Pharmacy in the Frontier

Spring Semester Update 1

by on Feb.18, 2011, under Classes

As usual, I find myself unable to update on a regular schedule, so this will suffice for the time being.  This seems to be the case even though this is the “easier” semester according to most at the Rangel College of Pharmacy. This is mostly because the amount of “busy work” increased this semester, with assignments for several classes on either a weekly or monthly basis.

This semester consists of the following courses:

- PHAR 611 – Principles of Drug Action II
- PHAR 628 – Research Methods – Biostatistics
- PHAR 642 – Pharmaceutics I – Lecture and Lab
- PHAR 657 – Law and Ethics
- PHAR 658 – Pharmacoepidemiology
- PHAR 673 – Self Care and Integrative Medicine

Drug Action is proving to be challenging to me (which hasn’t changed since last semester).  Oddly, unlike last semester, the Medicinal Chemistry portion is clicking with me better than the Pharmacology portion.

Pharmaceutics lab so far is quite interesting.  Before taking this lab session, I became very disillusioned by the labs I took in undergraduate.  But after coming here, the labs have been mostly enjoyable to me.  I sometimes attribute that to the fact we’re not stuck in a dingy, dark basement with leaking pipes and unclean instruments (I’m looking at you, Fleming). The lab here is pretty much brand new.  Each person has his or her own station (shared with two others, but they are in at a separate time), which comes with a scale, heater/magnetic stirrer, sink, etc. It’s liberating to have that sort of equipment to yourself without having to wait on others to use it. But the majority of it deals with my interest in compounding and the activities we deal with now may become of use to us as pharmacists (clinical, compounding, etc.).  For example, two weeks ago, we made medicinal powders. Last week, we created capsules with liquid suspensions and powders.  This week, since we were dealing with lozenges and medicinal sticks, we created lollipops and chap stick.

I also find Law and Ethics to be quite interesting.  Sure, this one involves more work since you have to read the textbook for most of the information regarding the law as well as creating questions every week, but it deals with the boundaries in which one will operate one’s practice in the future.  It also gave me another opportunity to work with my group from last semester, which I am extremely grateful for.  We presented a portion of the law regarding controlled substances under the Federal Controlled Substances Act and the Texas Controlled Substances Act to the class today, which turned out very well.  The equipment given to us in the college allowed us to present the material in a way that engaged the class, rather than to make them listen to yet another lecture presented by their peers.

I also have an interest in torts, but that’s a story for another day.

In pharmacoepidemiology, we’ve been covering the methods in which people discover the causes and origins of diseases and how they were dealt with (one of the subjects recently, I believe, involved the H1N1 virus, Smallpox, etc.).  Unlike most of the professors, the slides uploaded here are incomplete.  There are blank portions to ensure that a) you’re paying attention, and b) you can read the book to fill in the blanks while studying.

Self-Care deals with the OTC (over the counter) possibilities of treating patients, as well as the basic knowledge of common medical issues with the patients that come in for OTC treatment.  There is also a lab session with this particular course, but it only occurs about… three or four times this semester.

That mostly sums up the courses for this semester.

I am also pleased to say I’ve been involved in the interview process (not a huuuuge role, but a role nonetheless) this semester, and that will be in the very next post.


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