Our student run free clinic, the SHARING clinic, provides Interprofessional care to the under-served community of Omaha, Nebraska. Pharmacy students and faculty have been involved with the clinic since it started 22 years ago. The role of the pharmacy students in the clinic has evolved significantly over this period. Pharmacy students’ roles in the beginning focused on dispensing medications and accessing medications for the clinic. As the clinic grew and new medication policies and processes were implemented, this allowed pharmacy students to expand to practice in an advanced clinical role on the healthcare team. Various challenges the clinic faced have also provided opportunities for pharmacy students to expand their role. Pharmacy students are now a key member for every patient visit. Every patient is assigned a pharmacy student and a medical or PA student. Patient interviews, assessments, plans, and education are shared between the pharmacy student and medical student providers. The transition of pharmacy students to this more advanced clinical role was successful for several reasons including advancement of pharmacy practice, advocacy from medical providers within the clinic, strengthening of relationships within the professions, and a shift to more interprofessional education in the didactic curriculum of each profession. Modeling of teamwork by faculty through interprofessional staffing discussions has also strengthened the acceptance of pharmacy as a key team member. Data from a study of interprofessional interactions showed the efforts to expand pharmacy’s role as part of the healthcare team has been successful with positive impact on interprofessional behaviors, as well as a better overall experience for the pharmacy student.
This session will focus on how to grow a profession’s role in a student run clinic by taking on challenges and seizing opportunities that arise.