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Polar Bears prepared to fill patient needs

Jul 12, 2018

Trust. It’s a small word with huge implications, especially when it comes to pharmacy and health care.

For Jess Keller, PharmD ’18, trust was essential as she completed her Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs). Patients came to rely on her as a health care provider as she found confidence in her own skills and expertise. And it all began with the preparation she received at ONU.

Keller’s trust in her ONU education was useful as she quickly discovered that expectations were high during her rotations. “Oftentimes, more was expected from ONU students,” she says. “Many preceptors expressed how well-prepared ONU students are coming into rotations. I already felt very comfortable taking blood pressure, doing a medication reconciliation or conducting discharge counseling.”

Patient interaction can’t be taught in a classroom, but Keller believes that ONU provides plenty of real-world experiences in health-outreach activities. “The opportunities provided through health outreach and required by the college allow students to interact with a variety of patients and conditions,” she explains. “The faculty at ONU prepare students every chance they can. Whether that’s providing examples during lectures, creating activities and role play, or telling their personal stories in practice, ONU does a wonderful job preparing students for APPE rotations.”  

During her APPE rotations, Keller found herself becoming more and more interested in chronic disease and disease management. “One of my favorite rotations was cardiology with Dr. Charles Carter at Indian River Medical Center in Vero Beach, Fla.,” says Keller. “As my first patient-care rotation, I was introduced to the role of a clinical pharmacist in a hospital from an APPE perspective. During my time at IRMC, I was able to interact with a variety of patients and help control disease states with medication and lifestyle management. That rotation helped me truly realize that my favorite part about the profession of pharmacy is the ability to interact with patients individually.”

From her time at ONU, Keller felt prepared for providing patient care during rotations. “When I was a fifth-year, I joined the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists and participated in several outreach events,” she says. “My favorite part was providing both lifestyle and medication management to elderly patients.”

But Keller also puts the ONU mantra of “filling more than prescriptions” into action. “I also love when the patients build trust in me and ask about other things unrelated to pharmacy because they confide in you,” she says. “This interaction allows not only for better understanding of the patients and helping them with their medication, but also with their quality of life.”