UH Hilo College of Pharmacy prepares to expand experiential training to O`ahu, Maui

May 27, 2009

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo College of Pharmacy offered its second annual Spring Preceptor training in April and May on Oʻahu and Maui to student mentors in the pharmaceutical profession. This marks the first time Pharmacy students from Hilo will be able to receive the experiential phase of their education off the Big Island.

More than 60 preceptors came from the major hospitals such as The Queens Medical Center, Kaiser Permanente, Kapiolani Women and Children’s, Pali Momi Medical Center, Castle Medical Center and Maui Memorial Hospital.

The training prepared the preceptor to receive the third-year class in a two-week clinical pharmacy/hospital rotation. The rotation is part of the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience, which is a major portion of their work toward earning their doctorate in pharmacy, also called a Pharm.D.

"Students in their first and second years have received experience in local health care facilities, such as Hilo Medical Center, the retail stores in Hilo, Hale Anuenue Restorative Care Center and in the Veterans Administration long-term care home," said Carolyn Ma, chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice. "Support on the Big Island has been amazing. The experiential training will give students more options to consider when they see additional facets of the pharmacy profession on the other islands."

In 2007, the College of Pharmacy seated its first class, which will be preparing to enter its third year of study in Hilo this fall. During their first year of study, students gained retail and hospital experience by observing pharmacists, nurses and physicians with patients, learning about drugs and gaining some patient contact skills. In their second year, students become more comfortable with patients, and can take blood pressure as well as give immunizations.

Third-year experiences will help students to become even more comfortable with patient interview skills and the various components of pharmacy practice in the acute hospital setting. The experience will help to prepare the students and the preceptor for the more extensive Advanced Pharmacy Practice rotations that will comprise the entire curriculum for the fourth and final year, which the first class will begin in 2010.

"Virtually every possible pharmacy practice site in the State of Hawaiʻi is involved in our experiential program during the four years of experiential curriculum," Ma said. "The support from the pharmacy community has been tremendous."

See more news from 2009.