NDSU pharmacy student’s summer rotation leads to life lessons

A rotation at a community pharmacy in St. Paul, Minnesota this summer provided 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,” said Joyce of Kristyn Hamm, PharmD at the St. Paul pharmacy location. “My preceptor has also done an incredible job of always putting our patients first. 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,” said Joyce.

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 an unprecedented 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, whose hometown is 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 our Director, Teri Undem, enough for how hard she has worked on our behalf this past year.”

How to deal with the unexpected

“Nobody expected things to unfold the way they did, and we were all put in a situation we had never experienced before,” explained Joyce. “As a pharmacist, you will be taking on many different responsibilities and handling different situations on a daily basis. I know that my career as a pharmacist will present many new challenges and unique opportunities, all which will help me grow as a pharmacist and as a person.”

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 advisors I have had over the last three years, and it is definitely something I will miss moving forward in my career.”

Joyce’s preceptor Kristyn Hamm, PharmD, said she appreciated his contributions during the rotation in St. Paul. “He has done exceptional work for us and has been especially helpful to us after we were impacted by the riots/looting. He is one of the strongest NDSU students I have had. I hope to see more like him!”

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.

For more information on how to become a pharmacy preceptor, visit www.ndsu.edu/pharmacy and click on Experiential Education.


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