OXFORD, Miss. – In a few days, Jasmine S. McKee and Liza Wilson will become the most recent graduates of the School of Pharmacy’s Community Pharmacy Residency program, which advances Doctor of Pharmacy graduates’ patient-care skills, provides opportunities to implement patient-care services, and develops research and teaching skills.
McKee and Wilson completed the residency program’s single year of postgraduate training and will receive certificates of program completion at a June 20 graduation luncheon in their honor.
After graduation, Wilson will begin a specialty residency at the University of Colorado Skaggs School of Pharmacy in Denver, where she plans to pursue her interest in ambulatory care and family medicine, while McKee will become an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the South College School of Pharmacy in Knoxville, Tenn., and serve as a transitional care pharmacist at Parkwest Medical Center.
The Community Pharmacy Residency program was created five years ago because of the growing number of Pharm.D. graduates seeking opportunities to further develop their skills. Those enrolled in the program complete community pharmacy, ambulatory care and community-based rural health practice experiences.
“We were fortunate to be given numerous learning opportunities in Jackson and Delta areas, which gave us rural and urban health experiences,” said Wilson, who obtained her Pharm.D. from the University of Missouri at Kansas City in 2012.
She and McKee provided medication therapy management, or MTM, services at both the Family Medicine and Cardiometabolic clinics at the UM Medical Center, G.A. Carmichael Family Health Center in Canton, Diabetes Care Group in Jackson, Webb’s Pharmacy in Yazoo City and several Jackson-area Walgreens.
One of the most valuable things Wilson learned during her residency was how to “truly and comprehensively care for patients” by “becoming a much better listener,” she said.
“In the beginning, I wanted to go into each patient encounter with a plan and carry out that plan,” she said. “While having a plan in mind is a good idea, making connections with patients and building a trusting relationship with them is often more important.”
McKee learned during her residency that “there is a reason for everything people do, including why they don’t take their medications as prescribed,” she said.
“The reason may not be logical or even justifiable. But if you can figure out why a person feels he or she cannot take a particular medicine, you are 75 percent of the way toward getting that person to be adherent because you can change your education points to address that issue.”
McKee and Wilson were required to complete a research project and participate in the pharmacy school’s teaching program during their UM residency. While McKee’s research focused on determining the factors that enable some Mississippi community pharmacies to have successful and sustainable MTM programs, Wilson evaluated implementation of the Million Hearts initiative at four community pharmacies.
Throughout their residencies, McKee and Wilson both helped teach pharmacy students at their Jackson- and Delta-area practice sites, and the experience greatly influenced McKee’s decision to become a pharmacy educator.
“I love teaching students because that promotes a lifestyle of lifelong learning for me,” she said. “You never know that you know something until you try to teach it to someone else.”
McKee, who earned her PharmD from Ole Miss in 2012, plans to pass along to her future students “a wonderful skill” she learned at the university: how to find information.
“Since pharmacy is a field that changes every year, we want our students to be able to find information from credible references on their own,” she said. “I am very passionate about cultivating this skill in my future students.”