Professionalism and training begin on day one of Pharmacy School
By Transon Nguyen, PharmD
Many Pharm.D. programs now incorporate the fact that we, as educators, should immediately emphasize professionalism to our pharmacy students from day one.
I was blessed and fortunate enough to teach the Professional Communication class to our Cohort 4 during the first quarter of their first year in our Pharm.D. program. Incorporating the concept of Professionalism into the class is a natural part of Professional Communication.
I encourage my students to apply to the Board of Pharmacy as soon as they can for their Pharmacist Intern licenses. The Pharmacist Intern license will not only raise the student’s self-esteem but also raise the bar of expectation, accountability, and confidence, as the student is now a licensed professional. Many Pharm.D. programs usually have a White Coat ceremony before the students start their Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations. Once the student puts on the white coat, that student is now a healthcare professional licensed by the state to serve and educate patients.
I encourage our students to introduce themselves to other healthcare providers and patients as “pharmacist interns” and not as “pharmacy students.” Using appropriate terminology will help shift the intern’s perception from that of a student to that of an intern healthcare practitioner. This also shifts the other healthcare providers’ and patients’ perceptions toward the Pharmacist Intern. The Pharmacist Intern now transposes into the role of an educator to educate patients and other providers about pharmacy knowledge.
In general, there are a few characteristics that are vital to excel, from being a student to becoming an excellent healthcare provider. The most essential elements include communication, empathy, passion, being forthright, professionalism, respect, knowledge, thoroughness, and many more. The years of training and studying at AUHS will prepare the students for the challenges and the rewarding career of providing services for the community and patients. The training and professionalism for a new student begin on day one.