In 2007, the American Council on Pharmacy Education (ACPE) revised the requirements for experiential education in pharmacy schools. The biggest change impacted early experiential education, where the standard for experiential education before the final year of the program increased to approximately 5% of the total pharmacy curriculum.
Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experiences (IPPEs) occur during the first three years of the professional degree program (P1-3 years) and expose students to pharmacy practice in hospital and community settings. At CUW SOP, two weeks in the middle of each semester are devoted to required IPPE rotations. There are no didactic courses on campus during these weeks, allowing students to focus their learning on the experiential site. During each of the first four semesters, students will complete a one-week rotation in a hospital pharmacy and a one-week rotation in a community/retail pharmacy.
CUW SOP offers both required and elective IPPE rotations. The required IPPE courses occur during each semester of the P1 and P2 years. Elective IPPE courses are offered during each semester of the P3 year.
Required IPPE Courses
IPPE-1: Fall semester of P1 year
IPPE-2: Spring semester of P1 year
IPPE-3: Fall semester of P2 year
IPPE-4: Spring semester of P2 year
During the required IPPE curriculum, students are exposed to the roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist and the importance of effective communication between pharmacists, patients, and other health care providers. CUW SOP provides required rotation activities to Clinical Instructors that integrate concepts and skills from the didactic portion of the curriculum, specifically the Applied Patient Care and pharmacotherapy series. The IPPE activities are designed to require active participation from the student; these are not shadowing experiences.
All required IPPE courses have a corresponding Learning Activity Manual (LAM). The LAM outlines the required activities that must be completed during the IPPE rotation. The activities are designed to be primarily self-directed, allowing the student to work on them independently after some initial guidance and instruction from the Clinical Instructor. The manuals also outline the assessment scale for each activity and provide reflection questions that can be used for further discussion between the Clinical Instructor and student.
Students must complete a minimum of 40 hours at each site during their IPPE week. Typically these hours are completed Monday through Friday during normal, day time business hours. However, alternate schedules are certainly possible and often enhance the students’ learning. Evening and/or weekend requirements can be considered to maximize the students’ time with their Clinical Instructor.
Elective IPPE Courses
IPPE-5 and IPPE-6 are elective opportunities within the introductory experiential education series during the P3 year. These courses are designed for the student to apply knowledge and skills from didactic coursework, Applied Patient Care lab, and previous experiential courses to real world settings. An emphasis will be placed on experiencing the pharmacist’s role in patient care and communications with patients and other health care professionals in both traditional and innovative pharmacy practice sites.
Elective IPPE rotations are longitudinal for the duration of a semester. Available rotation days are Mondays and Wednesdays in the fall semester and Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in the spring semester. Interested students are assigned to their rotation site one day each week for the duration of the semester.