5 Ways Pharmacy Students Can Help During Pandemic

There is a number of things that pharmacy students can do to help their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On many occasions throughout the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, I’ve asked myself, “What can I do? I’m just a pharmacy student.”

I know I’m not the only one who’s been asking this question. Upon reflection, there is, in fact, a number of things that pharmacy students can do to help. Here are my top 5:

  • Share reputable news and medical advice from trusted sources. In the United States, many of us all are aware of the effect of ‘fake news’. However, now more than ever, it is important to be able to tell what is reputable and what is not. As a pharmacy student you have most likely had to take a class or a series of lectures on literature evaluation. We need to put this into practice and ensure that we spread news based on legitimate scientific facts. There are all sorts of quackery out there, and we must do our part to help those who may struggle to decipher what is real and what is not real. Also, like research, if there is a missing gap in graphics or information, you can fill in this gap.
  • Providing customers with care. If you are working, interning, or on IPPE/APPE rotations, we can teach our patients about proper hygiene techniques, symptoms of COVID-19, and other related topics. We can also help provide relief for pharmacies who may need an extra hand during these times.
  • Stay connected. Humans are social beings. Now more than ever, the importance of preservation of mental health is extremely important. We must find ways to stay connected with our friends, family, and community, whether it’s video-chatting, having a phone call, or sending a quick text message. By doing so, it not only helps you, but it helps those around you. I’ve found it useful to help those who may be distressed search for the silver lining in our current situation. For example, although we are going through a pandemic, our CO2 emissions are lowered, individuals are spending more time with their families, and some people finally have a chance to complete those personal-projects they have been putting off for years, because of social distancing.
  • Participate in research. Although this may not be an option for every student, there are opportunities for pharmacy students to help research COVID-19. For example, in my home state there are a few students from the Texas Tech University Health Science Center-School of Pharmacy that are participating in direct research on the nature of the virus.
  • Continue pharmacy studies. For the most part, schools have transitioned online for the time being. With this in mind, we are blessed to be given the opportunity to continue our higher education and we must take full advantage of this opportunity. Although we are not physically present in our schools, we are inching closer to the time that we will become practicing professionals. We must also learn from our mistakes so that in the case that another unprecedented event happens within our lifetime we will be better prepared.

Being a pharmacy student doesn’t limit you from taking care of our community during this outbreak. It is known that with enough small contributions many goals can be met. Therefore, the impact you make, no matter how small, truly goes a long way.

Many of us have grown up knowing the old adage “It takes a village to raise a child.” Well I’d like to propose an adjustment so that it says, “It takes each individual in a society to create a healthy environment.”

Jared C. Sheneman is a 2021 PharmD candidate at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy in Texas.