Key Points

  • Students have a much different view of MyDispense than instructors which allows them to give provide a useful perspective while creating and testing cases.
  • Giving students an opportunity to work with MyDispense may garner interest in academia and provide students with an alternate career path that they otherwise would not have exposure to.

MyDispense Activities in the Classroom

I was introduced to MyDispense during my first semester as a P1 student in the fall of 2019. The course was Pharmacy Practice Skills I where we learned about topics such as filling prescription, taking a patient’s blood pressure and blood glucose, and pharmaceutical calculations.

Initially, the assigned activities were simple and straightforward: validating scripts or filling a written prescription. However, it did not take long for the full range of MyDispense’s utility to become apparent as we began combining previous activities such determining whether the prescription met all of the Federal and state requirements and was an appropriate strength using a point-of-care reference, and self-care scenarios. In addition, MyDispense activities were provided to students that utilized patient counseling to better address individual learning of each topic, as well as reviewing drug histories to spot issues with adherence, adverse events, or the possibility of drug interactions with the addition of new therapies.

 As a new pharmacy student with little to no previous experience in the community pharmacy setting, I often found myself feeling overwhelmed by the activities, repeating each tutorial multiple times to make sure that I truly understood each option, fact finding encounter, and patient question.

Assisting with MyDispense Activities

I was presented the opportunity to help one of my professors, Dr. Sarah Vordenberg, create and edit MyDispense activities in the fall of my P2 year. I was excited about the opportunity, but unsure of my usefulness in the process.

My initial tasks involved updating the previous year’s introductory activities, such as checking them for correctness and making small updates to match changes in the curriculum and schedule of the course. I then progressed to more complex tasks. It took me several hours to understand the technical aspects of MyDispense. During that time, I worked closely with Dr. Vordenberg.  However, once I had a good handle on navigating, editing, and designing tutorials within the MyDispense framework, I was able to help in more ways than one.

Once I had gained experience with MyDispense from an instructor’s point of view, I was able to give feedback considering both sides. This was a direct result of first experiencing and gaining knowledge of the program as a student.

Below is a list of ways that a student may be able to assist with MyDispense development:

  • Testing existing activities from the student view in order to identify issues or areas of confusion followed by updating the activities to resolve the issue(s).
  • Create and test new activities such as validation, dispensing, or self-care exercises or more complex scenarios keeping in mind the edits that have been made to improve previous activities.
  • Discuss ways to enhance student engagement or understanding with the course coordinator
  • Combine the most current real-world community practices with the MyDispense activities being presented to new students to allow for better preparation for rotations
  • Provide feedback on organization, number of tutorials, time allowances, and more relevant topics

Opportunity to Explore Academia

Working on MyDispense also had a very positive impact on my own learning, as it allowed me to learn more about academia and what goes into each course beyond what we as students see. For example, after this experience I have an appreciation for how difficult it can be for an instructor to meet the needs of a demanding curriculum while also minimizing student confusion or stress, which is something that I previously would not have considered or put much thought into Being able to work with MyDispense not only gave me the opportunity to help improve our curriculum, it gave me insight into the rigorous schedule of those in academia and the constant need for change.

After my experience with this, I truly think that allowing students to work alongside faculty to implement changes, make updates, or create new content opens the door for better utilization of the program, as well as a chance for better communication, as well as personal and professional growth especially for students interested in learning more about academic careers.