Thank you so much for choosing to spend a few minutes of your Saturday with me! For those new to Around the Grove, my name’s Quynh. I’m a third-year student pharmacist at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy at USG. I had such a great time blogging last year, that I decided to come back for round two!

Although it’s officially fall, I’m not quite ready to let go of summer yet. So, this post is all about my two Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) in June and July, both of which I feel incredibly fortunate to have had. In the pharmacy program, during our P2 year, we have the opportunity to rank the community (retail or independent pharmacy setting) and hospital IPPEs we’re interested in. From there, it’s sort of a lottery process that decides our fate.

Somehow, the stars aligned for me and I ended up with two wonderful IPPE rotations. The first one was at Global Health Pharmacy, a locally owned independent pharmacy in Howard County, Maryland. At Global Health, I did a ton of bubble packing (aka putting together blister packs), practiced point-of-care blood glucose testing, conducted blood pressure screenings for group home residents, and delivered a case presentation on sepsis. My preceptor, Dr. Peter Mbi, kept me on my toes with daily drug and disease state quiz questions. My favorite part about this rotation, though, was the people. The pharmacists, technicians, and students that I met were all so friendly – they made what would have been a great rotation an amazing one.


From left to right: Madame Odile (Certified Pharmacy Technician), Me, Grace Chu (P3 student), Grace Kim (P4 student), Dr. Peter Mbi (Clinical Pharmacist), Constance Ambele (P3 student), Dr. Rachel Park (Clinical Pharmacist)

After four weeks at Global Health Pharmacy, I had a one week break and then it was off to MedStar Montgomery Medical Center for my hospital IPPE. Never having worked in a hospital pharmacy before (except for a bit of volunteering in college), I was grateful that my preceptor and the hospital’s Clinical Pharmacy Coordinator, Dr. Courtney Hoffman, allowed me plenty of opportunities to shadow both pharmacists and technicians so that I could get a better understanding of the pharmacy workflow. I also had the opportunity to go on rounds, sit in on meetings, interact with patients, and deliver a topic presentation to pharmacists. It was great being able to apply some of the things I had learned in my therapeutics courses to actual patient cases.

Although I consider myself lucky to have been “matched” with these two rotations, I have to say that the site/preceptor is only half of what makes a successful rotation, clinical experience, or internship. The other half is really the student – a positive attitude, willingness to learn and accept constructive feedback, and desire to get the most we can out of the experience really makes all the difference!

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