Pharmacy Students Affected By Pandemic in Multiple Ways

How has COVID-19 affected our lives?

The entire world has joined forces to fight against the pandemic disease that is COVID-19. People flock to grocery stores to stock up on essentials in case their quarantine becomes extended. Preparing for social distancing can benefit everyone as we work together to slow down the virus. Theaters, restaurants, and small businesses have closed to stop the spread of the disease.

Most importantly for students, schools across the United State have closed their doors, but continue to teach by using online learning wherever possible. Current pharmacy students wonder how this will impact their curriculum and graduation requirements. How has COVID-19 affected our lives?

Students in their final year are concerned if they will finish school on time. For those who have not yet graduated, their ceremony might be delayed, due to rotations. We have already purchased our regalia, and decided how we will dress up for the occasion. We looked forward to celebrating our accomplishments surrounded by family and friends. I still hope that we will have our ceremony, just maybe at a different time.

Students across the country have been removed from their advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) to decrease their chances of catching the virus and spreading it to others. This allows practicing pharmacists to devote more time to patient care. It remains unclear how students will meet graduation requirements. Hopefully the pharmacy boards will work together to solve this problem. Those who have jobs lined up or residencies beginning in July or mid-June are concerned about their employment.

Students who took classes on campus now participate in e-learning. At my school, Rosalind Franklin University, all courses have been moved to an online format. Thanks to technology, students can continue to study together via Skype, phones, and other forms of chat. Our faculty support us by providing study materials, and helping students navigate this new way of learning. We still have access to high-quality lectures by watching them from home. Professors are available through email to answer any questions that they may have. Everyone should keep an eye on the correspondence from their schools for new updates about the situation.

However, even though this is inconvenient for students and faculty, we need to look at this from the perspective of health care providers. We can work together to keep the public safe. Students can set an example by practicing social distancing as much as possible. We can educate our friends and families about the CDC’s recommendations.

The best way we can protect everyone is to stay home, and work towards becoming the best pharmacists that we can be.

Betty Derza is a 2020 Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in North Chicago, IL.