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Roosevelt University College of Pharmacy
Preparing the First Year Pharmacy Students for Success: Integrated Sequence (IS) Workshop and Making Biostatistics Fun
by Jeremy Fernandez Balingit, PS-3, SSHP President Roosevelt University College of Pharmacy
Looking back on our pharmacy school journey, many of my fellow classmates and I agree that the transition from the first year of pharmacy school to the second was quite a wake-up call. The second year of pharmacy school meant new exposure to our initial therapeutic courses such as endocrinology and rheumatology. At the Roosevelt College of Pharmacy, these courses are called Integrated Sequence (IS) as they truly integrate different aspects of disease states such as pharmacology, medicinal chemistry, and clinical presentation. In other words, a lot of information! My personal study routine for the endocrine exam, for example, consisted of frantic cramming with the use of flashcards while stress eating a bag of Doritos™ to prevent a hypoglycemic episode due to skipping meals to study. I was receiving acceptable grades in my courses, but the question remained as to whether this was an efficient study method. Was I truly learning or simply memorizing the information to later regurgitate it during the exam? After going through our second year of pharmacy school, it became apparent to my classmates and I that we could have benefited from resources or guides that could prep us for the intensity of these course during our first year of school.
With that being said, the SSHP has introduced the first IS course preparation workshop for first year pharmacy students this past term. It was an informative presentation that detailed what the IS courses really were. Specifically, how they are structured, what to expect as far as material and quizzes/exams, and how important these courses are for our pharmacy careers. We shared our personal experiences and successes when it came to study habits and understanding the material, as well as answered any questions. We continued to emphasize the benefit of truly understanding the material, rather than memorizing and cramming prior to exams. The IS courses can certainly seem intimidating, however by fine tuning study habits, one can appreciate the information being taught. This will not only help with exams and course grades, but also will result in stronger foundational knowledge that will impact our pharmacy careers. For example, we explained that understanding medication mechanisms of action were an important tool for determining adverse events that may develop from that agent. Many of the students stated they were nervous and unsure how to tackle these courses, however, after this workshop they were confident in their ability to do well, showing that our workshop was a success!
This past term also included SSHP putting a different spin on our usual winter Journal Club event. Typically during this event, the individuals who present the article are asked certain questions by the audience. However, during this last event, the decision was made to “flip” the setting. The presenters quizzed the audience regarding certain aspects of the article presented. Questions included clinical information, interventions, as well as biostatistics. This innovation made the journal club event substantially more interactive, engaging, and surprisingly fun. Not only were we able to introduce new clinical findings presented in our article, but we also helped reinforce everyone’s literature analysis skills. The ability to break down research articles is an invaluable asset that will continue to help us throughout our pharmacy careers. It is most definitely a skill that can help strengthen our clinical judgement and foundational knowledge which can shape our abilities as students and future pharmacists. We look forward to continuing these “flipped” journal clubs in the future. With that being said, it’s safe to say that biostatistics is pretty significant (no pun intended)!