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(January 10, 2002, Gazette)

A little help from their friends

Not every gift has to have a large dollar value to be appreciated by students. In the School of Pharmacy, students are pleased that many community pharmacies have become involved in their education through small, practical gifts or by providing hands-on training workshops.

“For example, a few years ago Walmart started giving each pharmacy student a certificate for CPR (cardiopulmonary resusitation),” explained Christina Tulk, who is in her final year of studies. “Walmart themselves identified the need and by giving these certificates that company ensures that students will take the training.”

Ms. Tulk said it is important to know CPR because often in a community pharmacy it is the pharmacist who is the only one with the training. “If we can get it as a student, then we are more prepared to start our own career. Without the help of Walmart, it might be a financial strain for some students.”

Dale Turner, also a pharmacy student in his final year, said he and Christina have both been involved with the Pharmacy
Student Society and have found community pharmacies more than willing to help in any way they can.

“During orientation week they provide everything from promotional items to financial help,” he said. “But even more important they will come in an do actual workshop day on topics like smoking cessation or blood glucose monitoring. It’s not just the financial help, it’s extra-curricular, help with the activities, and role modeling.”

As part of their education, each pharmacy student does three summer studentships of 12 weeks each.

“Generally we’re out in the community, or sometimes in a hospital or industry setting,” said Ms. Tulk. “Most students go into the community where you interact and basically have all the responsibilities of a community pharmacist with the exception of dispensing. As a result of these experience, a lot of students also have the opportunity to work part-time at the same pharmacy.”

Mr. Turner said pharmacy students, like all students, really appreciate help.

“I know for myself, the scholarships I’ve received have been really important. But in general students appreciate gifts of knowledge and things like workshops that help them in a professional sense — these are the really useful gifts.”