So much for “Spring”!

While we await the end of this never ending winter much of our time has been spent indoors, so we have made the most of it!

A few weeks ago I attended the Minnesota Society of Health Systems Pharmacist’s 2014 Annual Conference. I had a wonderful time; it was nice to brake the monogamy of classes and the conference offered some unique and rewarding experiences. The conference was held at the beautiful River Center in St. Paul right next to the Excel Energy Center. There were many great lectures from topics on bacterial pneumonia to newly approved drugs. Also, there was a student speed networking session that allowed students to pick the brains of pharmacists in different areas including residencies, infectious disease, industry, administrative pharmacy, and critical care to name a few. There was also a residency research showcase that was a great resource to see what types of research pharmacy residents are doing and gave me great ideas for my own poster/future presentations.

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Since we are still waiting for the sun to come out we have had our family fun return to the Children’s Museum and some other fun indoor playgrounds near campus.

Baby Madi is also causing chaos with her recent crawling/standing/generalized trouble making and Kaiden is all ready for kindergarten next year!

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 Till next time!

Going out with a bang!

So what have I been up to during my LAST SEMESTER OF CLASSES EVER?

Besides the normal busy work that classes, working, and organizational clubs come with I have been working vigorously on my Pharm D. IV Research Project. I am conducting a retrospective study comparing two protocols used to treat a variety of cancers in patients at Fairview. It has been a very busy process with IRB, study design, and the literature review. I hope to finish the project within the next few months and hopefully be able to publish the results within the year. I get to work with a couple of our Oncology Pharmacist’s as well as learn a lot more about statistical software than I ever thought I would!

Besides this I have been trying to make sure I am as ready as possible for rotations. I cannot believe I start rotations in 4 months! I am very nervous, but very excited! I am very pleased with how the rotation selection process worked out and I got most of the areas I was interested in. Here are my rotations as a sample for what you may expect. I will say this varies greatly by what you select as your preferences. I know my fellow classmates that are interested more in ambulatory or retail have very different looking rotations.

Oncology- Minnesota Oncology/Hematology

Rural/Community- Big Lake, MN

Acute Care- North Memorial Medical Center

Ambulatory Care- Hennepin County Medical Center

Elective-Intro to Academia, U of M College of Pharmacy

Emergency Medicine/Toxicology- Regions Hospital

Elective Institutional- Bethesda Hospital

Other exciting news! The light rail  which stops right outside the College of Pharmacy has had it’s practice runs going!

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So excited for when this actually gets running!

Till next time!

What is third year like?

Busy. Exciting. Nerve-racking.

One aspect of third year I have enjoyed is the content we are covering in our coursework. This semester we have spent time thus far on cancer, neurology, respiratory disorders, and infectious diseases.

Outside of coursework 3rd year is about getting ready for our 4th year rotations. We are in the midst of putting our preferences in for our APPE’s (Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences). It is very exciting/stressful trying to decide what rotations hold the highest value to you. I think it is a great opportunity to see parts of pharmacy I may never get to see again and to decide if I can see myself in that setting one day. Coming from the inpatient hospital perspective I am excited to see other institutions and how practice may differ there; but I am also excited to explore ambulatory care and see how my personality fits. Here is the bottom line about APPE’s:

  • Nine 5-week blocks (except block 6 and 7 are scheduled over 6 weeks; one week off/for interviews etc.)
  • One block off you get to pick
  • 2 required acute care blocks, 1 required ambulatory care block, 1 required community block, 1 required patient care block, 3 electives
  • At least one block must be in a rural Minnesota location
  • Plenty of reviews available to help with selection process

Third year also involves getting your Pharm D. IV paper/project figured out; but that is a whole blog in itself.

Happy Holidays!

MSHP Midyear Clinical Meeting

Third year has been a blur, it seems like the to do list is always getting longer!  A couple of weeks ago I attended the MSHP (Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacist) Midyear Clinical meeting. This was my first professional meeting and I had an amazing time. I really enjoyed the educational lectures which touched on many topics from the newer anticoagulants to advice for pharmacy students for residency/job interviews. Plus the food was just amazing!

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Another awesome part about this meeting was the residency showcase which allows you to go around and learn about a lot of the programs from around our area and is a great opportunity to network with a TON of people.

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It is always nice to see familiar faces as well, hospital pharmacy is quite a small world. It was especially nice to see all the old UMMC-Fairview interns from classes above me who are doing residencies at Abbott Northwestern and Mayo Clinic! Meetings are definitely a nice break from school and gives you a  little perspective!

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The Last Summer of All Time

My last year of classes has begun! It has gone incredibly fast, but I am so excited to finish coursework and get out into practice.

What does a 2nd/3rd year pharmacy student do during their summer break?

This summer (being possibly my last summer ever!?) was quite amazing. I started my summer off with my IPPE (Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience) a three week rotation at United Hospital in Saint Paul. I had the most amazing experience shadowing a different pharmacist in nearly every area of practice every day, conducting a huge research project as part of my safety project, working on various other projects,  and one of the coolest experiences of my life was watching an open heart/aortic valve replacement literally right in front of me (geeking out)!!! I was lucky enough to have one of our Duluth counterparts Kauchee on rotation with me which made it extra enjoyable! A special thanks to Dr. Mandt and the entire Pharmacy Dept. at United hospital!

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My project and presentation!

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Kauchee and I with our preceptor.

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Only about a week after my rotation we were back at United Hospital…. For the birth of our baby girl!

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After that the rest of summer was spent working at the hospital (with Dustin/fellow blogger!) before ending summer with a family vacation back to Colorado and California (of course Disneyland!).

Yeah, that's Mcqueen.

Yeah, that’s Mcqueen.

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Go Broncos!

We got back just in time to start this next semester. Third year should be full of fun activities, professional meetings, and classes!

Until next time!

Is that the sun?

When the sun finally comes out it is time to skip class for an adventure to the zoo and  the children’s museum! Another amazing part of having our classes recorded is I don’t have to miss out on any lectures when my son is sick, his daycare is cancelled,or we simply need a family day every now and then! 2013-04-20 14.00.342013-04-20 13.22.31

Captain Kaiden mapping out our journey!

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Dad, I’m on MTV!

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Second year: Electives, opportunities, and snow days!

This last week was crazy with the weather, exams and lots of due dates! As we start to see the finish line I reflect on this past year and realize how much I enjoyed 2nd year! This semester in particular has been quite amazing. Many of the classes have been quite eye-opening and very interesting. This semester for my electives I took Pharmacogenomics as well as the Honors Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology Seminar, both of which I highly recommend. The seminar courses offered at the COP are incredibly interesting with each class you get to learn about different research going on within the college that you otherwise might have not had any idea about! It’s a great opportunity to learn about the research process as well as to interact with professors and researchers. It still amazes me that we get to have discussions about amazing research with the very people are conducting this research. I have been profoundly impressed with the high level of research that is done all throughout the college.

Also congrats to third years (especially Tranpharmers!) who got their white coats! As well as to the numerous 4th years who matched! We had a 79% match rate,much  higher than the national average!

This was Friday on campus… ridiculous!

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Spring is here! (well almost)

It has been a very busy past few weeks and with the sun peering through the skies everyone is getting spring fever! While many students enjoyed spring break trips and some relaxation I pulled a 56 hour week at the hospital over the break.   This past weekend we also had an MPSA health fair at a local church where we got to educate and offer various free health screenings for our local community.

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This was only a few days ago (Minnesota spring break!)

In other news we got our IPPE rotation sites for this summer! I am excited to say I will be spending my first few weeks of summer at United hospital in St. Paul the same hospital we are delivering the baby at only a few weeks later (guess if she decides to come early I’ll be there right?).  We have a couple more health fairs coming up and various events around campus so I will post some more pictures soon!

Weekends in the inpatient

Busy weekend saving lives making some drugs!

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Pharmacy School Application Process: A Systematic Review of the Chaos

Seeing the nervous interviewees around the College of Pharmacy brings back the memories that seem so far away but were really only two years ago! I remember the entire pharmacy school application process was incredibly busy and stressful. I ended up flying all over the country from California (twice), Arizona, Colorado, and Minnesota and got lots of interview practice. Here are some tips for the process as well as some of the reasons I chose to come to Minnesota.

Application: START EARLY! I remember many of my undergraduate friends frantically trying to get all the pieces for their application in on time. It did not work out well for many of them. Particularly, I would start developing relationships with people as early as possible for letters of recommendation. I found people from both my job and professors. I believe it is more important what the person says about you than who the person saying them is.

Interview: Practice, practice, practice. I remember I would have mock interviews in the shower quite frequently (ya it interfered with my singing, but probably worth it). The most important part of the interview in my mind was letting them know who I was as a person and explaining why I wanted to care for patients. Another little hint is that many schools will give you the name of the person interviewing you the day of your interview. This is a great chance to bust out the smartphone for a little internet search (or many professors have information hung around the hallways). This way you can bring up topics that your interviewer is interested in and it will also make it look as though you are incredibly interested in the program. Most of all be yourself and connect with your interviewers as people.

Decision time: I know for me once I got my first acceptance I was so excited and happy, but as more came in and deadlines for deposits started coming  it became evident that I would have to make an incredibly hard decision. One bit of advice for any of you who may come into this problem is if you call and ask for extensions on deposits most programs will give you a little room. In the end, my family and I decided moving to the Twin Cities was the best choice for us for several reasons:

1. The campus- I had never seen the U of M campus but while I visited for my interview I was blown away. The Academic Health Center, as well as the U of M campus as a whole are beautiful with plenty of places to keep busy no matter what you are into.

2. The faculty- The world renowned faculty and innovators in the profession gave me confidence that I would receive the best education here.

3. The progressive nature of pharmacy in Minnesota- I wanted to be part of the evolution of Pharmacy and see it from the front lines. In fact many of the residencies I had been looking at before pharmacy school had many of their residents graduate from the U of M

4. Minnesota- A great place to raise a family, good education, seasons, good public transportation/traffic, and a relatively low cost of living (compared to some other places).

Looking back I often wonder what it would be like if I had chosen to attend a different school, or live in a different state, but I am confident that I made the right decision. If you have any questions about the process or any specifics feel free to ask!

In other big news…. It’s a girl!

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Doesn’t my son look SOOOOO excited? HAHA