The pharmacy field is constantly changing and is a career that is currently in high demand. More pharmacy schools are being built and hold the responsibility of training the pharmacists of the future. Due to accreditation standards set by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), programs are expected to have their students complete Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs). ACPE sets little requirements for these programs; therefore, much discretion is left to the school. IPPEs and APPEs are the only on-site training pharmacists are required to do in any PharmD program. Pharmacists may also do an optional residency program after they complete the PharmD program.
There are various models of training that schools employ: simulations, rotations (IPPEs and APPEs), and residencies. There has been some research done as to what methods of teaching allow students to learn most effectively. In general, simulations are becoming more prevalent in the education arena. Whether they are physical or virtual simulations, studies show they are equally beneficial to students. Typically schools have students do 8-five week rotations to satisfy the APPE requirement. However, a pharmacy school in Florida has their students complete all of the APPEs at the same institution. There are advantages and disadvantages to this model.
Lastly, pharmacy residencies overall are being revised. With much advancement in pharmaceuticals, residencies are expanding in time and content. Some suggest that residencies should be extended from two years to three years to be able to include more training on leadership skills. Others suggest APPEs should have more rigid criteria in place for accreditation purposes. The proposed revisions of pharmaceutical residencies have been compared to that of a medical residency. Some models of training are more effective than others for preparing pharmacists for certain situations in a clinical setting. Health fields are rapidly advancing. Because of this, people being trained in these fields need to be trained at a higher level than previous students. Pharmacy is one of the fields in the healthcare sector that needs to reevaluate how schools are training their upcoming professionals. Schools utilize simulations and optional residencies to give their students more hands-on experience. Certain training models are more effective than others in producing clinical pharmacists.
Training is a critical part of any business. It is directly related to the success of the business. Pharmacist training begins in school. Learning clinical applications and techniques is a major part of what pharmacy school teaches. Simulations, IPPEs and APPEs, and residencies are ways for students to build their clinical expertise inside and outside of pharmacy school. Rotations and residencies are being improved to meet the needs of students as the world of pharmacy expands. There has been success when multiple types of learning are used together. Neal Benedict, a professor at the University of Pittsburg school of pharmacy, used “computer-assisted learning (CAL), virtual patient technology, branched-outcome decision making, guided group discussion, and lecture” (Benedict, 2010, p. 1). Quality learning takes place when multiple teaching methods are used in synergy. The way pharmacists are trained needs to be continually reevaluated in order to train pharmacists effectively in a dynamic field and prepare them to excel in a professional, clinical setting.