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It’s Our Time to Shine

When I heard that Palm Beach Atlantic University’s (PBA) School of Pharmacy was beginning a CPESN Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) I knew that I had to take advantage of the opportunity. As an intern at one of CPESN Florida’s participating Flip the Pharmacy (FtP) sites, I already had some insight on domains and progressions but was really looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of what seems to be a dictionary of CPESN terms. Little did I know just how much can happen in 6 short weeks!

My APPE began right at the initiation of the Immunizations Progression. This was very timely, as we were at the peak of flu shot season and an opportunity to participate in the CDC’s COVID-19 Vaccination Program emerged. It has been fascinating to see how each pharmacy implements the changes into their workflow using their own technique, yet each pharmacy still achieves the same goals. Within the change package, pharmacies were given guidance on how to adapt an electronic consent form that could be utilized for an appointment-based model. I strongly believe that FtP will be a huge benefit when it comes to equipping pharmacy teams to provide COVID-19 vaccinations. Pharmacy teams will already have the structures in place that provide a means of organized, systematic vaccine administration to a large number of patients. This may also have positive implications for COVID-19 point-of-care testing.

I have seen first-hand the impact that CPESN pharmacies can have on our communities, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. CPESN USA assisted with the launch of the COVID-19 Best Practices website at the onset of the pandemic as a means to ensure that everyone had a reliable source for up-to-date information, tips, and tricks throughout an unprecedented time. Pharmacies have proven just how essential they are by making themselves accessible during a time when accessibility was a challenge. Examples include methods for implementing curbside pick-up as a new service, administering vaccines where the patient felt most comfortable (sometimes even in their vehicle), and compounding hand sanitizer. It makes sense that the next step would be to equip pharmacies to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to the public. So, it was encouraging to see CPESN USA on the list of pharmacies that have partnered with the U.S. Government to administer COVID-19 vaccines.

One of my tasks was to research the various pathways that pharmacies could make use of when signing up to be a part of the COVID-19 vaccination process. Pharmacy teams needed to discuss the pathways and determine if signing up with CPESN USA as a federal pharmacy partner would work best for their practice. I quickly realized how easy it was to get bogged down in the amount of information out there. I was pleasantly surprised with how many resources and webinars that CPESN USA had to guide independent pharmacies along the way. Between weekly emails providing updates, Q&A webinars, and the COVID-19 Best Practices website, it was refreshing to know that this network was a place to turn for clarity. This pandemic has helped bring to light what community pharmacies are capable of and we should continue to use it to our advantage. As the time of vaccine distribution nears, pharmacies should continue to provide superior patient care and take advantage of this time to shine!

Key Resources:

Tina Merriman

PharmD Candidate, Class of 2021

Lloyd L. Gregory School of Pharmacy

Palm Beach Atlantic University

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