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OPA Student Rotations: The True Pharmacy Experience

Kara D. Smith, PharmD Candidate, Ohio Northern University, OPA Extern

When I would tell people, I am doing a rotation at Ohio Pharmacists Association (OPA), the typical response would be, What do you do there? What I do there is learn everything about pharmacy that school doesn't teach you, and more. Along with attending meetings, networking, learning about the legislature, I also learned that it doesn't matter whether you are a clinical, hospital, or retail pharmacist. What matters is that we got into this profession to help people, and in return, OPA is here to help the pharmacists and protect their rights.

During my rotation at OPA in September, the federal tamper-resistant paper legislation for all Medicaid prescriptions was scheduled to become effective October 1. OPA Executive Director Ernie Boyd visited legislators in Washington DC, and was successful in helping delay implementation for six months. Implementation of the new Ohio immunization laws/rules and the proposed technician legislation were also front-burner. The OPA staff worked hard on drafting a new immunization home study lesson, and updating and drafting immunization protocols for immunizing pharmacists. The pharmacy technician bill involves regulation of pharmacy technicians by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy.

I attended a variety of different meetings during my rotation. The OPA Compounding Special Interest Group (SIG) discussed issues affecting compounding pharmacists. The Pharmacy Economics Committee addressed third party reconciliation technology, workers' comp, Medicaid/Medicare, PBM legislation, along with other current issues. I also attended the State Board of Pharmacy Reciprocity Hearing, some adjudication hearings, and an administrative business meeting. I helped staff OPA's Annual Licensure Ceremony, where newly licensed pharmacists received their wall license. After the Licensure Ceremony, I attended the inaugural meeting of the Ohio Pharmacy Consortium. At the Pharmacist Preparedness Task Force meeting, it was interesting to see pharmacists involved in disaster planning.

I helped in the production of the Ohio Pharmacist journal, editing and writing articles. In addition, I drafted a student e-bulletin welcoming them to the new school year and letting them know what was happening at OPA.

The assignment to create a PowerPoint about inhalant abuse for sixth graders, which I in turn was able to present to two different classes at a local school, was a fun challenge.

I would highly recommend this rotation. I learned so much from Ernie Boyd, Amy Bennett, and the entire staff. They not only excel in their positions, but are kind, welcoming and willing to help. This rotation teaches you the importance of the involvement of pharmacists in their own careers, along with important life lessons worth learning. It is another side of pharmacy and I will forever be changed from my experiences and time spent here.

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