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UM Pharmacy Students to Test Clinical Skills in National Competition

Cody Taylor
Cody Taylor

Two students from the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy will participate in the annual American Society of Health-System Pharmacists Clinical Skills Competition, where student pharmacists demonstrate their ability to analyze and respond to clinical pharmacy scenarios.

Colleen Riley of Kansas City, Missouri, and Cody Taylor of Booneville, both in their fourth year of the school’s professional program, are set to compete Saturday (Dec. 3) at the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas. They were chosen based on their performance in a local, similar competition hosted by the university’s student chapter of ASHP.

Both the local and national competitions require students to analyze a patient’s case and provide a comprehensive treatment plan using their knowledge of pharmacy. To prepare for the national competition, Riley and Taylor have studied the previous year’s competition topics and spoken with former competitors.

“First, you have to be able to prioritize the correct problem,” Taylor said. “You have to pick out what the patient’s most serious issue is.

“We have to quickly recall treatment options and guideline recommendations. Knowing drug classes and how to monitor these drugs, both therapeutically and toxicity, is also very important.”

Competitors are called on to demonstrate not only technical and scientific principles they learn in the classroom but also interpersonal and leadership skills that are required of pharmacists.

“The competition requires teamwork, efficiency, communication skills, problem-solving, time management and decisiveness,” Riley said. “We must work together to make decisions about ranking problems and treating them.”

The students “have done an excellent job at preparing for the competition,” said Joshua Fleming, clinical assistant professor of pharmacy practice and a co-adviser for the ASHP student chapter.

Riley and Taylor both hope to complete a Postgraduate Year One residency upon graduating. Taylor would like to continue into a PGY2 residency in critical care or infectious diseases, and Riley hopes to become a clinical pharmacist in a hospital.

“This competition will not only help me become a more competitive residency candidate but also improve upon the skills I will need to be a good resident and pharmacist,” Riley said.

By Anna Herd and the Ole Miss News Desk

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