My rotation in Belize was an amazing experience that taught me so much about public health and medicine in a completely different healthcare system. My primary role was working side by side with providers and other medical students to provide the most optimal drug therapy for patients. I was able to counsel, provide drug therapy recommendations, and complete drug utilization reviews in the clinic that was located in a remote village. We also had the opportunity to travel to rural villages to provide free care on what were called “mobile clinics.” Another aspect of this rotation was teaching different health topics at schools in the Toledo District of Belize.
Drake prepared me for this rotation through the variety of experiences I have completed during pharmacy school. Throughout my didactic and experiential coursework I have learned how to become a well-rounded, confident student pharmacist. This helped tremendously not only for my APPE experience in Belize, but for all my rotations I have completed this far.
My biggest lesson was how to adequately care for a patient with having a limited formulary, and little access to advanced technology. Essentially, we had to learn how to “do a lot with a little.” For example, at the clinic we were at every SOAP note was handwritten, and we also had to hand write the prescription labels. However, Belize has socialized medicine, so everyone was able to receive some type of healthcare, which made it easier in that aspect to treat patients.
My favorite memory during my clinic hours was definitely my first mobile clinic. It was really eye-opening to see how the people located in the village lived, and we saw over 40 patients in 4 hours when we were there! The patients that came in that day were also very giggly and in high spirits, and I did not hear one person complain about having to wait. It was a very humbling experience.
What I liked about my time at Drake is being able to make lifelong friends while in the pharmacy program. It is very easy to get involved on campus, and through that involvement I have created a network of support with my peers in pharmacy school. I think Drake also provides a lot of unique experiences for IPPEs and APPEs, and they really do develop students into highly professional, and well-trained future pharmacists.
Some accomplishments of mine include being highly involved in the pharmacy fraternity Kappa Psi, and I was able to serve on the Executive Council that helped get our chapter to be 2nd in the nation. I was also able to complete the Student Leadership Development Series, serve on a CPHS academic committee, and prepare research that was presented at the 2019 ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting.
One piece of advice I would have for future Drake Pharmacy students is always to make sure to have time for yourself. It is easy to get caught up in school, work, or campus organizations, but always remember to practice self-care. Never be afraid to treat yourself!