Monday, October 7, 2013


I'm going to preface this with: these are only my opinions based on my own experience and what my friends and I discuss. This is more a comical recollection of "don't let this happen to you..."

So... APPEs (Advanced pharmacy practice experience) is the year where we pay the school money to work for free. Depending on your school and your experiences, it feels like slave labor (aka doing things you do as an intern in the community for pay) OR it can be an amazing learning experience.

I've only had a few rotations so far and I've experienced both ends of the spectrum. I've been bored to death at a community pharmacy because they ran out of things to show me and I've been driven into the ground with work in an overwhelming, yet amazing learning experience.

Tips for surviving your APPE...

1) DON'T be an asshole. Seriously, even if you think you know everything, you probably don't. You're here to learn, they're here to teach you. Pharmacy is a small, small world. Don't burn your bridges.
1b) Don't talk back to your preceptor. If s/he says, "look something up", just go do it. If you have to look up a lot of stuff, chances are you need to brush up on your stuff. Don't throw back attitude and say "why don't YOU look it up?

I know those two seem like common sense... but from collective experiences... common sense is severely lacking for some.

2) If you're going to do a journal club or case presentation... be prepared to know it inside and out. Especially if you have a challenging preceptor. Be thorough and concise. No one wants to sit through a 2 hour case presentation full of arbitrary information.

3) SPELL CHECK. For the love of god. Spell check everything.

4) Be personable. Ask questions when you don't know about something. Like didactics, this experience is partly what YOU make of it. If you're going to sulk in a corner, it's going to be a long shitty block. Try and interact with everyone there. Chances are you're bound to at least connect with someone in the pharmacy.

5) DO NOT ask for extensions (unless an unforeseen emergency like a family illness or the like occurs). Deadlines are given in advance for a reason... learn to manage your time. It makes you look really unreliable and irresponsible if you're constantly asking for extensions. I'd probably pull an all nighter (difficult at my old age) before requesting an extension.

6) If you have a special interest, try and see if you can pursue that, but do not act like a 5 year old on a temper tantrum if the preceptor would prefer another project. You're going to need to be well rounded for boards anyways and you never know what you could fall in love with.

And now I'm sleepy... (APPE narcolepsy) perhaps there'll be a part II some day.