As a current P4 student at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, I have spent the past six months out of the classroom completing my Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE rotations). Last December, when choosing which rotations to apply for, the decision to include the Missouri Pharmacy Association (MPA) as number one on my preference list was an easy one. Completing a rotation with MPA has always been part of my plans for this year and has been an experience that I have been looking forward to for quite some time.
When I entered St. Louis College of Pharmacy as a transfer student three years ago, I quickly looked for ways to get involved with the school’s student professional organizations. My exploration led me to accept the position of student liaison with the Missouri Pharmacy Association. As the liaison, I had the opportunity to work closely with the staff at MPA to facilitate events for students on STLCOP’s campus and to coordinate student attendance at MPA’s Legislative Day and regional and state meetings. The position allowed me not only to become a student leader on campus, but also to create connections within the Missouri pharmacy community. Working with the wonderful staff at MPA has facilitated personal and professional growth by fostering leadership and nurturing relationships. Attendance at MPA events has supplemented my academic experience by exposing me to local and statewide pharmacist programs and initiatives, legislative issues and processes, and the regulation of Missouri payment and reimbursement structures, among many other things.
I have spent the past five weeks on rotation with MPA, and I have had the opportunity to take advantage of a very unique experience. The rotation’s preceptor, Dr. George Oestreich, is a consultant pharmacist in mid-Missouri and works closely with MPA. As a result of this unique structure, my rotation time was split between the MPA office and G.L.O. and Associates pharmaceutical consulting services. I have had the opportunity to attend several meetings and to learn about how consultant pharmacists work with state agencies and private organizations to provide pharmacy knowledge and expertise.
I had the opportunity to attend the MO HealthNet (Missouri Medicaid) Drug Utilization Review Board meeting in October. Attendance at this meeting allowed me to more fully understand the structure of MO HealthNet. I was able to attend a meeting of the Missouri Board of Pharmacy, which provided insight into the current activities of the Board and pertinent information for pharmacists and pharmacies. As augmentation to my classroom learning, I was given the opportunity to gain extensive knowledge about Missouri Medicaid. I had the opportunity to visit two federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) as part of a pilot program targeted at developing formal pharmacy involvement in the primary care team. I was also able to attend pilot sessions of a mid-Missouri telehealth clinic on chronic pain management and to compose a didactic presentation for use at a clinic session. It was especially interesting to me to have the opportunity to learn about these programs and to be able to experience the behind-the-scenes workings of a pilot program.
As part of my work with the rotation preceptor and his consultant service, I was able to learn about how pharmacy payment systems operate, including private third party payers, Medicare, and Medicaid. My pharmacy work experience has been singularly in inpatient hospital pharmacies, so my exposure to payment and reimbursement has been very limited in the past. Dr. George Oestreich and Dr. Jennifer Kemp-Cornelius at G.L.O. and Associates discussed the payment process with me and demonstrated several electronic tools that are available to pharmacists and health professionals, and I am grateful for the time that they have dedicated to teaching me.
MPA hosts an annual convention and trade show that varies in location yearly, as well as regional meetings called “Fall Pharmacy Nights.” These regional meetings take place in multiple areas throughout the state and allow pharmacists, students, and technicians to receive an update about the current initiatives of MPA and pertinent pharmacy happenings. I have attended Fall Pharmacy Nights in the past as St. Louis College of Pharmacy’s student liaison, and I was grateful to be given the opportunity to attend again this year. Working closely with MPA keeps me informed of the status of my profession and allows me to maintain communication with the pharmacy community.
A career as a pharmacist equates to numerous different potential career paths. As a student, I have tried to vary my experiences and gain insight into the opportunities that are available in my profession. Having the opportunity to complete this rotation has shown me that the profession is multi-faceted and that career paths are not always focused on one general area. The experience that I have gained has allowed me to understand a part of pharmacy that I was previously aware of but did not fully understand. I am grateful for the opportunity to have had exposure to consultant pharmacy and to learn about what being a consultant means.
This experience has given me a unique insight into consultant pharmacy, while providing exposure to the advocacy, education, and outreach that MPA provides for the Missouri pharmacy community. I would like to thank the staff at the Missouri Pharmacy Association and Dr. George Oestreich and Dr. Jennifer Kemp-Cornelius with G.L.O. and Associates for their time and effort hosting my rotation and teaching me. I am very grateful to have had this opportunity.
Mary Naeger, Pharm.D. candidate, 2015
St. Louis College of Pharmacy