Complete Story

OPA Student Rotations

An Eye-Opening Experience

Melanie Hawkins, Pharm.D. Candidate, The Ohio State University, and OPA Extern

It is funny how the things that affect a person’s profession and career the most are the things that a person knows the least about. Before starting my rotation at OPA, I was often asked, "What is OPA/" and "What will you do at OPA that involves pharmacy?" These questions not only came from friends and family, but most came from pharmacists and pharmacy students.

OPA offers many benefits to pharmacy besides protecting the profession. I attended an array of committee and task force meetings, including meetings on pharmacy economics, member services and development, public and professional relations, pharmacist preparedness, and disease state management. I was able to learn about the numerous issues that impact the pharmacy profession such as Medicare, and foreign drug importation, all while networking with future colleagues. I was impressed at how friendly everyone was and how interested they were in hearing my opinion on the issues being discussed. I also attended an OPA board meeting and long range planning session; and three adjudication hearings at the State Board of Pharmacy.

OPA promotes education to not only pharmacists through CE, but also to the general public. Pharmacy has done a poor job of educating the public about what a pharmacist's workday entails, and most have the misconception that all pharmacists do is count pills.

I was able to participate in a press conference held by OPA, the State Board of Pharmacy, and the FDA on educating consumers on the dangers of importing drugs from Canada and other countries, as well as through Internet sites. I also prepared and presented a presentation to a local Mom's Group that included information on OTC selection, how to choose and give the correct dose of medicine, poison proofing the home, and the value of the pharmacist. I prepared another presentation that will be presented to the pharmacy schools in Ohio to educate students on the role of OPA and the importance of being a member. I also designed a booth for the NBC 4 Health & Fitness Fair.

OPA has opened my eyes with all these experiences and the wonderful staff, and set a very high standard for my eight remaining clinical rotations. I can only hope that I will learn as many valuable lessons on those rotations as I have learned here at OPA.

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