Experiential education is hands-on learning that takes place outside of a classroom. The CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences Office of Experiential Programs focuses on providing clinical training opportunities for pharmacy students early and throughout the PharmD program. The goal is to ensure that students will have the self-confidence and ability to practice independently upon graduation.
To achieve that goal, students are placed in community pharmacies, hospitals, ambulatory care clinics, and other innovative interprofessional pharmacy practice settings in local, national and international locations. Students are supervised by licensed healthcare practitioners, the majority of whom are pharmacists. Colorado recognizes the value of interprofessional collaboration and training, which means pharmacy students will also interact with and be supervised by physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, dentists in a variety of practice settings during the experiential phases of the program.
Exploration of pharmacy practice
The IPPE program exposes students to a wide variety of clinical experiences, with the primary focus balanced between community and health system practices. It also gives students opportunities to provide service learning to elementary school children, participate in health fairs and flu clinics, and participate in interprofessional collaborations. IPPE courses and related activities reinforce content learned in the didactic, laboratory, and simulation environments on campus through a series of short clinical visits across the first five semesters of the curriculum. Each student’s time is balanced between learning from one of the many qualified pharmacist preceptors who partner with CU Pharmacy, as well as by completing a series of targeted activities, designed to help the students to apply concepts and skills learned within the classroom setting. Students gain further experience by practicing these skills while engaging with actual patients in various pharmacy practice settings.
Application of acquired knowledge and skills
The aIPPE allows the student to engage in clinical practice under the supervision of a preceptor during an extended six-week IPPE experience, mimicking the experience of a fourth-year clinical rotation. Through the aIPPE, students will further develop the professional skills needed to provide patient care, such as engaging with patient care team members, assessing patients’ pharmaceutical care needs, and providing direct patient care. Students will have the opportunity to apply the clinical knowledge of the full CU Pharmacy core curriculum while gaining increased responsibility for patient care.
Delivery of direct patient care
The APPE program consists of a variety of extended pharmacy practice experiences throughout the fourth year. In contrast to the IPPE program, the APPE program allows the student to apply both the professional and technical skills needed to practice pharmaceutical care independently upon graduation. Under the guidance of a preceptor, the student pharmacist will be held accountable for patient care and will engage in various types of professional practice.
Advanced Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (aIPPE) – third year pharmacy students will complete a full 6-week immersive clinical experience in a practice setting of their choice to prepare them for their fourth and final year.
Colorado Commitment – every CU Pharmacy student will have an opportunity to train in rural areas throughout Colorado.
International Opportunities - CU Pharmacy has relationships with healthcare practitioners all over the world. Students will have multiple opportunities to learn how pharmacy is practiced in other countries, and provide advanced level patient care.
Medication Therapy Management (MTM) APPE – every CU Pharmacy student will complete a 3-week MTM rotation during the P4 year. That means every CU Pharmacy student can graduate as a certified MTM pharmacist!
Colorado is well known for its beautiful scenery, iconic mountain towns and outdoor activities. The University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences is proud to partner with Colorado Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to provide student placements and housing for pharmacy experiences state-wide.
As a CU Pharmacy student, you will complete experiences in a variety of practice settings. Students will also have opportunities to gain valuable insight into pharmacy practice in rural Colorado areas. Rural practice can be much different than a pharmacy in the big city, and students will gain an appreciation for the expanded scope of practice many of these pharmacists share. The School also partners with the CU School of Medicine to offer a Rural Immersion experience every summer to students selected through a competitive application process.
Health-system, ambulatory care, and community experiences are offered for students in areas including, but not limited to Steamboat Springs, Montrose, Cedaredge, Durango, Brush, Vail, Grand Junction, Pueblo, Alamosa, Fort Collins, Aspen, Nucla, and Telluride. Colorado has so much to offer – our program encourages you to get out and practice throughout our beautiful state!
Part of the required Co-Curricular Program for all first-year pharmacy students is to participate in an education partnership with Aurora Public Schools. Pharmacy students will be guided in teaching healthy eating and physical activity habits to grade-school children at four elementary schools.
Learning is a Process
Learning results from interactions between a person and his/her environment. While classroom learning is essential for certain portions of our Pharmacy curriculum, experiences outside of the classroom will help our Pharmacy students become better health care practitioners by challenging their beliefs and ideas.
What is Service Learning?
Service Learning is a structured learning experience for first year pharmacy students. Students deliver nine nutrition-based lessons, four in the fall semester and five in the spring semester, to 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade children in four Aurora Public Schools.
Pharmacy students make a connection between community service and coursework. This is based on the belief that we all can learn from each other.
How are these Connected?
Healthy food habits and daily physical activity are important concepts for elementary students. The pharmacy students from the University of Colorado are charged with working in elementary school classrooms for one academic year, teaching these concepts in conjunction with elementary school teachers. The teaching experience is expected to benefit the elementary school students, as well as the pharmacy students by challenging their current beliefs, introducing them to new ideas, and allowing them to reflect on what they have learned.
Why are Our Community Partners Important?
The School of Pharmacy recognizes the tremendous value of community partners. Our partners have offered to invest their precious time and resources into helping our pharmacy students become actively engaged in learning by providing a service to the community. In return, it is our hope that the pharmacy students are able to gain tremendous knowledge and insight about the importance of serving the community. We have the opportunity to learn from each other.
In the coming years, we are committed to building strong, respectful relationships that are open, honest, and dedicated to mutual learning. We recognize that we are dependent upon each other to learn and grow as partners and we will work together to cultivate our relationships.
Rotations are an important part of the PharmD curriculum. They begin the summer following completion of the third year of studies and include real-life clinical experiences. Working under the supervision of preceptors, senior pharmacy students rotate through hospitals, pharmacies, and specialty clinics throughout the state. Spending six weeks at each rotation site, fourth year pharmacy students receive essential on-the-job training and experience and are exposed to a variety of fields.
Matched with rotation sites in February of their third year of studies, students must complete one ambulatory rotation, one community pharmacy rotation, one three-week community pharmacy medication therapy management rotation, two hospital rotations and two electives. At their own expense, students may complete up to two out of state rotations as electives. Out of these two electives, one may be located outside of the United States occurring in block 4 (October) or later in the P4 year. The Office of Experiential Programs will engage with interested students to identify sites of interest.
In order to start rotations, students must pass their P3 year. You must also provide the following documentation.
Certain sites have more stringent requirements. You must adhere to the specific guidelines of each site.
The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences recognizes the value of a global education. Academic learning experiences abroad expose students to pharmacy practice in a different cultural context and provide opportunities to experience healthcare from an international perspective. Students gain insights into culture, communication, and relationships. These experiences will challenge the student to examine existing thoughts and practices and connects students to practitioners and students around the world.
All the international rotations count towards the 2 Elective APPEs that are required. Other requirements for international rotations include obtaining international health insurance, completing an application through the office of Global Education, and going to an International APPE Orientation prior to going on rotation. Some specific sites may also have additional requirements such as visas, immunizations, trainings, etc.
In addition to the established international partner sites listed here, students can work with the Office of Experiential Programs to establish a new site. Contact the Office of Experiential Programs for more information.
General Preceptor Information
The work performed by preceptors in supervising and training pharmacy students is valued by the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Accreditation standards require students to complete substantial amounts of experiential training and it is recognized that CU Pharmacy would not meet accreditation standards without the support of the practice community in providing practice sites and preceptors, including community pharmacists, health systems pharmacists and providers in the medical community.
Beginning July 1, 2012, the State of Colorado no longer requires preceptors to be licensed. CU Pharmacy asks that preceptors be practicing for at least 1 year before becoming a preceptor. Please contact Wendy Anderson to become a preceptor.
Did you know?
Preceptor Development (FREE CE!)
Highlights of the Strauss Health Sciences Library. Resources available to preceptors include:
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits the release of information about a student to any person outside the university community or to any university personnel without a legitimate educational reason to know. Think of it as HIPAA for non-medical student records. More detailed information is available on the university’s FERPA page.
Preceptors and students may find the Experiential syllabi on the home page of E*Value under "Announcements" after logging in: www.e-value.net
APPE Evaluation Information