Teamwork at the Heart of Pharmacy Rotations in Honduras

August 8, 2017

When graduates of the Wegmans School of Pharmacy head out into the working world, they will encounter experiences working as members of a health care team. Through a four-week elective rotation with Advanced Placement Practice Experience (APPE) Pharmacy Missions in Roatan, Honduras, students at Fisher fine-tune the skills needed to be productive, collaborative members of those teams.

Fourth-year pharmacy student Samantha Leistman worked in Clinica Esperanza while doing a four-week APPE clinical rotation in Roatan, Honduras.

For Samantha Leistman ’17 (Pharm.D.) and Jennifer Mappus ’17 (Pharm.D.), participating in clinical rotation in Roatan meant working with nurses, doctors, dentists, and other students to help treat the 50 to 75 patients who visited the Clinica Esperanza each day.

A full-service health care facility, Clinica Esperanza provides dental, gynecological, general medicine, laboratory, and pediatric services to the patients of Roatan. The clinic also brings in specialists including cardiologists and gastroenterologists. While there, the students worked in the pharmacy and accompanied the community doctor on home visits, weighing children and counseling families on proper growth rates for children under the age of five.

From left to right: A member of the Clinica Esperanza health care team with P4 students Samantha Leistman and Jennifer Mappus.

From left to right: A member of the Clinica Esperanza health care team with P4 students Samantha Leistman and Jennifer Mappus.

“We did everything at the clinic from dispensing medications, counseling patients, making recommendations to doctors, and participating in community outreach home visits,” said Leistman, whose post-graduation plans include serving as a community pharmacy resident at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Leistman said that chief among the challenges she faced during the rotations was the language barrier.

“It helped us improve on our language skills and challenged us to find alternate ways to get our message across,” she said. “It was amazing to be a part of such a large team working towards a common goal and getting a true understanding of their culture. There were quite a few differences in what we would consider ‘standard medical practice’ but it was incredibly interesting to see and understand why and how they provide care for their patients.”

Mappus, who will engage in a pharmacy general residency at Stanford Health Care in Stanford, California, said the experience helped her grow as a pharmacist.

“The treatment the clinic provides is limited by drug availability, and this experience taught me how to think outside of the box about drug therapy recommendations and how to take the entire patient (culture plus disease states) into perspective when treating a patient,” she explained. “It also taught me how to keep an open mind when learning about how different countries practice medicine and what that country considers to be most important as opposed to what I think is most important.”

Students engaged in their APPE clinical rotation visit Hospital Roatan while in Honduras.

Students engaged in their APPE clinical rotation visit Hospital Roatan while in Honduras.