Academic and Professional Policies and Procedures

Admission, Retention and Graduation Standards

The following standards were originally approved by the Faculty of the School of Pharmacy on June 23, 1996. Revised standards were approved by the Faculty of the School of Pharmacy on March 14, 2007. These standards amplify requirements found in the University of Washington Student Conduct Code and the School of Pharmacy Policy on Student Misconduct as well as the principles described in the Code of Ethics adopted by the American Pharmacists Association Membership. The Faculty of the University of Washington School of Pharmacy considers these standards as essential behaviors for admission, retention and graduation of students in the Doctor of Pharmacy Program. These standards are applied at all levels and at all times of student engagement in the Doctor of Pharmacy Program including during screening of applicants for offer of interview and admission, during assessments of student learning regardless of whether or not specifically stated in a course syllabus, during evaluations of readiness for practice prior to graduation, and in the classroom, during school-sponsored activities, clinical training, during personal time, and at off-campus events.

There is an expectation that every student must exhibit professional behavior throughout their time enrolled at the University, which includes but is not limited to reliability; responsibility; adaptability; respect for the health, feelings, and needs of other individuals; maintaining appropriate boundaries with classmates, and professional boundaries with patients and caregivers, instructors, and other health care professionals; representing the profession in a positive manner; maintaining privacy of confidential health and academic information; resolving conflicts in a manner that respects the dignity of every individual involved; and contributing to an atmosphere conducive to learning. Examples of some, but not all, unprofessional behaviors are outlined in the School’s Policy and Procedures Involving Student Misconduct (in this Handbook).

The PharmD degree is recognized as a broad undifferentiated degree requiring the acquisition of general knowledge and basic skills in all fields of pharmacy. The education of a pharmacist requires assimilation of knowledge, acquisition of skills, and development of judgment obtained through self study, classroom instruction, and patient-care experiences. This training prepares students to participate in independent and collaborative actions and decision making activities designed to assure optimum patient care. The practice of pharmacy emphasizes interaction between the pharmacist and other health care professionals and with patients.

The University of Washington School of Pharmacy endeavors to select applicants who have the ability to become highly competent pharmacists. As an accredited pharmacy school, the University of Washington School of Pharmacy adheres to the guidelines promulgated by the American Council of Pharmaceutical Education in its “Guidelines for Accreditation Standards.” Within these guidelines, the University of Washington School of Pharmacy has the freedom and ultimate responsibility for the selection of students; the design, implementation, and evaluation of its curriculum; the evaluation of students; and the determination of who should be awarded a degree. Admission and retention decisions are based not only on satisfactory academic achievement, but also on non-academic factors that serve to ensure that the candidate can complete the essential functions of the academic program required for graduation.

The School has the responsibility to the public to assure that its graduates can become fully competent pharmacists who adhere to the American Pharmaceutical Association’s Code of Ethics. Thus, it is important that persons admitted possess the intelligence, verbal and written communications skills, integrity, compassion, humanitarian concern, and physical and emotional capacity necessary to practice pharmacy.

Admission to the School as well as retention in the Doctor of Pharmacy Program requires that all candidates undergo criminal background checks. The criminal background check is in accordance with Washington State Law (RCW 43.43.830 through 43.43.842) which requires that all individuals who have access to children under 16 years of age, those with developmental disabilities, or vulnerable adults, must disclose background information concerning crimes and offenses against these populations.

Doctor of Pharmacy students must also complete a Conviction/Criminal History Information Form to disclose criminal history involving drug-related crimes, proceedings related to vulnerable populations, Medicare-Medicaid/Healthcare-related crimes and any other general conviction information (excluding parking tickets and traffic citations). Commission of such crimes may prevent placement in certain pharmacy practice experiences, thus potentially preventing a student from completing the requirements for graduation. In addition, students must report any actions taken by a licensing authority (Board of Pharmacy or other agency) against a professional license (pharmacy intern or technician license or other health-related license). Actions taken prior to admission to the School must be disclosed at the time of offer of admission to the Director of Admissions. Any convictions or licensure actions occurring after admission to the Doctor of Pharmacy program and until the student either graduates or leaves the program must be immediately disclosed to the Director of Admissions, Advising and Counseling, the Associate Dean for Assessment and Accreditation, or the Associate Dean for Professional Pharmacy Education. University and School policies as well as Washington state laws and regulations prohibit the synthesis, manufacture, distribution, sale, illegal possession, or diversion to one’s own use of controlled substances or other illicit drugs. Pharmacy students will be held to the Washington State Law regarding Health Professions as defined in the Uniform Disciplinary Act (RCW 18.130).

The School of Pharmacy, as a part of the University of Washington, is committed to the principle of equal opportunity. The School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age, marital status, disability, disabled veteran or Vietnam era veteran status. When requested, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to otherwise qualified students with disabilities.

Technical standards, as distinguished from academic standards, refer to those physical, cognitive, and behavioral abilities required for satisfactory completion of all aspects of the curriculum, and the development of professional attributes required by the faculty of all students at graduation. The essential abilities required by the curriculum are in the following areas: motor, sensory, verbal and written communication, intellectual (conceptual, integrative, and quantitative abilities for problem solving and decision-making), and the behavioral and social aspects for the performance of pharmaceutical care.

The University of Washington School of Pharmacy curriculum requires essential abilities in information acquisition. The student must have the ability to master information presented in course work in the form of lectures, discussion groups, case studies, small group projects, practicum experiences, computer technology, written material, and projected images. The student must have the cognitive abilities necessary to master relevant content in basic science and clinical courses at a level deemed appropriate by the faculty. He/she must be able to develop reasoning and decision-making skills appropriate to the practice of pharmacy. These skills may be described as the ability to comprehend, memorize, analyze, and synthesize material.

The student must be able to retrieve, critically evaluate, interpret, and communicate information contained in the scientific and professional literature. Similarly, the student must use clinical data, patient assessment, and appropriate medical literature to optimize therapeutic drug regimens.

The student must be able to efficiently and accurately obtain information from other health professionals, medical records, and pharmacy records and use this information on behalf of the patient to identify, assess, solve, and prevent drug related problems. He/she must demonstrate sound clinical judgment in evaluating, assessing, and recommending patient therapeutic plans to achieve intended therapeutic outcomes. To perform these activities, the student must be able to obtain a pharmacy history from a patient or family member as described below. In addition, he/she must be capable of perceiving the signs of disease or adverse drug effects as manifested through visual observation of the patient, performing a limited physical examination (e.g., blood pressure, pulse, otic, chest and cardiac auscultation), and obtaining capillary or venous blood samples from the patient. Students should also be able to administer medications via injection.

The student must be able to communicate effectively with patients, the patient’s family members or caretaker, and other health care practitioners. One element of communications is obtaining information from others and correctly analyzing the content of that information. In particular, the student must have the ability to obtain a pharmacy history from a patient or family member. This requires the ability to understand verbal and written information, recognize the significance of non-verbal responses, efficiently assess all information obtained, and, if appropriate, make well-focused follow-up inquiry. The student must be capable of responsive, empathetic listening to establish rapport in a way that promotes openness on issues of concern and shows sensitivity to potential cultural differences.

A second element of good communication is the coherent provision of information to others, both verbally and in writing. The student must be able to process and communicate information on the patient’s status, with accuracy and in a timely manner, to pharmacist colleagues and other health care providers. This information needs to be communicated in a succinct, yet comprehensive manner and in settings in which time available is limited. Written or dictated drug information assessments, communications to other health professionals, patient records, patient assessments, and prescriptions, must be complete and accurate. Appropriate communication may also rely on the student’s ability to make a correct judgment in seeking supervision and consultation in a timely manner.

The student must demonstrate the technical skills and knowledge to manage systems for storage, preparation, and dispensing of medicines; accurately and efficiently evaluate drug orders on prescriptions; accurately and safely compound drugs in appropriate dosage forms; package and dispense dosage forms; apply computer skills and technological advancements to practice; and supervise technical personnel to whom these responsibilities may be delegated.

The student must be able to understand the basis and content of medical and pharmacy ethics. He/she must possess attributes which include compassion, empathy, altruism, integrity, responsibility, and tolerance. He/she should always treat co-workers (other pharmacists, supportive personnel, other health professionals) and patients with respect and dignity. He/she must have the emotional stability to function effectively under stress and to adapt to an environment which may change rapidly without warning and/or in unpredictable ways.

These essential functions of pharmacy education identify the requirements for admission, retention and graduation of applicants and students at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy. Graduates are expected to be qualified to enter the field of pharmacy and to possess a commitment to life-long learning that will allow them to adapt to changes in pharmaceutical care and health care throughout their career. It is the responsibility of the student with disabilities to request those accommodations that he/she feels are reasonable and are needed to execute the essential requirements described.

Revised/Approved by the Faculty on March 14, 2007. Originally Approved by the Faculty on June 23, 1996