Students enrolling in the doctor of pharmacy program at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy will experience an enriched curriculum beginning in the fall of 2015.

Health care is evolving rapidly. Pharmacists must grow and change with it. A successful practitioner will be able to do the following:

  • Participate as an integral member of the health-care team
  • Evaluate and create new opportunities to improve patient care and care delivery
  • Act responsibly, ethically, and professionally at all times
  • Shape policy and lead change in the profession and in health care

It’s impossible for us to teach you everything you’ll ever need to know. And we embrace that fact. What we will do is ensure that you develop a deep understanding of the foundations of the pharmaceutical sciences, pharmacy practice, and patient care.

And we’ll do much more.

The Much More

Our curriculum maximizes interaction between student and professor. Our faculty will inspire you and foster in you a collection of skills and habits of mind that will set you apart as a scholarly and inquisitive practitioner who will learn throughout your lifetime.

Ultimately, it’s this combination of inspiration and education that will transform you into an exemplary pharmacy practitioner and an innovative leader who recognizes the health-care needs of patients and leads change to improve patient care.

A Distinctive Approach

Our curriculum is engaging, relevant, and contemporary. You will study foundational science intensely for one year. You will learn in the context of mentored direct patient care beginning immediately after year one and continue to be immersed in pharmacy practice for up to seventeen months. You will also dedicate time to developing skills necessary for inquiry, problem solving, and innovation.

In class, your professors will challenge you to think critically and to solve problems by actively applying important concepts. This in-class active learning is possible because you’ll have already gained the knowledge you need through self-directed learning outside the classroom.

You will be immersed in patient care early and continually in your education as a member of an interdisciplinary health-care team. You will pursue scientific inquiry and learn to create innovative solutions to real-world health-care problems.

Experiential Education

OEE photo 1The experiential education program for students at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is a critical component of the students’ pharmacy education and accounts for approximately one-third of the entire curriculum. Experiential learning in the practice setting allows students to apply what they learn in the classroom to actual patient care. Doctor of Pharmacy students to participate in a total of 11 months of experiential training. The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy offers a vast array of pharmacy practice experiences across the state of North Carolina spanning the rural, suburban and urban regions of the state.

The Office of Experiential Education coordinates two months of introductory practice experiences and nine months of advanced practice experiences or rotations. Under the supervision of faculty and selected practitioner preceptors, students learn to make decisions based on professional knowledge and judgment. Broad exposure to as many pharmacy activities and practice settings as possible, interaction with diverse patient populations and opportunities to collaborate with other health-care professionals facilitate the student’s development during the experiential education program.

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is currently affiliated with approximately 1,000 preceptors at 425 different rotation sites in North Carolina and 40 rotation sites in other states and countries. The Office of Experiential Education provides approximately 315 introductory rotation months and 1,400 advanced-practice rotation months a year.

During your first year, you will focus on the foundations of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences through an active-learning approach that centers on you.

Our goal is to expose you to the underlying fundamentals and give you the chance to apply what you are learning, to solve complex problems, to think deeply and critically, and to develop the skills necessary to be a self-directed, lifelong learner.

A Fast Start with Familiar Favorites

We won’t ask you to spend months revisiting prerequisite course work you’ve already completed. Instead you start with five short courses in the first month:

  • Organic chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Applied mathematics
  • Biostatistics

During these short courses, you review the basic subject matter while exploring its connection and application to pharmacy-specific problems.

Foundations of Pharmacy

You’ll be ready for the challenges of the active classroom thanks to online modules that deliver the information you need to you outside of class.

Next up are seven courses exploring the following subjects that provide the foundational knowledge for patient care:

  • Biology of human health and disease
  • Molecular foundations of drug action
  • Pharmaceutics
  • Pharmacokinetics
  • Clinical pharmacology
  • Health-care system and pharmaceutical policy
  • Evidence-based practice

The factual content of the courses is thoughtfully packaged and available to you for self-directed learning outside of class. Class time is devoted to faculty-student interactions and higher forms of thinking and problem solving.

Foundations of Patient Care

An eighth course prepares you for early patient care in a real-world setting by giving you the foundational knowledge and skills needed and emphasizing connections among content areas.

An Introduction to Pharmacy Innovation and Problem Solving

Finally, we will orient you to an integrated series of courses designed to foster inquiry and innovation. This series will continue in the third semester (year two) with hands-on experiences and small-group problem solving built around real-world problems in pharmacy and health care.

To Learn, One Must Do.

There is a fundamental body of information you must learn, but you don’t have to learn all of it in the classroom. We are moving some classroom instruction out into the real world. You will also spend a great deal of time involved in caring for patients and learning to function in complex systems as a member of an interdisciplinary health-care team.
Students begin working with patients immediately after their first year. Students have three such experiences over a total of six months during the second and third years of the curriculum.
When you learn something new, we want you to be as close to the application of that knowledge as possible.

Early Patient Care

You will be immersed in patient care early and often starting immediately after your first year. Throughout the second and third years, you will have six months of patient-care activities alternating with School-based courses and activities.

We plan to complement your experiences with self-directed online learning tools addressing contemporary therapeutics. A key advantage of this approach is that you’ll be learning things in the classroom just in time to apply them in the real world.

Seeking Solutions

Beginning in the third semester, you will also participate in a project designed to foster inquiry, critical thinking, and innovation. This experience focuses on real-world problems and shows you that there is a common process for identifying and framing problems so that you can develop effective solutions.

Our goal is to train your mind to naturally seek solutions to problems you encounter in order to address society’s needs through innovation. This positions you to be a curious and creative professional, change agent, and leader. These “habits of mind” and problem-solving abilities will define you as an inquisitive and scholarly practitioner ready to take on the challenges of a rapidly changing health-care world.

Think about It

Setting aside time to talk about what you’ve seen, done, and learned with professors and preceptors is a crucial step in the learning process.

Learning by doing is an incomplete proposition. What really enables you to learn is reflection. In other words, you have to do and then think about what you did.

Our immersive, experiential learning opportunities are complemented by mentored reflection on patient-care and health-system experiences. In addition to reflection, your time back on campus provides opportunities for other faculty-mentored activities, including the following:

  • Integration and connection of foundational and pharmacotherapy knowledge to patient care
  • Exposure to advanced concepts, emerging topics, and leadership and professional development
  • Elective course work
  • Individualized career-path exploration

Clinical Practice

During the fourth year of the curriculum, you leave the classroom behind and immerse yourself in advanced patient care.
This is your opportunity to mature in your approach to pharmacy practice and gain a wide variety of experience to help you bring your intended career path into focus.

During this year, you are primarily engaged in clinical-practice experiences beginning in May for a total duration of ten months. You will practice in outpatient ambulatory settings and inpatient health-system settings, applying your knowledge and skills to improve patient care and health-care delivery. In addition, nearly one-third of your fourth-year experiences will be elective opportunities of your choice.