IPPE (Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience) and APPE (Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience) are a huge part of pharmacy school. They provide real world opportunities to learn, grow, and complement the academic material we learn in the classroom.
IPPE includes all curriculum pharmacy experiences from the first to third year of pharmacy school. These experiences can vary between students based on site, preceptor, and activity but I will share a little about my experiences. During my first year I completed 50 hours at Target community pharmacy (right before they became CVS pharmacy). At the time, I interned at Kroger pharmacy, so this was a chance to learn about a different community site, system, and workflow. My preceptor reviewed and categorized the entire OTC section, which I really appreciated because a lot of questions from customers or patients are about OTC medications. I also completed a geriatric IPPE rotation which was very unique and memorable. For this experience, four of my classmates and I visited an independent senior living community once per week throughout a semester. We played card games, attended facility sponsored events, and completed medication reviews. The goal of this rotation was to improve our skills and comfortability interacting with the geriatric population. As a second-year pharmacy student, I completed 40 hours of hospital pharmacy experience at OSU Ross Heart Hospital. Paired with another student, I participated in multidisciplinary rounds, drug information questions, and clinical trial data reviews. By the end, I had a better understanding of hospital pharmacy and how to communicate within a healthcare team. I also completed 20 hours of medication reconciliation at OSU Ross Heart Hospital during the summer. I learned the importance of interviewing patients, calling pharmacies to obtain an accurate list of medication, and being detailed. This process can be challenging when the patient is unable to confirm their medications, they use multiple pharmacies to fill their prescriptions, or they have complicated medication regimens. At the beginning of my third year, I completed 20 hours of ambulatory care experience at OSU Total Health and Wellness Clinic. I spent time shadowing my preceptor during patient appointments as well as counseling patients on topics such as diabetes, hypertension, and tobacco cessation. Later in the semester I completed 40 hours with pharmacists at Riverside Methodist Hospital in various areas: cardiology, emergency medicine, hospice, palliative care, intensive care, and neurological critical care. Collectively, these experiences have given me an idea of what to expect for APPE.
APPE makes up the fourth year of pharmacy school with 9 monthly rotations. Those 9 rotations include: 2 hospital, 2 community, 1 ambulatory care, 2 patient care, and 2 elective. Faculty, preceptors, and previous students are available to help guide students through this process as it can be overwhelming given the many types of rotations available. The scheduling of these monthly rotations is mostly done via a computer-generated match system based on individual student rank lists. Rotations that do not use the match system require a separate application. When ranking rotations, there are many things to consider such as: location, career goals, finances, etc. I am currently anxiously awaiting my APPE schedule, however, based on the rotation sites that OSU has to offer, I know I will learn wherever I go.