OU’s Introductory Pharmacy Course Faces COVID-19 Challenges

Mark McMills, a professor at Ohio University, wants students in his Introductory Pharmacy course to come to one of two conclusions.

“I want a student to say, ‘Oh my God, I hate this stuff so much’ and they don’t want to do it,” McMills said. Or, they say, ‘I love it so much that I can’t imagine doing anything else in my life. “”

McMills teaches this course alongside Sarah Adkins, a Doctor of Pharmacy who works with both the College of Pharmacy at Ohio State University and Heritage College of the OU of Osteopathic Medicine. Together, they are shaping the next generation of pharmacists.

The OU’s pre-pharmacy program is hosted in the College of Arts and Sciences. Students in the program are required to take courses in chemistry, biology, mathematics, and physics. Obtaining the pre-pharmacy degree puts students on the right track to attend pharmacy school and eventually become a Doctor of Pharmacy.

In collaboration with the OSU, pre-pharmacy students at the OU may be admitted to an early insurance program. If OU students successfully complete the OU’s four-year pre-pharmacy program, then they are automatically accepted into the OSU’s Doctor of Pharmacy program.

For this reason, a large number of OU pre-pharmacy students continue their pharmacy studies at OSU.

This inter-university collaboration was made possible by a grant as well as the work of OU professor Marty Tuck and OSU professor Ken Hale.

Over the years, the program has grown and adapted, undergoing structural and leadership changes. Most of the transitions went smoothly. McMills describes the process of Adkins assuming Hale’s co-teaching role in the Introductory Pharmacy course as “seamless”.

However, COVID-19 has brought a new set of challenges to the pre-pharmacy program at OU. Professors have found the transition to online education ineffective for their students.

The Introductory Pharmacy course typically contains presentations from a number of lecturers in various health fields, allowing students to understand the breadth of the field they will enter. Online, however, these presentations have lost some of their importance. Looking at blank screens on his computer, McMills wondered how much students were actually making from classes, which he felt was “problematic.”

Therefore, due to the challenges associated with the virtual teaching of the course, as well as the budgetary uncertainty associated with the pandemic, the decision was made not to offer the OU’s Introductory Pharmacy Course. spring semester.

“We’re going to wait and drop a year before we offer it again,” McMills said.

Since the course is largely taken by first year and second year students interested in the pre-pharmacy route, at this time, graduate students will not be affected by this change.

Despite these educational barriers related to COVID-19, McMills and Adkins still find their profession rewarding and useful.

For McMills, teaching pharmacy is more than a job.

“It was an amazing way to help students achieve their destiny,” said McMills.

Likewise, Adkins enjoys watching his students progress in their studies and enter the field of pharmacy in a professional manner.

“I’ve seen them graduate, I’ve seen them go into practice, and I’ve seen them change the field of pharmacy,” Adkins said. “It’s actually very, very cool.”

Brianne Porter is an OU graduate student, went on to study pharmacy at OSU, and then entered the field. Porter is now a pharmacist and faculty member at the Ohio State University College of Pharmacy.

A 2010 OU graduate, Porter still appreciates the information she learned from taking the Introductory Pharmacy course.

“The most vivid memory I have was learning about all the different contexts in which pharmacists can practice,” Porter said in an email. “I had always imagined that a pharmacist was someone who worked at CVS or Walgreens, but I remember hearing about pharmacists working in nuclear medicine, pharmacists helping insurance companies determine the most effective drugs. to have on their forms, pharmacists working with teams of doctors to determine the best courses of therapy for critically ill patients in the hospital, and so on. It was very inspiring to know that this was an area that offered so many opportunities beyond what the layman imagines a pharmacist to do.



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