- Establish your MyDispense team, both within and outside your institution.
- Create a timeline, but be flexible.
- Take time to learn from others (and eventually teach others too!).
They say, “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” Well, I’m not sure who said that, but if you’re like me, that’s not always the reality. Our journey to implementing MyDispense was no exception, and this is good thing because our team learned a lot along the way!
About 4 years ago we embarked on a new curriculum. These changes meant we had a drastic cut in the time in the skills lab and we lost (yes, lost) our self-care course. The years following our initial curricular change were filled with adjustments and reorganization as we worked on continuous quality improvement and (thankfully) we were able to regain a bit more time in the lab, and added back a self-care course. However, we recognized needs in the areas of dispensing and additional OTC practice experiences.
We had been introduced to the learning platform several years ago and were interested in using it to fill some holes in our new curriculum, but before we could do that, we needed to answer a few questions. Who would learn how to use it? Where would we incorporate it in the curriculum? When could we feasibly introduce it to our students?
If you are interested in adopting MyDispense in your curriculum, but haven’t taken the leap, here are a few items that we found to be very helpful when taking those first steps toward MyDispense:
Establish your team.
These are the champions at your school – someone you can work with to brainstorm, but also a teammate (or teammates!) who are passionate about the options the program offers to both faculty and students. It’s also important to build relationships with others at other institutions who use MyDispense. I personally have met so many people through the MyDispense Symposia, and their friendship and collegial nature make the experience much richer!
Create a timeline…but be willing to be flexible!
We established a timeline for when we would run a pilot with students and introduce it to our curricular governance for approval, but we were reminded that things don’t always go according to plan. We encountered University legal challenges, needed the time to work hands-on with the platform as faculty, and also had to rethink where we wanted MyDispense to be introduced in the curriculum. We made adjustments to our timeline along the way, and the delay was actually advantageous for us in regard to including a few more team members in preparation for the roll out.
Learn from others.
As I mentioned above, attending the last two MyDispense Symposiums has been invaluable for me. This experience has allowed me to build connections not only with other faculty in the U.S. and abroad who are utilizing it each year in their course, but also build relationships with colleagues at Monash University who can assist and help troubleshoot any concerns or issues we had when implementing it at our University. Their generosity of time and expertise is greatly appreciated. This also includes learning from your students. Take the time to pilot new activities and get their feedback for what worked and what didn’t. Their guidance can really help and provide added confidence for implementation.
So if you are considering starting down the road to MyDispense, especially in light of all of the virtual learning we are embarking on, I say “Do it!” It may not have been a straight line, but the journey to MyDispense was just that, a journey…and you’ll meet some friends along the way!