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Pharmacy and Nursing Students Participate in Training Exercise


A total of 207 pharmacy and nursing students participated in an Interprofessional Education (IPE) exercise from January 16-19, which included a one-day lecture and individual tabletop exercises. Students were prepared for a mass prophylaxis (vaccination) event, which is when preventive treatment is given to individuals who have been exposed or potentially exposed to a disease.

The training was designed by Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service and is recognized by the United States Department of Homeland Security. The course is a guide for local health officials and their partners to coordinate plans to provide mass distribution of medical countermeasures in response to a large-scale public health incident.

The course focused on planning considerations, the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC’s) recommendation to achieve the 48-hour standard for mass prophylaxis, and the local community’s mass prophylaxis and point of dispensing (POD) site preparedness. Students walked away with materials applicable to pandemic influenza, bio-terrorism, and other public health emergencies.

Ultimately, the purpose of the training is to enhance a jurisdiction’s preparedness and emergency response efforts by developing a plan addressing an all-hazards approach towards mass prophylaxis.

“We know that patients have better outcomes when the healthcare workers have trained together and can efficiently work in teams. And healthcare workers have an obligation to protect the health of the public. Consequently, having students trained on how to set up a system to take care of the public in the case of an event such as pandemic flu can increase efficiencies and improve outcomes,” said Dr. Rich O’Brocta, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Wegmans School of Pharmacy.

Other topics discussed in the training included a response to a terrorist strike; potential epidemic or pandemic events; high contagious diseases; and resource capability accessibility and sustainment.

“I feel that the training was beneficial. It would be helpful to attend refresher classes every year or so to keep our skills up to date. Opening up the training to students increases the number of people available to carry out the necessary roles should there be a need for the PODs to open, so it was beneficial,” said Ryan Thomas, a P1 student and class president.

Thomas also noted that, because students don't always stay in the area where they went to school, the training was crucial because they are able to take what they learned with them no matter where they settle and work.

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