmacists evaluate their assigned preceptor and practice site for ongoing quality and compliance.
The WSU College of Pharmacy offers international rotations in Ecuador, Peru, Vietnam, and Wales!
Third year student pharmacists will be given the opportunity to set up a maximum of two elective rotations outside the established network of approved practice sites during their fourth year if they so choose. This option will allow student pharmacists to explore different practice settings and prospective employment opportunities closer to home or in desired geographical locations inside or even outside the State of Washington. Student pharmacists who decide to pursue this option will be expected to adhere to all required steps within the process of setting up a new practice site. The Office of Experiential Services reserves the right to deny any new practice site if the site and preceptor(s) do not meet required programmatic standards, affiliation agreement requirements and/or the student pharmacist fails to adhere to all required steps within the process. Student pharmacists will not be allowed to individually set up an international rotation, but would be eligible to participate in the following international rotation opportunities offered through the College of Pharmacy:
International and camp rotations are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities provided through the Office of Experiential Services. These unique rotations allow student pharmacists the opportunity within their fourth professional year to experience the practice of pharmacy in diverse cultural and clinical settings.
These learning opportunities require interested third year student pharmacists to submit a formal application as well as participate in an interview with members from the Office of Experiential Services, faculty and international/camp organization. The majority of our international and camp rotations consist of interprofessional learning opportunities which allow our student pharmacists the ability to work closely with students, faculty and healthcare providers from different healthcare disciplines such as nursing, medicine and dentistry. Informational meetings will be offered during the third professional year so interested student pharmacists can receive detailed information about specific requirements, deadlines and rotation experience.
The Office of Experiential Services is committed to offering quality learning experiences while taking the appropriate steps to maximize safety of our student pharmacists during these learning experiences.
Currently the following international and camp experiences are being offered but can be subject to change:
The goal of this rotation is to provide an intercultural pharmacy experience encompassing medical, social and humanitarian issues. Each student pharmacist becomes an integral part of a medical team consisting of various backgrounds including: medicine, nursing and pharmacy to provide care to those with limited or no access to care and medications in rural regions within Ecuador.
Adventures in the Amazon (People For Peru) – This is a joint experience between the College of Nursing and College of Pharmacy through an organization called People for Peru. The goal of this rotation is to provide an experience for both nursing and pharmacy student by assessing and implementing global community health through nursing AND pharmacy services to the people and communities in the Amazon region of Peru
Vietnam Health Clinic (VHC) is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving health care services and access to the underserved population of Vietnam. The foundation of VHC’s mission is based upon the belief of equal opportunity healthcare for all. The fourth year pharmacy student will participate as a member of an interdisciplinary medical team made up of pre-and professional health students and doctors in a synergistic effort to provide the necessary knowledge and training to minimize health disparities in Vietnam.
Fourth year student pharmacists assigned to this international rotation will be exposed to all aspects of community pharmacy practiced in the UK including National Health Service, reimbursement mechanisms, NHS contracts, prescription pricing bureau, professional organizations. The community pharmacy is part of the Co-Op chain and located in Cardiff (the capital of Wales) about two and a half hours by train west of London.
Camp STIX is an independent, community-based, summer camp located in Northeastern Washington for children and teens, from the Pacific Northwest, living with diabetes. The camp is held at Riverview Bible Camp on the Pend Oreille River near Cusick, Washington. The medical team consists of individuals with different backgrounds such as: physicians, CDE (certified diabetes educators), NP, PA, pharmacists, student pharmacists, registered dietitians (RD), and any other volunteers or family members willing to help. Counselors and health staff provide guidance for many campers, but it’s the overall atmosphere of love and the friendships that are developed which become such an integral part of a support system that many young diabetic patients need. The purpose of the medical staff member is to serve as a mediator and mentor for the campers as well as be assigned to different med stations where diabetes and general medical care is provided.
“My favorite part about my current position is interacting with pharmacy students. Their passion and excitement for the future of the profession is inspiring.”
– Kimberly McKeirnan, Clinical Assistant Professor
In an effort to help support and prepare students interested in pursuing a residency or post-graduation training, the Office of Experiential Services has recently established a block scheduling process which will allow the fourth year student pharmacists to complete the majority of their rotations within a single hospital/health system setting while being exposed to and working with current residents, residency preceptors and directors. Rotations will be scheduled in a preferred sequence which builds upon more general and foundational rotations and progresses to more advanced clinical rotations. The opportunity to network, as well as gain valuable experience within this type of pharmacy practice environment, will help prepare our students to attain their desired residency/post-graduate training opportunities. These learning opportunities require an interested third year student pharmacist to submit a formal application as well as participate in an interview with members of the Office of Experiential Services and pharmacy administrators from the practice site.