A Potential Way to Save Pharmacy Students Money During Rotations


Student pharmacists pay a premium in their last professional year to complete their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences.

Student pharmacists pay a premium in their last professional year to complete their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs). It’s the most expensive year for them, when it could potentially be the least.

When 138 pharmacy schools coordinate 4-,5-, and 6-week rotations from their experiential offices, it creates an annual scramble for pharmacy students to find housing. For preceptors taking students from multiple schools, it creates a logistical mess.

Many students must leave their jobs to travel to APPE sites that may or may not be their preference, making it even more difficult for them financially. Many also attend ASHP Midyear to seek residencies and then travel to interviews for those positions. This all costs money.

What if pharmacy schools actively moved students to their home-centered hubs for this last year, giving them the option to make it less expensive and more flexible? What if there was a national clearinghouse so someone from Illinois who went to school in another Midwest state could center their experiential learning on options in their hometown? It would take an agreement from the academy to standardize rotation dates, a desire to work as a consortium, and a willingness to center the last year literally around students’ needs.

I attended pharmacy school in Baltimore, but I’m from Montgomery County, a Maryland suburb about 30 minutes south of the city. I kept my Baltimore apartment and centered my rotations from there, but I also went to Florida, Arizona, and my home county, all the while paying rent for a place where I often didn’t live. Imagine how much I could’ve saved in rent just staying on rotation around my hometown.

My current program’s elective nonclinical site rotation is one of a few in the country that offers the opportunity to work directly teaching pharmacy technician students. When APPE students have approached me, they were generally from within a 20-mile radius geographically.

What if instead of having to apply to each pharmacy school to become a preceptor, I could put my site into a clearinghouse that allowed me to click a button to permit any school to contact me? Pharmacy boards currently accept license transfers from other states, so why not accept a preceptor transfer who already has agreements with another pharmacy school?

Although this is all a thought experiment, it would result in no loss of revenue to the pharmacy schools and offer students in their last professional year the flexibility and cost savings that could help them succeed in today’s job market.

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