March 9, 2012 • Podcasts
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In my experiences I felt that I’ve been given really worthwhile tasks that I felt were…that I was happy to do in an unpaid fashion, but there have been some classmates who spend most of their days photocopying and faxing and for them, they’ve expressed that it’s not worth their time or their free labour, but I so far have had positive experiences in internships.
Rebecca: My name is Rebecca Ronson and I’m a third year Pharmacy student, I live in Toronto and I’m from Bowmanville, Ontario. I have only been working in a pharmacy student for the past year-and-a-half…I’m a Pharmacy student at a pharmacy in downtown Toronto, and I’m able to…well, I first started out just mostly being cashier and doing Pharmacy Technician responsibilities like counting pills, that sort of thing, but as my boss began to know me and understand what I could be capable of, he allowed me to start counselling patients and doing other things that a pharmacist would do.
Not this past summer but the summer before I was doing a one month internship at a hospital in downtown Toronto in their Cardiac Care Intensive Care Unit. It was really good for me, I felt, I learned a lot. Unfortunately, it did end up being unpaid—the internship can be paid or unpaid, I think most of the hospitals weren’t paying their students unfortunately. But I still felt it was worthwhile and since I ended up fulfilling the program requirements I wasn’t upset about that. As a pharmacy student you actually can’t do anything unless it’s under the direct supervision of a pharmacist, so my days would usually just start out in the pharmacy and I would usually do some work on the computer that was sort of related to answering question online in this open forum for the pharmacy students, that was also part of the program requirements. While I was doing that my pharmacist-mentor would put through orders on the computer and then we would usually go do rounds which took sometimes between two to three hours, so you go from patient’s bed, to patient’s bed and then…with the multi-disciplinary team you go over each case and they talk about the plan for them, short-term and long-term in the unit. And we would usually do some best possible medication histories, so I would interview the patients and talk about what medication they’d been taking and what new medications they were going to be taking when they would leave and how to go through that whole process.
Interning has been helpful for me, it exposed me to a hospital pharmacy during the internship, and now I’m in a community pharmacy so I was able to see both sides of pharmacy.
To put it bluntly, my tuition at UofT Pharmacy is I think about $14,000 now—that’s per year. So, I feel like that’s very expensive and some of the units are even sort of self-study units so you’re not even getting hands-on experience a lot of the time. So I feel like part of the program requirement to be able to actually do things hands-on and work with a pharmacist, it was almost worth it more than being in class. There is going to be another internship when I’m going to be in fourth year and that’s called SPEP, the Structured Practical Experience Program, and that internship you actually do pay tuition in order to do it, and it’s a program requirement, as well.
It would have been nice to have been paid but I don’t think for pharmacy students it’s as much as a concern just because our tuition is already so high and most people have huge loans or their parents are able to help them financially, so for us I don’t think making that minimum-wage or just above minimum-wage amount of money would actually make that much of a difference.