Using case-based activities to teach pharmacy management

Abstract theories and principles are important to build a foundational knowledge, but translating the textbook lessons into practice can be extremely complicated.  For example, the chemicals that mortar and pestlemake up a pharmaceutical product behave differently in a glass beaker than they do when they are ingested by a human.  Why?  Well, for one, the human intestine is not equivalent to a glass container.  To go one step further, patients taking a therapy during a clinical trial often behave differently than the patients on the therapy who are not involved in a trial (ie: patients in a trial are often provided the drug free of charge, they may even be compensated for participating, they are followed closely by the investigators).  So how do we prepare students, with little to no experience, how to handle situations they may face after graduation?

Pharmacy school faculty often use cases to teach clinical skills in an attempt to simulate a real world environment.  By the end of pharmacy school, students are exposed to a combination of didactic and case-based experiences for clinical problems.

After 5 years in pharmacy management positions, I can safely say that applying management theories and principles in practice is also extremely complicated.  My education in business school taught me many great concepts and ways to approach problems, but on-the-job situations really taught me how to manage.  We did cases in business school, but it focused more on high-level topics and little on the day-to-day management challenges that front-line pharmacy managers face.  I’m attempting to develop numerous cases to try and simulate pharmacy management problems for our students and would love your help.  What problems and challenges have you encountered in practice that you wish pharmacy school would have prepared you for?

I’ve attached a sample case I am using this semester to develop and evaluate a new pharmacy service.

Click the link below to download the PDF of the case:

Case – Downtown Drugs – 2014

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Joey
Joey Mattingly, PharmD, MBA is an assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy located in Baltimore, Maryland. Joey has managed retail and long-term care pharmacy operations in Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana. Leading Over The Counter is a blog of Joey's views and opinions on the topics of pharmacy leadership and management and do not represent the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Joey can be followed on Twitter @joeymattingly.

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