Top Counselor Crowned
APhA-ASP President McGregor to Represent UHCOP at National Patient Counseling Competition After Clinching Local Win
UH College of Pharmacy third-year Pharm.D. student Erin McGregor, current president of the college's American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists, stepped into a new leadership role Feb. 1 as she was crowned winner of the UH APhA-ASP Patient Counseling Competition.
McGregor will now represent UHCOP in the National Patient Counseling Competition, which will take place during the 2016 APhA Annual Meeting & Exposition March 4-7 in Baltimore.
Nearly 60 UHCOP students participated in this year's local competition, with only 6 points separating the winner from the 10th place finalist and one-tenth of a point separating the winner from the second-place finalist. This year's second- through fifth-place finalists, who received a gift certificate from APhA redeemable for reference materials, were: Bianca Romero, who won the local competition last year; Katie Bohmfalk; Devon El-Dana; and Sara Mirjamali. Rounding out the top 10 were (in no specific order): Diane Dreucean, Rohan Dwivedi, Pauline Nguyen, Leila Petok, and Ryan Winslow.
View event photos in our Flickr album.
"Every year, I'm amazed at the high quality of the students participating in the competition, regardless of whether they're in their first year or fourth year," said UHCOP alumna Debbie Veselka, R.Ph., clinical care coordinator for competition sponsor Kroger Pharmacy and one of the judges. "I know the patients they serve will be very grateful to be on the receiving end of their talent and expertise."
Before the students meet with the standardized patient, they are given a short window of time to prepare by reviewing a copy of the patient profile and the medication prescribed as well as access to standard pharmacy reference materials.
In counseling the patient (or patient proxy, if counseling an authorized "relative" of the patient) on the new medication, students are expected to effectively explain its purpose, how it should be taken or applied, and review the information to ensure patient comprehension of the instructions.
Depending on the medication involved, students may also be required to communicate special instructions, such as how the medication should be taken in relation to food, beverages or other medications; any side effects the patient may experience, such as drowsiness or nausea; and what to do if a dose is missed. Judging criteria includes not only the accuracy and thoroughness of the student's communication, but also the use of effective communication techniques, including nonverbal behaviors (such as eye contact), patient-appropriate language, empathy, and logical progression of key points.
The video-recorded sessions are reviewed by a panel of judges comprising professional pharmacists and non-pharmacists and scored based on criteria related to their professional competence and communication ability. As students advance from the preliminary round to the final round, the specific scenario and evaluation criteria become more complex and detailed.
Judging criteria includes not only the accuracy and thoroughness of the student's communication, but also the use of effective communication techniques, including nonverbal behaviors (such as eye contact), patient-appropriate language, empathy, and logical progression of key points.
The UH APhA-ASP Patient Counseling Competition is sponsored by Kroger, which also will cover McGregor's travel and registration expenses to attend the national meeting and take part in the competition.