What does a typical day in the life of a Pharmacy Student entail? Well, Michelle Do, a recent pharmacy student from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences, was able to reflect on her the 6 weeks she spent at Johnson Compounding & Wellness during her rotation.
Here are Michelle’s thoughts:
I wanted to do one of my internship rotations at Johnson Compounding and Wellness because I have always been interested in the compounding area of pharmacy. I have worked and shadowed at a couple independent pharmacies that offered compounding services to varying degrees, though my own direct experience with compounding was limited. Through this rotation, I hoped to get a fuller, more hands-on experience.
Each week, I spent a couple days in the non-sterile compounding area. I had seen much of the compounding equipment in videos as a part of training or through demonstrations in lab at school. The only specialized equipment I had ever used myself was the electronic mortar and pestle machine. I started with learning the basics like weighing out powders, transferring ointments into packaging for dispensing, and learning to navigate the computer software. From there, I learned to mix and mill ointments using the related equipment, and finally, I learned how to use the capsule machine.
Before doing any compounding myself, I spent time observing how the technicians and pharmacists compounded formulations at each station. I quickly learned that although much of the compounding processes look simple enough on video or when demonstrated, performing the tasks proficiently and according to procedures requires practice. Even after watching technicians use the ointment mill multiple times, I lacked their finesse in manipulating the ointments and creams with efficiency and minimal mess.
Most of my time outside of the lab was spent researching drug and supplement information. For a couple of drug information assignments, I was tasked with researching product formulations intended for use in upcoming clinical studies. Some of my research was looking for potential applications for products compounded at Johnson like high-dose biotin or low-dose naltrexone. In other cases, I searched for whether a specific ingredient was effective in treating a given condition and, if so, how to formulate it for the inquiring physician.
During this internship, I was able to actively learn how to use various compounding equipment as I had hoped. In addition, the projects I worked on taught me more about the intricacies of compounding and the niches that compounded products can fill.
Michelle was a great student and we wish her well as she prepares to graduate in 2016.