Louisa Sullivan, a third-year pharmacy student at Creighton University, competed with pharmacy students from around the world during the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation (IPSF) World Congress in Harare, Zimbabwe.
From July 29-Aug. 8, a total of 300 students from 50 countries attended workshops, entered competitions and worked on public campaigns to educate locals about issues that affect their health. Sullivan was one of 15 students from the U.S., and served as a meeting secretary during general assembly sessions.
One competition required teams to make an assessment and plan for a hypothetical patient and then present their plan to an audience.
“The clinical skills competition was similar to the cases we do on a weekly basis in pharmacy school, so I felt well prepared,” says Sullivan. Her team placed first in the competition.
The competitions gave Sullivan a new perspective on pharmacy in other countries.
“It was really interesting because in the compounding competition we were in the labs that the students use in Zimbabwe,” says Sullivan. “The facilities were not what I am used to. There wasn’t any warm water to wash glassware. It was a little challenging.”
Throughout the sessions, students discussed pharmacy policies and curriculum in their respective countries.
“Pharmacy schools in other countries look very different in terms of curriculum. Many countries focus on the pharmaceutical industry, manufacturing and creating drugs. They put little focus on the clinical aspects we really focus on at Creighton,” says Sullivan.
Other programs included a team competition for donations to a local orphanage and a visit to a local pharmacy.
“In the hospital pharmacy, the shelves were basically bare. Most of the drugs they do get are donations,” says Sullivan.
Outside of the general assembly, students explored the sights of Zimbabwe. Sullivan visited Matobo Park, Antelope Park and Victoria Falls, one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
“The IPSF World Congress has made me realize how much the Creighton curriculum is preparing me to be confident in making clinical decisions,” says Sullivan. “I want to be a pharmacist so I can help people and Creighton has fully supported me in pursuing my dream to work in pharmacy.”