By combining her pharmacy education and interpersonal communication skills, pharmacy student Viha Dave PharmD’16 recently took third place at the 2015 National Patient Counseling Competition—held during the American Pharmacists Association Academy’s (APhA) Annual Meeting and Exposition, on March 29, in San Diego. She competed against 126 student pharmacists from across the country, becoming the first pharmacy student in decades to represent USciences as a top 10 finalist in this prestigious competition.
“It was an honor to represent Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the national level, and I hope this gets my younger classmates excited to participate in the future, as this was an enriching experience for me,” said Dave. “My PCP education definitely helped prepare me for this experience because many of my professors continually emphasize the importance of delivering personalized care to our patients.”
The main goal of this national competition is to encourage student pharmacists to become better patient educators. Each year, the competition is designed to reflect changes that are occurring in practice, promote and encourage further professional development of student pharmacists, and reinforce the role of the pharmacist as a healthcare provider and educator.
This competition began at the local level in January, where students, like Dave, competed against their classmates to represent their pharmacy school on a national platform. The national competition was divided into the preliminary round and final round. At the preliminary round, students selected a simple practice scenario at random and were required to counsel a mock patient on the appropriate use of the drug involved. Evaluations were based on the content and style of the counseling presentations, and the top 10 student pharmacists advanced to the final round of the competition.
The final round involved a more complex counseling situation where the participants again selected a prescription at random and were asked to counsel their patients on safe and effective drug use. The patient in the final round, however, also displayed personality characteristics such as anxiousness, aggression or apathy to challenge the participants’ ability to convey pertinent information in a realistic situation.
“I had the opportunity to watch Viha’s performance during her final counseling round and it was clear that she is a highly competent, confident, and compassionate student pharmacist,” said Kenneth Leibowitz, assistant professor of communications at USciences and co-founder of this national competition.
Dave, along with the other top 10 finalists in the competition, were recognized during the closing ceremony of the APhA meeting, and the four top winners of the competition received cash prizes.