Every day, pharmacists have to deal with all different types of people. They have to care for people of different religions, educational levels, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds, living in rural areas and living in inner cities. It is a challenging situation.
Pharmacy schools have developed programs to help expose students to the variety of people they will encounter in their jobs, so the students will be better prepared to care for them. Here are some of the things they are doing.
Helping the Homeless
Pharmacy students in Southern California are working with the homeless population in Los Angeles to encourage them to take care of their health problems. The students deliver care packages to the homeless, containing such items as toothbrushes and toothpaste, sanitary pads, and clothing. Included in each package is a note from a student offering further help. They hope such packages will spark a conversation with the homeless about their healthcare.
In the Pittsburgh area, pharmacy students help operate an outreach program for children with asthma. Almost one-fourth of the children in this area have asthma, which is well above the national average of 7.5 percent. The pharmacy school at Duquesne University has developed a program for screening children in the city’s schools to determine if they have asthma and then put them in touch with the healthcare resources they need for treatment. The pharmacy students help to administer the program and talk to parents about their children’s condition.
The pharmacy school also works with federally-funded health centers to operate asthma clinics in schools around the pharmacy college. Clinical pharmacists meet with children throughout the school day to help them manage their condition, make any needed changes to medications, and inform primary care physicians of the changes.
Pharmacy students work with the clinical pharmacists to help counsel the students and their parents about things like inhaler techniques and keeping up with treatment plans.
Urban vs. Rural
In an effort to acquaint students with people from different geographical areas, two pharmacy schools – one in an urban setting, the other rural — have developed an exchange program. Each year, students from the University of Wyoming School of Pharmacy travel to the Howard University School of Pharmacy in Washington, D.C., and vice versa. The students from Wyoming learn about the healthcare systems of an inner-city, while the Howard students learn about healthcare resources in a rural area.
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