Jessica Purdy (P3) talks about the experience of being My First Patient.
The University of
Findlay College of Pharmacy’s My First Patient program is designed to educate third-year
(P3) pharmacy students on the importance of taking responsibility for their own
health and well being, while aiding in their professional and social
development within the Findlay community. Beginning in the fall of their P3
year, students are introduced to various topics including health beliefs,
behavioral modification, communication, substance abuse, and nutrition.
get the opportunity to be their own “first patient.” Fifth-year pharmacy
students (P5s) are responsible for conducting health screenings for the P3s. Screenings
performed include a blood cholesterol test, a blood sugar test, and a
hemoglobin A1C, which is a blood test that detects how much sugar
has been present in the blood over the last three months. Additionally,
students have their body mass index (BMI) calculated and their blood pressure
checked. The final screening performed is a spirometry test, measuring the
students’ lung health. Once the P3 students get the results of their
screenings, they are counseled by a P5 about their results. P3 students compile
their screening results into the development of a personalized health portfolio,
which also contains assignments and reflections related to the course material.
A unique aspect
of the My First Patient program at Findlay is the incorporation of a health-screening
event. Students are partnered up with a local Findlay non-profit organization
to provide free health screenings for their clients. Under the supervision of
faculty and other P5 students, the P3 students have their first real patient
interaction. At this event, the P3 students use what they have learned about
health screenings and healthy living to provide basic screening and counseling
for community members. Ultimately, the goal of the My First Patient program is
to educate pharmacy students on the importance of healthy living while teaching
them the importance of communication and the impact that pharmacists can have
on their communities.