In the 2014 third quarter issue of the Missouri Pharmacist magazine, we printed a story about Dr. Cameron Lindsey’s Comprehensive Diabetes Management elective class at UMKC School of Pharmacy. Jordan Meyers, Pharm.D. Candidate 2015, has provided a follow up blog to the story written by Lauren Titterington, Pharm.D. Candidate 2015, about her experience in the class so we could share during American Diabetes Month.
To be honest, I signed up for the Comprehensive Diabetes Management elective to fulfill my required elective hours. It was one of the few electives offered that semester that fit into my schedule, but one that I had heard was very informative. I thought taking a course focused on diabetes would finally allow me to memorize the multiple classes of diabetic agents and all the important information associated with them. However, the elective went above and beyond the pharmaceutical aspect of diabetes.
One activity I enjoyed was the formation of a recipe. We were asked to prepare a food that provided carbohydrates, fat, and protein. To finish the assignment, we were to create a recipe and a food label. The preparation of my dish took much longer than I expected because of the amount of time it took to calculate the nutritional breakdown per serving. I plan to remember how time consuming the activity was when I ask patients in the future to watch what they eat and to calculate carbohydrates.
The activity that most affected me as a future pharmacist was the activity that put us in the shoes of a diabetic patient. We were assigned one of four different patients and were asked to follow their pharmaceutical plan including oral medications, injections and other non-pharmacological therapies such as foot exams and finger sticks. The patient I was assigned to did not take insulin, but was required to perform alternate site testing a couple times each day. Surprisingly, I did not have any experience with alternate site testing before the elective. On top of testing my blood sugar multiple times a day, I had to remember to take my oral medications and perform foot exams. I had to calculate carbohydrates with each meal or snack I ate and brush my teeth twice a day. By the end of the assignment, I understood how time consuming being adherent can be and what exactly pharmacists are asking their patients to do when they encourage patients to take an active part in controlling their medical condition.
A guest lecturer came into our class and spoke about the struggles she had faced and continues to face as the parent of a young girl diagnosed with diabetes. She spoke of things I had not thought of and her words strongly affected me. She helped me realize that family members of diabetic patients are affected too and might have questions that pharmacists can answer. Pharmacists should not always focus solely on the diagnosed individual.
Another activity that I enjoyed was participating in an online class led by a diabetic patient speaking to others about insulin and its benefits versus common speculations. It was wonderful to see patients encouraging other patients to control their diabetes. This activity allowed us to ask patients what they want most from the pharmacist and what we can do to be better pharmacists in the future.
Other topics we covered throughout the course included insulin pumps, pediatric and geriatric diabetic care, new and emerging diabetic treatments, and inpatient glycemic issues. All of the topics and guest lecturers taught me something new and in one way or another, changed the way I will practice as a pharmacist.
Pharm.D. Candidate, Class of 2015
UMKC School of Pharmacy