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NDSU pharmacy student’s summer rotation leads to life lessons

A rotation at a community pharmacy in St. Paul, Minnesota this summer provided NDSU fourth-year pharmacy student Patrick Joyce lessons beyond pharmacy. Joyce was working at a pharmacy in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota when peaceful protests escalated into confrontations, affecting businesses in the area.

The pharmacy closed early for everyone’s safety and Patrick and others temporarily relocated to the company’s specialty pharmacy in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Adapting quickly under the circumstances was crucial. “Working at a specialty pharmacy, I dealt with a wide range of disease states and medications on a daily basis,” said Joyce.

“My preceptor has really taught me how important it is to adapt during uncertain and emergent times,” Joyce said of Kristyn Hamm at the St. Paul pharmacy location. “No matter how much was going on or how much she was dealing with, she always made sure the patient was taken care of at the end of the day.”

Staff returned after the riots to clean up damage at the pharmacy in St. Paul.

“The first day was filled with sweeping up broken glass in addition to replacing and repairing damaged equipment. I also got the opportunity to complete and submit inventory audits to report medication that was stolen,” said Joyce. “The entire staff did a great job of working together to get things back up and running.”

In addition to emergent events, pharmacy students such as Joyce are completing their rotations during a global pandemic.

“I feel extremely blessed and fortunate to say that the pandemic has not made a big impact on my pharmacy rotation,” said Joyce, who is frpm Tioga, North Dakota. “Aside from increased precautions and social distancing measures, everything has felt very normal for me. These are strange times with many unknowns, but the NDSU Experiential Education office has done a great job of helping us get to where we are. I cannot thank director Teri Undem  enough for how hard she has worked on our behalf this past year.”

The NDSU School of Pharmacy prepared him well, according to Joyce.

“NDSU does a fantastic job of educating their students and putting us in a position to excel…. My time at NDSU has given me the clinical knowledge and skills needed to provide a high level of patient care. I am thankful for all the great professors and advisers I have had over the last three years, and it is definitely something I will miss moving forward in my career.”

Experiential education is a cornerstone in health professions. The experiences that preceptors provide students are integral to prepare them to become members of the healthcare team.

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