Thursday, July 24, 2014

My 1st APPE (Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience) Rotation [Part 2]

 O My Gosh, I literally feel like I just wrote THIS post about starting my rotation at Loyola and I cannot believe that it's almost the end of week 2. That means I am 1/3 of the way done with this particular rotation (6 weeks long). Life has been extremely busy and I am learning sooooo much new knowledge. I'm always always always reading stuff, looking up stuff, critically thinking about stuff...this wonderful pharmacist that I am under (my preceptor who is also a professor of pharmacy at our school) truly pushes me to learn, learn, learn and to be challenged. Aaaand..... I LIKE IT!

By the is a fresh-off-the-grill "bathroom selfie" of me today at the hospital.

I still have a nice tan going from Mexico. Oh wait...I take that back...I'm peeling everywhere because of Mexico....shedding every inch of my skin. That's what happens when you're so white that you get completely scorched on your first day in Mexico, while taking a walk back to your hotel from the city.


I just needed to sit down here and reflect to help me to get motivated to get work done here at home. Not sure if my body is just protesting to having to wake up at 4:30am now or what....but when I come home from my rotation, all I wanna do is lounge around and eat and not do any work. But now that got myself thinking and reflecting upon this rotation and about how blessed I am to be there and to have those opportunities and experiences, I now feel much more determined to make this rotation an awesome experience. I know that we get NOTHING but learning and invaluable experiences from these rotations. And that is all we get. We don't get paid. Zero. Nada. We actually still have to pay our ridiculously high pharmacy school tuition for the school to provide these rotations for us. So since there is no compensation, since I get nothing out of this, then I conclude that the only purpose I am there for, the only thing I really CAN get out of it, that only thing that can truly benefit me and my future self as well, is the LEARNING I will acquire and the patients I will help in the future as a result of that learning. Now, that's what gets me motivated. That's what makes me want to say with confidence that I will work very hard, that I will put forth my best efforts over the next couple of weeks, I will simply do my best no matter how challenging it gets and how hard I am pushed. Because these are once in a life time opportunities....because this is a gift from GOD (just like everything else in my life).

I will never be on rotation at Loyola again. This is the one and only time to shine. And therefore I will be grateful. I will begin and end each day with gratitude. I will thank God for each and every day that He blessed me with...for each and every opportunity to learn and to affect the lives of people. I will not just try to "do enough to get by" or be an "average joe," or just try to "get through these rotations to graduate and get my PharmD." I will not be grumpy over having to wake up so early in the morning every day, or over the amount of projects we have. I will not complain about anything or anybody. I will BE fully present in every moment, with a grateful attitude and a mind open to knowledge and wisdom flowing in. I know that only with such an attitude can I really get the best out of these once-in-a-lifetime rotations. I may not even get into a residency. I may never have the opportunity to work at a hospital alongside these amazing doctors again. I don't know what God's plan for the future is. All I know is that His Plan and His Will for this time right now is for me to be present on these rotations, to learn, to be inspired, to inspire others with my own attitude, faith, knowledge, and thankfulness. This present moment is all I have..and I will use it the best way I can.  
 So Help me God. Amen.

My attempt at getting organized. My pharmacy rotations journal, my academic planner, and a rainbow of new writing utensils (I'm special. I get excited about purchasing new writing utensils). The key for me is to be organized. If I'm not organized, I'm not motivated to do work. I'm kind of a perfectionist when it comes to being organized. I love love love planners, journals, to do well as writing with colorful pens. Obviously. Haha

 I know I will have a great time and it will be a great 6 weeks full of fun and learning. Our preceptor is I heard through the grapevine. She has high expectations and doesn't repeat herself... If she says something once, we are expected to know it. But we were also told that we are lucky we have her for our first rotation because she will make sure we are all set for the following rotations...after hers...all the rest will be a piece of cake. So I heard. So I'm excited. I'm going to try to work really, really hard over the next 6 weeks to learn as much as I can. Because what we have memorized in school ....what we crammed for those endless exams basically went into our short term memories, only to be mostly forgotten right after the exam. That is why rotations are so important. 

And here is a little rant about Loyola Hospital itself. It is a Catholic Hospital founded by the Jesuits and named after St. Ignatius at Loyola. What is awesome is that all thorughout the hospital, there are crucifixes (in every patient's room and in the hallways and nurses' stations) and pictures and quotes of Saints on the walls. I get so excited to be surrounded by Catholicism. It makes me feel so proud to be Catholic when I see Catholic foundation and history of such an excellent Chicagoland hospital.

What I find the most awesome is their MOTTO:  
ad majorem Dei gloriam
 which is worn on the white coats of all the doctors, pharmacist, medical students...and it just appears everywhere.  It is a Latin motto of the Jesuits and translates to "For the greater glory of God."

(The origin of the phrase is attributed to the founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who intended it to serve as a cornerstone sentiment of the society's religious philosophy. The full phrase attributed to St. Ignatius is Ad maiorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem or "for the greater glory of God and salvation of man." It is a summary of the idea that any work that is not evil, even one that would normally be considered inconsequential to the spiritual life, can be spiritually meritorious if it is performed in order to give glory to God). 

Lord, can I please, please work for this hospital in the future? This is dream job material right there. 

Yours Truly, Agnes

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

My 1st APPE (Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience) Rotation [Part 1]

First, let me begin by apologizing for my summer blogging laziness and the resulting sporadic, few-and-far-between blog posts. I promise I have not abandoned you, my wonderful readers, I am still here....I have simply been working my butt off 40 hours per week as a wonderful pre-grad pharmacy intern.

As pictured above, my husband and I have have also done some traveling in the great land of Mexico.

We had a wonderful time together after many months of working opposite schedules, but that's a story that deserves a whole another blog post. For now, just enjoy a couple (literally) of pictures:

We have also been doing lots of work around the house (yard, garden, pool). My garden is blooming and I have already harvested some radishes, peas, zucchini, and onions. I will also talk about that and show you more pictures soon.

My first ever zucchini!

But let's get to the real topic of this post....
...I am here to talk about starting my 4th year pharmacy rotations (aka APPEs aka Advanced Pharmacy Practice Rotations).

So the story begins...

...After having my 1st rotation block off, I finally started my very first rotation yesterday. This first rotation is my GenMed (General Medicine) Rotation. Previously for my IPPE-Clinical in my 3rd year, I was in the CCU (Coronary Critical Care Unit) at Rush University Medical Center and now I am on the General Medical Floor at Loyola University Hospital. I am working alongside a wonderful gen med pharmacist who also teaches at our university, as well as a great attending physician, residents, and medical students.

The disease states that we will be mostly covering and that will be near and dear to my heart by the end of these 6 weeks are the following:

COPD Exacerbations
DVT Prophylaxis

(I told you pharmacy/medicine is all about acronyms. There is an acronym for just about anything.
For my readers who aren't familiar with these acronyms, here is some clarification. I know that probably the only ones I would know on this list if I wasn't in pharmacy school is the first two: UTI and COPD...because they're commonly used / seen... even by patients, not just by doctors. But still, just so we're all on the same page: UTI = Urinary Tract Infection, COPD = Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, HF = Heart Failure, ACS = Acute Coronary Syndromes, AKI = Acute Kidney Injury, CKD = Chronic Kidney Disease, DVT = Deep Vein Thrombosis).

I am planning on keeping a running journal of all the activities we do at all of my rotations both for myself and my own benefit / growth but also to help me write these school reflections that are part of our graduation requirements. I had already gone out and purchased a little journal-type notebook that will serve as my "peripheral brain" or a place where I jot down all the most important pearls / information I learn (which I can later use as a reference) and the best experiences I go through.

My brand new "Peripheral Brain" aka pharmacy rotation journal aka notebook of clinical pearls

In addition to that, I will bring my real life rotation experiences here, to this blog, to help some of you fellow / future / potential pharmacy students to get a feel of what such experiences are like at the various pharmacy settings through which I will be rotating over the next 36 weeks. I will try to keep up with this for all of my rotations as I know I have some truly good, valuable rotations coming up in which I get to work under excellent pharmacists who are also professors at CCP (Chicago College of Pharmacy). I know them from the classroom, now i will get to see them in action! It'll be great.

My impression of my gen med rotation so far: It's only day 2 and I already want to shout: information overload!

Every day is just so rich. There is so much knowledge to be absorbed in medicine.  It's one thing to learn the "textbook" definitions and go through textbook cases in the classroom
but it's a whole another world when you're out there, with real patients, in real life-death situations, where textbook situations do not apply due to the multiple other factors that play a role in real life.

Last quarter I was tired after my rotation at Rush (CCU clinical rotation) and was kind of glad to go back to work at my retail pharmacy job. I have never before worked at a hospital and it was just a little bit different. The hospital days start waaay early and run waaay long and you just get so tired that all you want to do is go to bed when you get home. Having to wake up so early in the morning and already be on the expressway by 5:30am on your way downtown in the lovely downtown Chicago AM traffic was a bit hard to get used to (my retail pharmacy job is 13 minutes away in a small suburb town and I know a lot of our patients by name). But I think the reason I was tired was because all of this happened while we were in the middle of our very last quarter of pharmacy school and on top of my rotations and its associated projects, I had ongoing exams, workshops, and projects in school.  Now it's different. School is over. All I got is the rotation to focus on....I can focus on my patients...focus on my learning.

Yesterday was my first day. Yesterday was good! It made me feel pumped up. The feeling of being a part of a hospital this big (~600 beds) and having an impact on patient care is awesome...And it really made me lean towards pursuing a residency. And that's just what I told my preceptor when she asked us what our plans are. Her response to us (us = me and 1 other fellow classmate that's on this rotation with me) "oh Thank God, I don't have to give you the whole residency spiel because you guys are already smart enough and want to do residency."

Today was also great! Not only did we (pharmacy students) get to participate in rounds with the internal medicine team, but they also asked us for advice and recommendations and told us how they appreciate our (the pharmacists') input and our contribution to the medical team. They said that they like when we notice drug-related problems that they don't always notice and/or anticipate or when we fine-tune their dosing. Today, I was just a sponge all day....Listening, listening, listening, and absorbing, absorbing, absorbing all that the doctors were talking about. It was aaaa lot of information to take in and process by my little itty bitty brain, but I tried my best to stay focused, quickly and constantly scribbling notes like a madwoman...and I was just be there. I think THIS IS what I would like to do when I grow up.


Right now I have a big workload to get through. I will keep telling you more about this rotation as I acquire more experiences.

 Tune in for Part 2.....

Love, Agnes