Bethel Park High School students learned that there's more to being a pharmacist than just dispensing medication at the drug store, thanks to a visit from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Pharmacy.
BPHS Physics, Biology and AP Chemistry students had a chance to meet four third year Pharmacy students, including 2013 BPHS graduate Meghan McLinden, who talked about why they got interested in pharmacy and the kinds of jobs pharmacists do, in addition to working in retail stores.
Through a brief video, the BPHS students learned a little bit about careers in transplant pharmacy, nuclear pharmacy, geriatric pharmacy, diabetes care pharmacy and many other career paths for pharmacists.
Then five student volunteers participated in an emergency room simulation exercise with "Denny" the Sim Man, serving in the roles of EMTs, doctor, nurse and pharmacist. "Denny" came to the ER after having a heart attack and the BPHS students assessed his condition and administered the appropriate medication to help alleviate his discomfort. Through the presentation the high school students, used a stethoscope to listen to his heartbeat, administered oxygen, as well as medications through an IV port.
"Denny" is a high-fidelity human simulator mannequin with life-like functions, and the students were able to participate in an active learning experience that taught them how to read a hospital monitor for heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and oxygen levels. They also learned how to read an EKG to see the differences between a normal heartbeat and one after a trauma like a heart attack.
The Pitt Pharmacy Rx Ambassadors visit area schools to talk about the six year program at Pitt, which includes two years of undergraduate study, plus four years of professional school. Graduates earn a Doctor of Pharmacy degree and have many career options including hospital, retail pharmacy, pharmaceutical industry, government and managed care, with starting salaries over $100,000 per year.
The high school students did a great job with the simulation, and the students who observed were able to answer most of the questions the Pharmacy Ambassadors asked them about why the actions taken during the simulation were being done.
It was a great way for the students to learn about a high paying career. Please click here to see some photos of the presentation.