The USC School of Pharmacy’s annual Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE) Fair, held at the Harry and Celeste Pappas Quad on September 14, 2018, gave third-year PharmD students an opportunity to meet with more than 100 preceptors from over 70 sites and learn about various available APPE rotations.
The PharmD program’s fourth year is entirely experiential, with students completing six, six-week APPEs that help them develop the competencies essential to the pharmacist’s expanding role as a health care provider.
Ying Wang, interim associate director of Professional Experience Programs, notes the fair is an “exciting moment” for PharmD students because it signifies the initial planning stages for their final year of pharmacy school. “The fair gives our students exposure to a variety of experiences,” Wang said. “Since the role of a pharmacist is always evolving, we want to prepare students for those changes by expanding the breadth of APPE rotations available to them each year.”
The 2018 APPE Fair convened preceptors from a wide range of locations across Southern California, including Kaiser Permanente, Allergan, Cedars-Sinai, Blue Shield of California, LAC+USC Medical Center, CVS, Ralphs, and USC sites such as the five USC Pharmacy locations and Keck Medicine of USC.
At the fair, Scott Takahashi, PharmD ’89, presented 13 APPEs he oversees at Kaiser Permanente, from rotations in pediatric ambulatory care to drug use management. “I’ve been a preceptor since 1990,” said Takahashi, an ambulatory care pharmacist. “I do it every year because it keeps you current, and it’s important to mentor the next generation of pharmacists that’s filling your shoes.”
For third-year student Daniel Cho, the APPE Fair was an opportunity to “talk to preceptors and narrow down a career path.”
“I’m learning a lot from this fair about different pharmacy settings and getting a clearer picture of what my final year of pharmacy school will look like,” Cho said.
The USC School of Pharmacy pioneered experiential learning for PharmD students in the late 1960s and today remains an innovator in preparing students for pharmacy practice in a wide variety of settings.
During the first three years of the PharmD program, each student completes approximately 300 hours of experiential learning. Years one and two include experiences in the community and hospital pharmacy settings. During the third year, students choose electives that further broaden their knowledge in an area of special relevance to their chosen career path. By the time they finish the PharmD program, students have completed a minimum of 1,740 hours of experiential learning.
In addition to required APPEs, students are encouraged to explore rotations available in nuclear pharmacy, the pharmaceutical industry, nontraditional pharmacies and international pharmacies through the School’s affiliations in countries including Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Ireland and Korea.