Caroline Gordon's review of the 2017 ACCP Conference
Most incoming pharmacy students tend to think that their upcoming courses will be the most challenging part of pharmacy school. However, they forget about all the “extras” that come with being a pharmacy student. At orientation, there are so many organizations that you could potentially become involved with. As a first-year pharmacy student in 2015, I thought to myself how can I choose just one organization? Which organization will be the perfect match for me? I weighed my options and I knew that the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, ACCP, was the organization I wanted to become involved with. At the time, the ACCP chapter at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy was relatively new, and smaller in size compared to the other established organizations. However, what I saw, was potential for the ACCP chapter to make an impact in our community and I knew that I could make a difference. Through an organization such as ACCP, pharmacy students have the opportunity to advocate for the role of clinical pharmacists in providing direct patient care, while promoting dedication to excellence in patient care, research, and education. Immediately, I knew this was a group of individuals that I wanted to work with. Currently I am a third-year pharmacy student, and the president of our ACCP chapter. As president of ACCP, I try to focus everyday on living my life through the ACCP mission statement, which is to improve human health by extending the frontiers of clinical pharmacy. I attempt to incorporate the ACCP core values of dedication to excellence in patient care, research, education, and into my life as I work my way through my pharmacy student career pathway.
American College of Clinical Pharmacy Annual Meeting
Every fall, ACCP hosts an annual conference for clinical pharmacists across the country. As president of my local ACCP chapter, I wanted to attend the national conference this year. Fortunately, through my contributions to a research project with a fellow classmate and my mentor, Dr. Brandon Bookstaver, I was able to attend and present my work at the 2017 ACCP Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. My trip to Phoenix was the first time I had ever traveled to the West Coast and to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I had never dealt with a change in time zones or “jet lag”, so I did not really know what to expect. I had always heard “jet lag” was real, but I did not fully understand the concept until it was ten o’clock at night in Phoenix and I could barely keep my eyes open! As a pharmacy student, I am accustomed to countless late nights, but this was something else.
The annual meeting soon turned into an eye-opening experience for me. I would check the list of scheduled talks and professional development activities occurring each day and decide which ones to attend based on what best fit my needs and interests. On the first day, I attended a residency development course titled “Emerge from the Crowd”. This interactive lecture series consisted of prepping students on the do’s and don’ts of how to stand out as a student applying to a residency program. I was also able to attend a presentation from one of my professors from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, and ACCP student chapter advisor, Dr. Leann Norris. She spoke on chemotherapy treatment, and presented three different patient cases in which the patients were taking chemotherapeutics that induced an endocrinopathy. Other professors from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy attended the annual meeting, including my research advisor, Dr. Bookstaver, an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Outcomes Sciences at the College of Pharmacy. These professors not only helped guide our professional development, but also introduced my fellow classmates and I to different health-care professionals and pharmacists attending the conference. As I had heard going into the weekend, the events and meeting quickly turned into a networking event. I began the second day of the meeting by attending the ACCP Professional Placement Forum. This forum consisted of different residency, fellowship, and entry-level programs that allowed us the opportunity to speak individually with the directors and program representatives. As a third-year pharmacy student surrounded by many fourth-year pharmacy students, I was overwhelmed. I had never attended a forum like this before. However, after putting myself out there, I quickly began to feel more comfortable, and as a result, made some great connections and learned a lot about a few potential residency programs that I might be interested in post-graduation.
My third day at the conference was my poster presentation day. This was an event that I had been preparing for and certainly looking forward to since the start of my research. I had the pleasure to present research alongside my partner Juanne Lim, a fourth-year pharmacy student at the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy. Our project was titled, “Prediction of Sulfamethoxazole/Trimethoprim Resistance in Community-Onset Urinary Tract Infections”. The objective of this poster was to predict resistance to sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim (SMX/TMP) in community-onset Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) patients. Recently, treatment for UTIs has become limited with the increasing rates among urinary isolates of Escherichia coli and other Enterobacteriacea. Prior SMX/TMP use and infections/colonization with SMX/TMP resistant bacteria were found to be statistically significant in predicting SMX/TMP resistance in urinary isolates. In conclusion of my research, it was found that utilization of patient-specific SMX/TMP resistance rates allows use of SMX/TMP for acute cystitis in individuals without risk factors for resistance. We also found that SMX/TMP may provide alternate treatment options in those with high predicted risk of fluoroquinolone resistance. One of the best parts of being able to share this poster was being able to talk with countless individuals with similar interests. It was exciting to have the opportunity to inform others about this topic, but also learn from healthcare professionals about new ideas and potential projects that we could work on from here.
Overall, I had a great experience at the 2017 ACCP Annual Meeting. To be the student chapter president of ACCP, and present a poster at the Annual Meeting could not have been done alone without help from my classmates and the constant support from the University of South College of Pharmacy faculty members. Back in South Carolina, I sit down with the other officers of ACCP, and the faculty advisors, each month to look for opportunities to improve and grow ACCP at our College of Pharmacy. Their constant engagement and contagious positive attitudes helps establish a culture of leadership and success that I feel is contagious at our College of Pharmacy.