Academic Life

The Auburn Pharm.D. program is a new and very different learning experience for most students. The combination of empiric and active learning methods requires a student who can assume responsibility for one's learning and problem solving. The following description provides an overview of the experience:

Year 1

Imagine yourself as a first-year student pharmacist. You have a course load that provides an important biomedical science foundation, with much of the material being integrated into a course entitled Drugs and Diseases. In addition, you are beginning to develop important patient care skills in the Contemporary Aspects of Pharmacy Practice course. You will also begin to visit patients to whom you and your team members are assigned to provide patient care.

Year 2

You are continuing to expand your knowledge and skills as you complete the Drugs and Diseases sequence along with courses in Drug Products. You will also learn important principles about developing and managing a pharmacy practice. Your knowledge will also be augmented as you continue to develop specific practice skills and solve patient specific cases.

You are now also assuming greater responsibility for patient care on your team as you have increasing knowledge that helps you to solve drug-related problems in your patients. First-year student pharmacists now count on you to provide them with assistance and you receive assistance from the third-year student pharmacist and faculty team members. At the end of the second professional year you will complete a milestone examination that will provide you with feedback on your pharmacy knowledge, skills and attitudes, and enable you to assess areas of strength as well as those that need improvement.

Year 3

The focus of your third professional year will be a continuous yearlong pharmacotherapy sequence in which you will integrate material from the previous two years as you solve patient care problems. You will do this as a member of a small group of approximately 8 students while working with an instructor who serves as a facilitator (not a lecturer). It will be your group’s responsibility to identify drug-related problems and develop a therapeutic plan to deal with each problem you encounter.

As a member of a small group, you are responsible for determining information that you and your classmates need to know in order to solve various problems, obtaining such information, and teaching it to others in your group. This self-directed learning requires you and others in your group to use drug information resources, medical literature, the Internet, and other technologies to access needed information. You are continuously developing abilities that you will use during the fourth professional year and in the future as a practicing pharmacist.

You are also assuming greater leadership responsibilities on your patient care team. Your increased pharmacotherapy knowledge allows you to better solve drug-related problems in your patients, and to assist and mentor the first and second year student pharmacists on your team. You will also complete your second milestone examination.

Year 4

During the entire year your primary responsibility is the provision of pharmaceutical care under the supervision of HSOP faculty members. Specifically, your daily responsibilities will involve the following: 1) establishing pharmacist-patient relationships, 2) identifying, resolving, and preventing drug-related problems, and 3) documenting patient outcomes. You are exposed to automation and robotics and you will see how they expand pharmacist opportunities to provide direct patient care.

Most of your rotations focus on the management of common illnesses and diseases that pharmacists encounter in a variety of practice settings. You will complete your rotations in locations that include Huntsville, Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile, Alabama, as well as Columbus, Georgia. However, you will be allowed to do rotations in a variety of distant sites that provide additional unique learning opportunities.

During your fourth year, you will also make a formal platform seminar presentation on a pharmacotherapeutic topic and will prepare a poster presentation that will be presented to your faculty and peers. You will also complete your final milestone examination toward the latter part of the year. Having satisfactorily completed all requirements, you will participate in the School’s Commencement Exercises where you will receive your doctoral hood and diploma.

Final Outcomes Assessment

Having completed Year 4, you must demonstrate that you have achieved the abilities that you started developing when you entered pharmacy school. You have successfully completed a simulation exam that required you to conduct an initial patient work up, identify and resolve drug-related problems and prepare a therapeutic plan for the patient. This process required you to interact with other health professionals, make ethical decisions, and demonstrate self-directed learning skills. Having successfully completed all program requirements, you are recommended for graduation.

Last Updated: February 21, 2017