Published: March 20, 2020
Categories: UNT System College of Pharmacy
COVID-19 Screening and Exposures
What type of screening should students undergo?
UNT SCP students should follow the published COVID-19 CDC guidelines. Students should self-screen on a daily basis. Screening may include symptoms (such as fever, cough, shortness of breath), travel, and/or contact with person presumptive or confirmed COVID-19. Any student who believes they may be infected, MUST not attend the rotation site and MUST contact the preceptor and Dr. Lisa Worrall (Lisa.Worrall@unthsc.edu) as soon as possible. In addition, any SCP student who believes they may be infected, will be instructed to self-report, self-quarantine and seek medical attention.
If students are exposed to COVID-19 at site, what do I do?
UNT SCP students on clinical rotation SHOULD NOT be involved in the direct care of a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. Additionally, students should not be the first person to assess or screen a patient that presents with fever or suspected COVID-19. With adequate precautions, it may still be possible for students working at healthcare facilities to be exposed at site as the pandemic continues. Please follow your site policies related to known or suspected exposures. We will work with you individually if this includes not returning to site for 14 days. Students and/or preceptors should notify the UNT SCP experiential team (Lisa.Worrall@unthsc.edu) immediately should a potential exposure occur.
Should students work in a decentralized unit where suspected patients with COVID-19 are located?
UNT SCP student should not be involved in the direct patient care of suspected or confirmed COVID-19 patients. When possible, it may be prudent for students to work up patients and complete rotation tasks in a central pharmacy work area. We recognize that this may not always be possible, and if so students and preceptors should work together to identify appropriate workspace. Students and preceptors are highly encouraged to follow institutional policies including wiping down/sanitizing all equipment (computers workstations, phones, writing utensils, etc.) before and after use.
Completion of Rotation Hours and Requirements
Can students complete asynchronous projects or “work from home”?
Students in patient care rotations may be able to work from home for a certain amount of time. The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) advises that for required rotation experiences (Hospital/Health-System, Inpatient General Medicine, Ambulatory Care, and Community rotations), students must complete a minimum for 160 rotation hours (4 weeks). At UNT SCP, rotations are 240 hours (6 weeks) in length. At this time this means that there may be flexibility in hour hours are distributed on your rotation. All rotations incorporate some degree of assignments and projects, so time could be allocated to complete those assignments from home if needed, and additional assignments or projects outside of those specifically required in the rotation syllabi could also be assigned to supplement rotation experiences.
If students will be working from home, what is needed?
Students and preceptors should work together to determine assignments and expectations for completion (e.g. deadlines, objectives, etc.). Students have full online access to all UNTHSC electronic library materials from home or from their rotation sites. Students and preceptors are encouraged to connect electronically to touch base on projects at pre-specified agreed upon times (phone, email, videoconference). Feedback provided and oversight on progress should be provided at appropriate intervals and students should reach out with questions or clarifications if needed.
Is UNT SCP requiring students work from home?
Students are not required to work from home to complete rotation hours. At this time, completion of rotation hours and location of rotation work is at the discretion of preceptors based on their clinical practice and risk level. UNT SCP is recommending that asynchronous activities may be utilized as needed and could be front loaded during the Block 8 rotation (March 30 to May 8) to decrease contact time during these critical weeks. We recognize this is an evolving situation in healthcare but we also recognize the value in this as a unique learning opportunity for our students to see the care and expectations placed on pharmacists during a pandemic. As we enter the end of this rotation year and our students progress towards practice readiness, we also hope that the extra care they provide for patients and assistance at sites is welcome and helpful.
How may rotations be modified to reduce contact with patients?
Rotations such as Ambulatory Care, Inpatient General Medicine, and Community have specific goals and objectives surrounding patient care. With that being said, students and preceptors are encouraged to work together to identify experiences that provide high levels of patient care while maintaining CDC recommendations for appropriate social distancing. This may include modifications to standard patient care including contactless patient visits, telephonic patient encounters or counseling sessions, and virtual or telephonic interventions instead of rounding to name a few. Creativity and flexibility are encouraged with how we care for our patients and incorporate learners.
Are the regular rotation assignments still required?
At this time, all standard rotation assignments remain required, based on rotation type. Cases will be reviewed on an individual basis should a student complete rotation hours but have difficulty completing the required assignments due to changes in rotation structure. Additional rotation assignments or projects may be assigned by preceptors, as always.
Are end-of-rotation exams still required?
Rotation exit exams for the required rotations will still be required and administered by UNT SCP on the last day of rotation but WILL NOT occur on campus. The experiential team is working with UNT Testing and Evaluation Services for exams to be administered at home. Students should ensure that they have sufficient internet access for testing. Students should monitor their email for more information on exit exams once plans are made. This also applies to the NAPLEX practice exam held on March 27th.
What are the current plans for graduation?
UNT SCP students will still graduate upon completion of required rotation hours. Will graduation affidavits be mailed to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy on time? Graduation affidavits are typically mailed to TSBP on the Monday following graduation. For students who have completed the required hours and rotations, this will remain the case. If there is a delay in rotation hours completion, affidavits will be mailed immediately following completion of rotations hours and submission of final grades.
What are the plans for rotations that may get cancelled?
ACPE has provided guidance on potential flexibility in rotations while still meeting requirements for graduation and licensure. Specialty rotations (e.g. cardiology, nephrology, infectious diseases, etc.) can count towards the core inpatient general medicine requirements. Standards required 160 hours for each core rotation. In the coming weeks there is the potential that rotations could be shortened, or alternative elective rotations could count for core rotations. We will be flexible while still ensuring students meeting the required competencies to be practice ready. We may reach out pertaining to necessary rotation changes.
How often will updates be provided to students and preceptors?
Everyone is working diligently to ensure all pertinent communication and changes are sent to students and preceptors as soon as possible. This may occur via PharmAcademic announcements and emails to the student listserv. This FAQ document may also receive updates in this dynamic time, and updates will be recirculated as needed. Finally, UNT HSC University-wide updates may be found at: https://www.unthsc.edu/coronavirus/.
What if students are struggling with stress or anxiety?
Students who are feeling stress or anxiety, or preceptors who identify stress and/or anxiety in students should reach out to university resources. Experiential team members can assist with referrals or students may self-refer. Please see the below resources and do not hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns.
UNTHSC Care Team:
Student self-referral, preceptor or experiential referral
UNTHSC WellConnect Line:
Student calls directly
Website www.wellconnectbysrs.com Code: UNTHSC
UNTHSC Center for Academic Performance (CAP)
Resource for self-directed study habits and learning