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January 16, 2008

Garner to represent ULM at APhA2008 in San Diego March 14 – 17

Meredith Garner, a third-year pharmacy student at ULM, will compete in the American Pharmacists Association Annual Meeting and Exposition March 14 – 17 in San Diego.

Garner recently participated in a local patient counseling competition at ULM on Nov. 16 as part of a nationwide contest. The local version consisted of students evaluating a prescription, a patient’s medical profile, and subsequently counseling a live (actor) patient on the prescribed medication.

The medication prescribed is unknown to the student at the beginning of the timed competition, so they have five minutes to find the needed information before entering the counseling area with the patient. They then have five minutes to counsel the patient on the medication itself, including such things as name of the medication, appropriate use, possible side effects or adverse effects, and what to expect. The entire scenario was video-taped for review and judged by a panel of experts.

Garner will compete on a more intense level in the AphA2008 National Patient Counseling Competition.

She encouraged all pharmacy students to participate. “Just do it! It wasn’t as difficult as I thought. I think all first- and second-year pharmacy students should compete every year. It will really help them see, very early on, what it is like to take care of patients.

“I know this experience will make me a better pharmacist….Effective communication with our patients is one of the most important and unique aspects of the pharmacy profession. I am so excited to represent our school in San Diego. I am working really hard to prepare for the experience.”

Nancy Davis, administrative coordinator for Alumni Relations, praised her niece’s success. “I have been at ULM for almost 20 years and have been proud of many students, but knowing how much effort Meredith puts into her school work and career makes me even prouder. Her devotion and love for people will make her a great pharmacist.”

ULM falls in Region Six as part of the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists’ 2007 regional structure.

More about the National Patient Counseling Competition:

The goal of the APhA-ASP National Patient Counseling Competition is to encourage student pharmacists in their efforts toward becoming better patient educators. The competition is designed to reflect changes that are occurring in practice, to promote and encourage further professional development of the student pharmacist and to reinforce their role as a health care provider and educator.

The competition begins on the local level as students vie to be the national representative from their school or college of pharmacy. The competition on this level may be funded from a variety of sources, such as official college funds, locally obtained funding, state association support, and student fund-raising activities. Each of the top 10 finalists that compete in the final round of local competition will receive an award, compliments of APhA-ASP.

The national competition is divided into the preliminary round and final round. At the preliminary round, students select a simple practice scenario at random and are required to counsel a patient on the appropriate use of the drug involved. Students are then given time to turn to the reference sources available in the model pharmacy. After consulting these and determining the appropriate information for the patient, the participants counsel the patient. Evaluations are based on the content and style of the counseling presentations. The 10 highest scoring participants are then invited to the final round.

The final round involves a more complex counseling situation where the participants again select a prescription at random and are asked to counsel the patient on safe and effective drug use. In addition, the patient in the final round will display personality characteristics such as anxiousness, belligerence or apathy to challenge the participants' ability to convey pertinent information in a realistic situation. The top 10 finalists in the national competition will be recognized during the APhA-ASP Awards Ceremony and will receive a prize, compliments of APhA-ASP. The four top winners of the national competition will also receive cash prizes.

History of APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists:

The APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists unofficially began in 1921 when students from the University of North Carolina petitioned the APhA Council to be recognized as an APhA student branch. Since then, the student section of APhA has gone through a steady evolutionary process.

In 1954, a formal student section was created due largely to the efforts of the late Dr. Linwood F. Tice of the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy, who felt that students needed a voice in the nation’s professional society of pharmacists. This allowed students the opportunity to send one delegate to the APhA House of Delegates.

At the 2004 Annual Meeting in Seattle, Washington, APhA-ASP celebrated 35 years as an official academy of APhA . During the meeting, the 2004 APhA-ASP House of Delegates voted in favor of a proposed resolution to change the Academy’s name to the American Pharmacists Association - Academy of Student Pharmacists, in order to better define the professional role of student pharmacists and to emphasize students’ commitment to their profession.

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