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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy
Back to Basics: Driving Leadership for Dialysis

College Connection

by Kristen Ingold, P2, President-Elect & Paris Smith, P3, Vice President Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) School of Pharmacy

With classes in full swing and a fresh class of P1 students starting their journey, SIUE School of Pharmacy is bustling with life. Even with the intense coursework, our student organizations are ready to start volunteering and attending state and national events again. The SSHP chapter at SIUE hosted its first meeting in August with a large attendance and interest in membership. We explained our connection with ICHP and ASHP to the new students and the benefits each organization offers. To continue our great start to the year, our executive board (e-board) wants to ensure we stay present and informative to the student body. A refresher on effective leadership skills is the key to any organization’s success. Luckily, ICHP offers a student leadership retreat each fall for the board members of student chapters. Our own Vice President, Paris Smith, seized the opportunity to better her own skills and SIUE’s SSHP chapter. Her enhanced understanding of an optimal leader helped aid in the success of our first volunteer event, a Blanket Drive.

“The ICHP Student Leadership Retreat is a one-day event that ICHP hosts for every SSHP e-board chapter in the state. I was fortunate to attend last year as Fundraising Chair, and am even happier to attend this year as our Vice President. The day was quite productive, and I encourage future e-board members to attend if you can. We talked about how ICHP can help be involved in our chapters to optimize our strengths including recruiting residents and pharmacists with our residency panels, helping recruit members for our chapter, and much more. It was also an honor to meet the president of ICHP, Travis Hunerdosse, and have the experience to converse with him. He gave wonderful advice about being leaders in our corresponding chapters and becoming a better leader in pharmacy school so the student body can experience everything that our SSHP and ICHP have to offer. As always, the part that I look forward to the most is interacting with my fellow student pharmacists. I love when we can come together and share ideas about membership, fundraising, and interesting event ideas to help elevate our chapters; I look forward to seeing them again at the ICHP Annual Meeting. Overall, this leadership retreat allows us to grow as leaders in our chapters and in pharmacy, and I used the skills that we talked about to help coordinate our annual Blanket Drive. I am pleased with the event outcome!”
- Paris Smith, P3, Vice President

Annually, our chapter hosts a Blanket Drive for anyone in the student body to attend. We purchase fleece to make blankets for a local DaVita Dialysis Center in Edwardsville, Illinois. Of course, pizza and drinks are provided as a “thank you” to all the volunteers. This event is a great way to socialize with other students. For example, I attended last year as a P1 for my first time. When I walked in, I recognized only a handful of students, none of whom I knew well. By the time I left that evening, I had upwards of 10 new friends and a warm feeling in my heart because I knew that patients would benefit from these blankets.

Reflecting on this past experience, I realize how patient-oriented pharmacy is as a profession. We are taught to monitor for drug interactions and prescription errors, interpret lab values, educate patients, and so much more. Our main focus is on the patient, and that is why our profession is among the top trustworthy health care professionals in the field. Although we are not pharmacists yet, SIUE SOP students show their effect on patient care via the simplicity of local donations. 

I contacted the local DaVita Dialysis Center where we donate the blankets each year and received this comment from an employee at the center:

“Patients enjoy the blankets and make good use of them; the dialysis rooms are cold, and the blankets are a free and convenient way to keep them warm. They really appreciate the blankets during their treatments.” - Anonymous caregiver at Edwardsville DaVita Dialysis Center - 4 September 2018

When asked, the employee confirmed that no other local organizations or companies donate to this center. This drives home the importance of our local donations. Already this year, we made 15 blankets with 25 volunteers, and a handful of P1 students came out for the fun and connected with students and faculty.

Our goal is to keep this strong impact throughout the entire year in the community and state wide, specifically at state meetings. Utilizing our strong personalities and leadership qualities should lead to a great year for our SSHP chapter. ■

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College Connection

Chicago State University College of Pharmacy

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Roosevelt University College of Pharmacy

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Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy

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