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


  1. I can't wait to read your future experiences in rotations!

    1. Great...I'm glad to know that someone is interested in hearing about them!