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UW Pharmacy Students Excel at ASHP Clinical Skills Competition

November 6, 2017
photos of Nicole Hlavacek and Erin Yarborough
Nicole Hlavacek and Erin Yarborough, both UW pharmacy students, will represent the School of Pharmacy at the national Clinical Skills Competition in Orlando, Fla., during December.

Nicole Hlavacek and Erin Yarborough, both University of Wyoming pharmacy students, will represent the School of Pharmacy at the national Clinical Skills Competition in Orlando, Fla., during December.

The two, who beat out five other UW teams, will attend the national competition as part of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting.

“To prepare for the upcoming competition in Orlando, Erin and I are working through practice patient cases. We are reviewing disease state guidelines, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention immunization schedules and health care maintenance recommendations,” says Hlavacek, from Loveland, Colo. “Most importantly, we are going to discuss the strategies we utilized to work through the case and presentation. We will not know the national case until we are doing the competition, so focusing on ways to improve the process of the competition will be the most valuable for us.”

During September, the School of Pharmacy held the local ASHP Clinical Skills Competition for all third- and fourth-year pharmacy students. The competition included a two-hour evaluation of a patient case; the development of a written care plan; and a two-minute oral presentation followed by a question-and-answer session.

Hlavacek says teams were given two hours to evaluate a patient case and develop a care plan for managing the patient’s acute and chronic problems. The two succeeded because there was mutual trust; the two were detail-oriented; and both prioritized patient care, Hlavacek says.

“We had to prioritize recommendations -- based upon the patient’s clinical presentation -- using the knowledge and critical-thinking skills that we have developed throughout pharmacy school. The case was designed to reflect real pharmacy issues that we are faced with during our P4 rotation year,” she says. “The goal was to be able to provide recommendations for the treatment and monitoring of potential problems that we found throughout the case based upon guidelines and current clinical data.”

Hlavacek says she was always interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. She specifically chose pharmacy because she had an interest in learning about pharmaceutical sciences and wanted a rewarding career with the ability to help others.

“Pharmacy is an amazing profession, and the roles that pharmacists are able to have in the health care field are continuing to expand,” she says. “I am looking forward to seeing how the profession evolves, and I will enjoy being able to help the public along the way.”

Yarborough, of Bandera, Texas, has similar thoughts about the profession.

“I chose this path because I wanted a career in the medical field. After taking a pharmacy technician class, I grew to love pharmacology,” Yarborough says. “During the class, a teacher suggested I become a pharmacist. I never thought I had the ability to attain such a prestigious professional degree but, now, almost seven years later, my dream is close to completion. I am becoming a pharmacist so I can help people live healthier lives while having the financial stability to take care of my family.”

Yarborough adds she is working toward becoming an ICU or emergency department pharmacist because she enjoys working in a fast-paced environment in high-pressure trauma situations while using her clinical knowledge. She hopes to pursue a residency program after graduation so that she can specialize in this field. 

Danielle Trierweiler, of Cheyenne, and Christina Wilkinson, of Colorado Springs, Colo., placed second in the local ASHP Clinical Skills Competition.

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