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Our Experience as Second Year Pharmacy Students at the PSHP Student Jeopardy Competition

Monday, May 13, 2019  
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Authors: Emily Farina & Monica Woloshin, Jefferson College of Pharmacy Class of 2021

Faculty Advisor: Bhavik Shah, PharmD, BCPS, Jefferson College of Pharmacy

As second year pharmacy students, we were incredibly excited to attend the 50th Annual Assembly for the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists, as this was one of our first formal pharmacy conferences. A few weeks prior, our school’s chapter of the Student Society of Health- Systems Pharmacy sent out a message detailing that there would be a jeopardy competition at the assembly. We were eager to participate despite being only first-semester second year students. This seemed like it would also be a great start to attending these types of conferences.

As we got to the conference and sat in on various presentations and lectures, we became a bit apprehensive as this assembly consisted of mostly third- and fourth-year pharmacy students. Many of them were preparing to apply to residencies, while we were just beginning to learn about post-graduate opportunities. When it came time to begin the jeopardy competition, we realized we were the only second year students competing against other schools. The third- and fourth-year students already had therapeutic knowledge, while we had not even scratched the surface of the content. The competition was daunting at first, but it made us realize that we knew even more than we imagined.

Within the first moments of the competition, the ball was in our court. We had the opportunity to pick first among various subjects in pharmacy. Both of us have always had a strong interest in psychopharmacology and thus have a decent background in the subject, so we kept choosing this category. We answered almost every single question correctly, raising our self-confidence. Many of our peers in our college were baffled by this since we had not even taken a therapeutics class.   Unfortunately, as the competition went on, the questions became more difficult and required more therapeutic knowledge, such as specific anticoagulation dosing. Our score went down, as well as our spirits. We started out so well, but could not keep up. It was disheartening, but during the break, everyone reminded us that we were only second year students and we knew a great deal already. We had so much more to learn, and it wasn’t a failure.

During Final Jeopardy, we were presented with the question, “Which antibiotic has the risk of tendon rupture?” One of us had recently read an article on fluoroquinolones, and it came quickly to mind right as the question popped up. Thus, we ended the competition feeling better, even though we finished with the lowest score. Throughout this process, we realized we knew more than we thought. We were also humbled, and realizing that we had a lot to learn. It reinforced that pharmacy is an ongoing learning process, and there is never a finishing point. In addition, working as a team showed us that collaboration is key. Even as pharmacists one day, we have to rely on each other as well as ourselves because no one knows everything and we may have different strengths. Many second-year students in our position were hesitant to participate knowing it would be a challenge, but we stepped up to the plate and had a good time nevertheless.

As we wrote this article, we began our first block of therapeutics. We are excited and a bit apprehensive to conquer this intense subject.  New drugs and indications come out frequently, and continuing education will be important. Even after a couple of sessions of therapeutics, we feel so much more knowledgeable and are ready to take on the Pennsylvania Society of Health-System Pharmacists student jeopardy competition next year!

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