September 10, 2019

Training to practice at the top of their license

UWSOP implements the Purple Curriculum with new Wednesdays in Practice, Provider Readiness Training and more

UW School of Pharmacy’s PharmD program trains pharmacists to think critically and be prepared for a future of health care that requires the advanced skills and knowledge of the Husky Pharmacist.

“The UW School of Pharmacy is one of the first pharmacy schools in the U.S. to offer hands-on experiential training to student pharmacists from the start through the transformative Wednesdays in Practice and Provider Readiness series.”—Peggy Odegard, Associate Dean and Lynn and Geraldine Brady Endowed Professor of Pharmacy

As the UWSOP Strategic plan comes into its fifth year, we are launching the new Husky Pharmacist curriculum. This approach to pharmacy training makes the UW one of the few schools of pharmacy nationwide that offers experiential training from the start of our student pharmacists’ first year. Not only that, but our students won’t just be observing as is the case in some other first year experiential programs, they will be working directly with patients, learning to interview, gathering information, considering the patient’s holistic needs, and gaining critical continuity in their learning with application to practice from the classroom.

Our student pharmacists train in the Bracken Pharmacy Learning Center

Our student pharmacists train in the Bracken Pharmacy Learning Center

This novel approach to training prepares our student pharmacists to be active members of the health care team in the new age of Pharmacist Provider Status here in Washington state. Over the past several years, the Curricular Innovation team, led by Associate Dean Peggy Odegard, ’85, ’90, developed a plan to prepare our student pharmacists for a future that calls for more leadership, entrepreneurial skills, even community-building and advocacy—in addition to the excellent training they already receive in medicinal chemistry, pharmacology, clinical pharmacy, and patient care. Whether it’s to be full members of the health care team or to pitch a new approach to patient care, to manage an independent pharmacy, or to lead a health system, our student pharmacists’ professional and interprofessional skills need to be as strong as their scientific knowledge.

Research shows that learning gained through direct experience is the most powerful for health providers’ training experience. As more people take medications to manage their health, Washington state recognized the vital role of the pharmacist in improving patient care and health outcomes. Chronic health conditions, such as diabetes and hypertension, are primarily treated with medications—and viruses like HIV and Hepatitis C are now chronic or curable illnesses, rather than terminal diseases, thanks to advancements in medications.

In addition, the new curriculum places high value on the learning that occurs both inside and outside the classroom—formalizing training in leadership and professional development, advocacy, and innovation and valuing the extensive experience and perspective our students gain through student organizations, at health fairs, and by stepping into the community through events and engagement.

Being a leader is different from being a manager, Peggy emphasized. “When our Husky Pharmacists see gaps and opportunities, we want them to step up and advocate for the benefit of the patient.”

Advance your career as a pharmacist at the University of Washington. Learn more about our nationally and globally top-ranked PharmD Program.

Link to Department of Pharmacy archived news