In preparation for the American Pharmacists Association, APhA, National Patient Counseling Competition, NPCC, Pacific’s Academy of Student Pharmacist, ASP, hosted a local Patient Counseling Competition to select the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences representative.

The NPCC encourages student pharmacists in their efforts toward becoming better patient educators. The competition is designed to reflect changes that are occurring in practice, to promote and encourage further professional development of the student pharmacist and to reinforce the role of the pharmacist as a health care provider and educator.

In early March, nearly 30 student pharmacists came out to compete in the preliminary rounds to become one of Pacific’s top 15 finalists. On March 14, 2011, the top finalists competed once more in the final round for the spot as the local winner.

The competition took place in the Speech-Language Pathology Hearing and Balance Clinics. The two way mirror between the clinic room and observation room allowed the finalist to interact with the patient in a clinic setting and the judges to observe the counseling without distracting the finalist.

Per NPCC guidelines, students were allowed five minutes in the preparation room with information on the patient profile, prescription, and medication resources. Students were given five minutes to provide medication education and consultation to the patient. Similar to national finals, the patient was asked to display one character trait to challenge the participants’ ability to convey pertinent information in a realistic situation.

The judges take notes as they listen to each student competitor.

For the local competition, each finalist counseled the patient on safe and effective drug use of Toprol XL (metoprolol succinate). Tropol XL is used to treat high blood pressure. Each finalist was judged on their counseling points, counseling session, and communication ability such as their introduction, confirming the patient’s information, explaining the purpose of the medication, and using appropriate nonverbal behaviors.

Julie Na ’12 was selected as the winner and will be representing the School at the national competition during APhA’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in March 2012 in New Orleans.

“Patient counseling is a vital aspect of our profession. I truly believe that this competition served as a beneficial experience to all the student competitors as it enhanced their ability to communicate effectively and provide the best possible healthcare to our patients,” commented Michael Conner ’12, ASP VP of Student Affairs, who coordinated this competition.

ASP would like to thank the judges Drs. Nam Nguyen ’08, Suzanne Galal, and Marie Cottman ’97, who was the 1996 APhA NPCC winner, and Lupe Mazuka, Office of Professional Student Affairs, as the acting patient.

By Dua Her '09
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