Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The End is Near: CPR/Immunization Training, Rotations, and other Pharmacy School Updates

The end is so close I can already see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Feels like just yesterday that my pharmacy class and myself included were sitting in the two-day-long pharmacy school orientation, a bit nervous but also a really excited to be starting professional school...which as they warned us and prepared us...was a whole world of a difference from undergraduate college...and even a whole lot different form grad school.
They talked about adjusting to the very fast-paced quarter system as well as the challenging curriculum of Chicago College of Pharmacy. They advised us to stay organized, to work ahead, to be prepared, and to not get into bad sleeping habits. Turned out bad sleeping habits are inevitable in pharmacy school. Especially during your first and second year, when you literally have two exams per week, every.single.week and you still have to attend all of your lectures all day every day Monday-Friday. And most of us work at pharmacies on weekends because work experience is really where 50% of your learning comes from and what helps you put into practice what you just learned in the classroom and thus take it from short term memory that came from cramming for that last exam to long-term memory because somebody just asked you about something and you were able to answer and were quite impressed with yourself ....and you always tend to remember your successes and proud moments BEST...because...well...we all have a little bit of an ego as human beings, right? (that was a huge run-on sentence, by the was a long train of thought).

Feels like just yesterday I made these cute little double colored white and purple suppositories from scratch in pharmacy school compounding lab. It was important to get the right amount of medication and blend it with the right amount of glycerin...or whatever the inactive ingredient was (I'm pretty sure it was glycerin)...and make them nice round-shaped and smooth...because..well, they go up your butt and thus must be gentle.

Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy Compounding Laboratory
Downers Grove, IL

That was the first quarter of P-1 (first year)...and now it's the last quarter of P-3 aka last quarter of didactic learning EVER.... After this quarter...the school lets the birds fly out of the nest and experience real life medical situations in various clinical, hospital, industrial, ambulatory care, retail sites etc.

Feels like just yesterday we got to play with IV piggy back bags...into which we injected different medications in a sterile IV "Clean Room"...with humongous 25 gauge needles...after checking that the medications were compatible with each other in one IV bag, of course...because that's what pharmacists are good at.

Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy IV Sterile Lab
Downers Grove, IL

And now the fun is coming to an end!
Real life is about to begin.
But before that...

Some more fun awaits me tomorrow!
Tomorrow, I get to play with needles on real human beings!
How absolutely scary!

There is a reason why I went into pharmacy school instead of medical or nursing school!!!!!!
BLOOD. Touching human bodies. Gross smells. Etc etc.

But now everybody's pushing for pharmacists to deliver they are the medication experts. So, now, pharmacy schools require us to become immunization trained through APhA (American Pharmacists' Association).


And that's what I'll be doing tomorrow.

Before the actual live immunization training in the classroom tomorrow, I was required to take an online course as well as get CPR trained.

So last Thursday, American Heart Association (AHA) came out to our school and CPR trained and certified us. I learned what to do in case someone passes out, becomes unresponsive, or is choking. We learned the different life-saving procedures for an infant, child, and adult. We also learned how to use an AED device to deliver shocks to the heart while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. Then we took an exam. And I got a perfect hey! I can save lives!

I earned this lovely CPR certification from AHA.
Every pharmacist must have this displayed in order to administer vaccines.

The online learning module took me about 6-7 hours to was very thorough. Then, to demonstrate what I learned, I had to take an exam consisting of case-based questions..of which there were eighty (80!)...

These are the first two questions....there were only 78 more.

So, as I'm preparing to master my injection technique for workshop tomorrow, it helps me to write about it. I will be giving 1 subcutaneous and 2 intramuscular injections to my partner...and my partner will also be giving me three such injections. The scary part about my partner is she is so darn skinny ...she looks like half of me and probably weighs like 90lbs max. In those patients, you have to be very, very careful not to hit bone, since they have essentially no subcutaneous fat. God help me on this one! I'm anxious and I hate I hope to God she clots fast too!

Courtesy of
Courtesy of

These are the official websites that we used and that you want to go to in case you have any questions or hesitations about vaccinations. They provide easy to understand and objective information.

This time last year, I was counting down the days until our wedding.
Now I am counting down the days until my very last pharmacy school exam of my life.
However, I know that I will miss school terribly and will be ready to go back to school when August comes around (like I have been for the past 20 years or so) and it will be hard to accept the fact that there is no school to go back to. Once again, Nerd Girl Problems. But will be a dramatic change. I have been going to school full-time, non-stop, since kindergarten...that will be about 19-20 years total.

And then BOOM! Real life. 
Well, good, actually. 
Because I'm ready to make some babies!!!!!

This is what is separating me from summer and end of pharmacy school:

And this is what separates me from graduation in May of 2015:
 I got some amazing hospitals and excellent clinical sites to look forward to...all with excellent pharmacists...most of whom are also assistant professors at our school.

And that is all...

Let's hope I survive until the end of all of this and come out educated enough to make a difference in people's lives.

P.S. I'm also working on our engagement story...which I have been working on intermittently for about a week now.. Stay tuned. It should be getting published within a day or two. Hopefully tomorrow morning. Before the 8am-5pm blood and needles craziness starts. 

Hey tomorrow, I WILL SURVIVE you. Even if it's bloody.

Love, Agnes


  1. My son developed a blood clot in his leg from his central line when he ended up in the hospital 3 years ago so I had to learn how to do Lovenox injections... on my 2 year old. Thank God it was subcutaneous because IM would have freaked me out. The subcutaneous weren't that bad.

    When one of my church kids was diagnosed with diabetes, the entire family had to learn how to do subcutaneous shots using needles and saline. Little Miss "Afraid of Needles" here actually *ALLOWED* one of her high school youth kids to practice on her arms. Thank God she did a good job.

    1. Wow Jen, that's great that you have that kind of experience with injections! It comes handy! For example, if someone is allergic to something and goes into anaphylaxis (ex after unintentionally eating peanuts) and has an EpiPen on them, you could save their life by injecting it quickly!!!

  2. You are amazing. I am so impressed Witt eh schedule you are keeping up with. But what I most enjoy about your blog is that it is obvious that you LOVE TO LEARN. That is an awesome gift I know you will share with any future kiddos. And, as a former teacher, I get a little weepy in August when I don't get to go back to school. Homeschool just doesn't have the same hoopla of starting, ya know?

    1. Wow thanks so much Ann-Marie! You are so kind! I do LOVE TO LEARN, you are absolutely right! And you know, the sad thing is, when you're in jr high and high of learning and being "nerdy" is made fun of... You get called names and get talked behind your kind of have to pretend to be cooler than you really are...pretend like you like to go out instead of read books etc. I used to care about what people think of me back I do not care at all!!! I am doing what I love and I am truly enjoying my life and feel like I have gained so much freedom now that I am following my passions..instead of being ashamed of them. And yes, it is sad for me to leave school forever...taking into consideration my love of learning. I am hoping that perhaps somewhere down the road, God has a plan for me to perhaps be an assistant professor of pharmacy or somehow, someway help out at some school or university. We'll see what happens :-) What His Will!

    2. Last line meant to be **Whatever His Will!

  3. Thanks for the post and great tips: even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success. certified organic skincare