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PharmD candidates at Roosevelt University receive specialty training

Posted: 02/03/2014
Specialty pharmacy is one of the fastest growing sectors in the healthcare industry, offering exciting opportunities for students with specialty-specific knowledge. As part of its goals to build partnerships with all specialty stakeholders, the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) is working with Colleges of Pharmacy to incorporate online education into their pharmacy curriculum and ensure that students have access to education that will help them advance in this growing field.

NASP’s educational platform, the Specialty Pharmacy Education Center (SPEC), offers approximately 175 hours of specific specialty pharmacy content, including clinical and business tracks, in 20 therapeutic categories. The online, convenient portal gives students the opportunity to access high-quality education and expand their skillset into the specialty arena.

This past fall, almost 50 PharmD students enrolled at the Roosevelt University College of Pharmacy (RUCOP) completed a series of courses via SPEC. Matt Nelson, PharmD, Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences, served as the course coordinator and oversaw it with two additional RUCOP faculty. Utilizing the four core modules, provided by the NASP through SPEC, prior to class allowed instructors to focus their workshop time on the application of knowledge obtained through SPEC and critical thinking development during live sessions.

"The SPEC education modules enabled students to develop skills in the specialty pharmacy area beyond what is available in the traditional curriculum,” Dr. Nelson stated. "We found SPEC to be a valuable teaching tool for elective course offerings in a hybrid approach.”

When surveyed, students at RUCOP strongly agreed that the online format was an "effective” way to learn the material and that they enjoyed the convenience of the online elective course offering. Respondents also agreed that they would recommend SPEC courses to other pharmacy students and seek more online courses throughout their education. In fact, the students at Roosevelt took the opportunity to seek out more information about the specialty pharmaceutical products and the role of pharmacists through NASP.

"We were delighted that NASP was able to offer such cutting-edge educational offerings for our students that were augmented by our faculty that will help prepare our graduates for the emerging model of specialty pharmacy practice,” George E. MacKinnon III, PhD, RPh, FASHP, Founding Dean and Professor of College of Pharmacy and Vice Provost for Health Sciences at Roosevelt University, said. RUCOP is exploring the offering of a Specialty Pharmacy concentration in the doctor of pharmacy program in the future.

In addition to integrating SPEC into educational curriculum, NASP now offers Student Interest Groups (SIGs) for student members to build networks among their Colleges of Pharmacy as well as in the industry. The SIGs are built on NASP’s web site platform, which allows for secure dialogue and interaction.

Pharmacy is changing, but one thing is certain—Specialty is the future. Learn more about NASP and SPEC by visiting www.nasprx.org.