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Outside the classroom

Practice Experience Program (PEP)

The College of Pharmacy provides several opportunities for students to apply the knowledge they’re learning in classes, labs, and tutorials. You’ll be able to participate in clinical rotations in a hospital or community pharmacy setting, where you’ll observe the varied roles of a pharmacist in patient or client care. These clinical rotations are part of the College’s Practice Experience Program (PEP).

PEP rotations provide opportunities for students to continue to develop professional and interpersonal skills in real-life practice settings. During each PEP, you’ll be observed and assessed based on the skills and topics you should know at that point in your studies in the Pharmacy program.

Before you begin the PEP, you’ll fill out a questionnaire about your personal learning objectives for the clinical rotation and how you plan on achieving them, noting your strengths and what skills you would like to improve. You can also specify a particular interest in a disease state or patient population that you might like to work with.

Preceptor supervision

Prior to beginning your PEP rotation, you must acquire a license. During your rotation, you must work under the direct supervision of a licensed pharmacist preceptor at all times. Advice provided from any pharmacy students to patients, caregivers, prescribers, or other health-care professionals must be provided at all times under the direct supervision of the pharmacist preceptor.

If you are doing a rotation in a hospital setting, you can arrange to participate in patient care rounds with a pharmacist. You could also work with or shadow a pharmacist for a morning or afternoon while they are providing clinical or direct patient care services to a specific hospital floor, service, or affiliated patient clinic.

At the end of the clinical rotation, you’ll complete a self-assessment form that you’ll discuss with your preceptor. In addition to the skills you wished to improve, you’ll also be required to demonstrate:

  • effective verbal, non-verbal, listening and written communication skills
  • professionalism during pharmacy practice activities
  • skills of self-reflection, self-assessment and self-improvement
  • skills of self-motivation and initiative

Self-assessment criteria

  • commitment to each patient regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, health, cultural or educational background or economic status
  • presenting yourself in a professional manner at all times
  • appropriate verbal, non-verbal, writing and listening skills
  • sensitivity, compassion, respect and empathy to patient concerns
  • ability to adapt communication to the needs of the patient
  • and more.

You’ll also be required to write a two-page case presentation on a particular patient you encountered during your rotation, as well as a list of the medications he or she was taking. Your case presentation will not be reviewed by your preceptor, but you will have the opportunity to receive feedback on your presentation during skills lab the following academic term.

Student story

Gaining practice in a community pharmacy
Pharmacy_lauren hutton_portrait_2_110 (2) (69x69)

Lauren Hutton, going into her fourth and final year in her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy (BScPharm) degree, is doing a Practice Experience Program (PEP) rotation in a community pharmacy just outside of Halifax. Read about what her responsibilities involve, and how she wants to give back to the pharmacy's clients.

"It all helps make what I've learned more concrete."