Pharmacy Student Excels in National Competition

Places second among 132 students from pharmacy schools across the country

Jessica Reno, a fourth-year College of Pharmacy student at Northeast Ohio Medical University, recently placed second among the best students from 132 pharmacy schools at the 2017 American Pharmacists Association Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP) National Patient Counseling Competition. The competition simulates counseling in the community pharmacy setting, where one may have very little time to consult a medication reference and limited time in which to counsel a patient.

Reno scored in the top ten in the preliminary round—a two-part, randomly determined counseling scenario. This success led her to the final round, a scenario in which a new patient is encountered. The final round is even more challenging, since it includes a “complication” that requires the competitors to think quickly on their feet or use higher-level communication techniques and empathy.

At first, Reno’s final scenario seemed straightforward enough. “I pulled fluticasone nasal spray with a prescription written for a 20-something year old male,” said Reno. Then came the complication: “When the patient approached me for counseling, I realized he was blind. Additionally, the patient was in a hurry because his friend who drove him everywhere needed to go to work.”

Reno’s extensive training prepared her well.  “We are so proud of Jessica, as she is the first College of Pharmacy student at NEOMED to receive this national award for the APhA National Patient Counseling Competition. This is an incredible achievement, considering many of the 132 schools held their own competitions to determine which student would represent them nationally,” noted Timothy R. Ulbrich, Pharm. D., R. Ph., who is an associate dean of workforce development and practice advancement at NEOMED.

“This accomplishment speaks to Jessica’s outstanding patient counseling skills, her commitment to patient care and our college’s focus on ensuring that graduates are prepared to effectively communicate with patients and other health care professionals.”