October devoted to pharmacy

Jenna Petrak

Jenna PetrakReporter

October is American Pharmacists Month and the College of Pharmacy at SDSU is doing several activities to promote the practice of pharmacy to the SDSU community.

“Know your medications. Know your pharmacist,” said Cy Fixen, senior pharmacy student. “This is the theme and core message for American Pharmacists Month.”

Dennis Hedge, dean of the College of Pharmacy, said on Oct. 1, SDSU hosted the South Dakota Board of Pharmacy meeting at the Avera Health and Science Center. The board is responsible for making sure the practice of pharmacy is safe in South Dakota.

“They make rules and regulations for South Dakota,” Hedge said.

Oct. 22, the college held a reception for Cheri Kraemer who was recognized as a distinguished alumnus. Hedge said Kraemer was recognized by the college for her quality work, especially in compound pharmacy.

The College of Pharmacy also hosted the College of Pharmacy Convocation and Research Day on Oct. 25 in conjunction with American Pharmacists Month. Hedge said this is a day when research is highlighted and a speaker is brought to the college. Convocation and Research Day is a day to promote academic pharmacy.

“It’s raising awareness through what we already do,” Hedge said.

Hedge said to end the month; Pharmacy Days will be held on campus. Pharmacy Days are recruitment days where students can interview for summer internships and fourth year pharmacy students can interview for jobs.

Dan Hansen, assistant dean of student services said Pharmacy Days is a three-day event on campus held Oct. 27-29.

“We invite companies and hospitals to interview students,” Hansen said.

During the month of October, Hansen said the students are also given information about becoming faculty members. Students can do more than just become a pharmacist with a Pharm.D degree said Kyrsten Zimmerman, academic development assistant.

With a doctorate in pharmacy, a student can also go into education and teach at the collegiate level. Zimmerman said students could also look into researching and finding different and better ways for delivery of medications.

Hansen said pharmacy students in the Academy of Student Pharmacists or ASP, use the month of October to get the word out about pharmacy. ASP has various faculty members give presentations in correlation to pharmacy students doing different screenings for the SDSU community. Some of the topics include heartburn and immunizations. Dr. Hansen said the students do these various screenings in The Union under faculty supervision.

“This gives students good practice,” Hansen said.

Hansen said these screens are part of the curriculum and they are done throughout the year. He said ASP especially tried to do some in the month of October since it’s American Pharmacists month.

Zimmerman, who advises pre-pharmacy students and perspective students, said there is a high interest in pharmacy at SDSU. Currently, there is between 350 to 400 pre-pharmacy students. As of last spring, SDSU now admits 80 students into the pharmacy program each year. Before the Avera Health and Science Center, the college was only admitting 70 students.

Hansen said the increase in class size is a result of the new building allowing more classrooms and labs. The new labs allow the college to better simulate real life situations, especially in patient counseling and screenings.

Fixen said for pharmacy month the students want to thank everyone involved with the program, both on-campus and off campus. Fixen said the best part of the program is the faculty because they are so open to help.

“When you start pharmacy school, the faculty tells you they have an open door policy. They are always there to help,” Fixen said.

Fixen said students are also spreading awareness this month about what pharmacists really do. The senior pharmacy major said a lot of people don’t know they should be talking to their pharmacists.

“Pharmacists are the most accessible health care professionals,” Hansen said.

Hansen said pharmacists are always available to answer questions, both for prescription medications and over the counter medications. As a student, Fixen said he likes getting asked questions about medications.

“The challenge is to not think of their pharmacy as another drive-thru,” Hansen said.

Instead, Hansen said it’s something that affects your life. Medication is a serious thing and when done right is helpful, but when done wrong it can be harmful. Hansen said do not be afraid to ask questions to your pharmacist because they are the most accessible healthcare professional.

“Our college has a very proud history and historically we have had a very strong program,” Hedge said.

As the College of Pharmacy continues to grow, Hedge said they are very proud of their research and see a lot of fantastic things the college can accomplish in the future. Hedge said the best days for the College of Pharmacy are still to come.

#1.1731095:3716329026.png:Pharmacy-Submitted.png:From left to right, Mallory Muntefering, Tonya Gross, Lacee Gallagher and Amanda Ludwig, second year professional pharmacy students, worked at a flu shot clinic in Sioux Falls.:Collegian Photo by Rachelle Sather