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Peer Advice: My First IPPE - What is it and How it Went


As the Summer didactic came to a close, the lucky few (me included) started our very first Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE).

For those who do not know, IPPEs occur within the first three years of the Doctor of Pharmacy program; they are considered part-time experiences in which students are immersed in professional pharmacy work.

For our Pharm. D program, we are either assigned a June or July block; For incoming second-year pharmacy students, we did our first IPPE in a community pharmacy setting.

I was lucky enough to get my IPPE site near where I live in Fontana at my local Rite Aid. Since I previously worked as a certified Pharmacy technician for about 1.5 years at an independent chain pharmacy, I knew what I was getting myself into. Little did I know, big chain community pharmacy would be slightly different than I imagined.

Reporting on my first day, my preceptor greeted me and proceeded to show me around the pharmacy and complete some paperwork. After the niceties, I began the workflow, meeting fellow float pharmacists and pharmacy technicians. The community pharmacy ball was rolling.

As I spent the rest of June working as a student pharmacist, I can only say that my community pharmacy experience has been honed to a T. In a community pharmacy setting, you need to work FAST. From helping the drop-off window, counting capsules and tablets by hand, working the pick-up window, and answering the phone, which rang nonstop, it’s a well-calculated circus act.

As for my advice? Work fast. Be present and aware. Those four weeks will fly by. Remember that you are human and that making mistakes and learning at your own pace is expected. Luckily I was offered a position as an intern pharmacist at my IPPE site so you never know!