Technical standards essential for admission, progression and graduation
The Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree requires students to become proficient with specialized knowledge, as well as in a proscribed set of skills, in order to successfully meet the standards for licensure. Thus, the program in the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Binghamton University requires PharmD candidates to possess a specified level of skills and functional competencies. These competencies are not only necessary to successfully complete the course of study, but they are also essential for ensuring the health and safety of patients, other healthcare professionals, faculty, staff and fellow students. In these policies, the term "candidate" will refer to students seeking admission to the school, as well as those already enrolled and progressing to graduation. In order to admit, evaluate, promote and graduate any person, it is the obligation of the candidate to meet these minimum technical standards.
Students who seek reasonable accommodations for a disability, medical condition or temporary injury/condition must contact Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD).
Applicants for admission to the PharmD program must possess certain abilities and skills, which are categorized below as observational, communication, motor, intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative, behavioral and social. In addition to these abilities and skills, a candidate for admission must also:
- Provide an up-to-date record of all required immunizations, which needs to be on file with the Binghamton University Decker Student Health Services Center and the Office for Student Affairs in the School of Pharmacy.
- Have a criminal background check that raises no concerns.
- Have access to transportation.
- Provide proof of healthcare insurance or proof of Binghamton University health insurance (see assistant dean for student affairs).
Binghamton University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (SOPPS) accepts transfer students enrolled in two- or four-year accredited institutions, graduates with bachelor's or post-baccalaureate degrees, former and current Binghamton students, U.S. and non-U.S. citizens, and permanent residents. Our program does not have a policy that limits or favors current Binghamton University students, transfer or out-of-state applicants. All applicants are considered equally. Binghamton University SOPPS is committed to a nondiscriminatory admission policy and philosophy. In accordance with federal and state laws, no person, in whatever relationship with Binghamton University, shall be subject to discrimination on the basis of age, religion or creed, color, disability, national origin, race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or veteran status. Binghamton University Nondiscrimination Notice.
Admitted pharmacy students: Due to the interactive and technical nature of the PharmD program and the pharmacy profession, there are additional skills and abilities that a candidate must possess in order to participate in the program. Students must complete the PharmD program within a reasonable length of time. To successfully progress, and to be approved for graduation, students must satisfactorily perform the abilities and skills outlined below during the course of their pharmacy education. The school will make efforts to work with admitted pharmacy students who are identified as demonstrating technical skill deficiencies. Pharmacy students who are unable to demonstrate satisfactory technical skills by the end of their P3 year may be dismissed from the PharmD program. Students requesting reasonable accommodations to perform the technical skills must contact SSD.
Required abilities and skills
A pharmacy student must be able to accurately and effectively:
- Comprehend instruction conveyed through physiologic and pharmacological images and demonstrations
- Distinguish various medication dosage forms and strengths and accurately select the correct drug product using either the packaging or the actual, physical drug entity
- Observe and assess the technical quality of manufactured or compounded medications
- Note and accurately interpret signs and symptoms present on a patient's body
- Discern very fine incremental gradations, e.g., those associated with equipment used for compounding and/or administering of intravenous medication
- Interpret and process written information in written and digital formats
If a candidate's ability to observe or acquire information through sensory techniques is compromised, the candidate must clearly exhibit alternate means and/or abilities to acquire the essential information. It is the responsibility of the student to meet with SSD to determine and explore alternate means deemed reasonable, but it is the University's responsibility to provide the alternate means if it is reasonable and does not cause undue financial burden.
Matriculated pharmacy students must be able to accurately, effectively and sensitively communicate in English with instructors, patients, caregivers and other healthcare practitioners. These skills also include, but are not limited to, perception of nonverbal cues and eliciting pertinent information regarding patient symptoms, needs, mood, activity and drug responses. A student must be able to accurately and effectively (in academic and simulated situations with instructors and actual patient-care situations):
- Converse and communicate effectively with healthcare providers and patients of diverse backgrounds and cultures.
- Communicate with other healthcare professionals regarding all aspects of safe and effective patient care including, but not limited to, reviewing and recommending verbal and written drug therapy orders.
- Speak in formal and informal presentation settings before large and small groups in a clear, articulate and confident manner.
- Interpret verbal and non-verbal communication cues displayed by a patient, caregiver or health professional colleague.
- Communicate in multiple formats including face-to-face, electronic, written or through verbal means (e.g. telephone).
- Communicate in writing using descriptive narrative, analytical interpretation, hypothesis generation and speculation.
- Interpret and deliver complex or technical information in an understandable manner to individuals who have physical, cognitive, language or other barriers or do not have a background in or knowledge of pharmacy or the health sciences.
- Elicit a medical and medication history, including, but not limited to, being able to clarify and condense the patient's primary problems, and interpret the information obtained to engage/consult appropriately with the patient and develop an accurate patient-care plan.
- Reconcile provider and patient medication lists.
- Comprehend and document medical and, more specifically, drug therapy consultations and pharmacist interventions, in a professionally-written format that meets commonly accepted standards for exchange of information among health care professionals (e.g. SOAP note).
- Possess awareness of his/her/their own, as well as others', demeanor and nonverbal communication and be able to adjust his/her/their own behaviors as dictated by the situation.
- Have the ability to communicate effectively, in person and by telephone, and in writing with patients, physicians, nurses and other health profession personnel, as well as lay individuals, often under circumstances where the availability for communication is limited.
- Engage in conversations with patients, caregivers and other health care professionals in noisy and complex environments.
Applications from students with hearing and speech disabilities will be given full consideration. In such cases, use of a trained intermediary or other communications aide may be appropriate and or reasonable. If the use of an intermediary is necessary, that intermediary must function only as an information conduit and will not provide integrative or interpretive functions.
Behavioral and Social Attributes
Candidates for admission must possess the ability to act with integrity, concern for others and compassion. They must be able to interact with faculty, patients and colleagues in a professional manner and must be able to function effectively and appropriately in difficult and stressful situations. The candidate must demonstrate good judgment, prompt completion of all responsibilities involved in patient care, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients, family members and colleagues. The candidate must be able to display flexibility and function in changing healthcare environments. Interpersonal skills, collegiality and continued interest and motivation are personal qualities that are all essential requirements for enrollment and progression in the PharmD program.
Motor Coordination and Sensory Competency
Matriculated pharmacy students must possess sufficient motor function, tactile ability and sensory abilities as required, for effective participation in all classroom, laboratories, conferences, clinical settings and activities. Pharmacy students must be able to perform some physical assessment of their patients, such as measurement of blood pressure using a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff, perform fingersticks for blood glucose monitoring or measurement of lipids for cholesterol screening, and perform subcutaneous injection, intramuscular injection or intranasal administration for the purposes of administering immunizations. Pharmacy students must be able to perform the functions necessary to compound sterile preparations in a laminar airflow hood using aseptic technique and compound non-sterile medicine effectively with or without reasonable accommodations.
A student must have sufficient motor function to perform basic tasks involved in the training for and practice of pharmacy, including, but not limited to, executing all aspects of processing drug orders such as operating a keyboard, dispensing all types of dosage forms and safe and aseptic handling and accurate dosing of sterile preparations. A student must be able to accurately and effectively:
- Demonstrate appropriate use and operate equipment including, but not limited to, peak flow meters, other pulmonary devices, glucose monitors and other point-of-care testing systems.
- Use diagnostic equipment for basic patient assessment activities including, but not limited to, stethoscope and sphygmomanometer.
- Document information in a legible form in any required setting (e.g. paper medical record).
- Use computer-based systems to retrieve and enter patient and non-patient specific healthcare-related data
- Use fine motor skills*, such as to handle various small dosage forms, formulate and compound sterile products, manipulate a needle and syringe, prepare and administer parenteral drugs including, but not limited to, immunizations.
- Use gross motor skills*, such as to perform patient assessment techniques including, but not limited to, palpation, auscultation, percussion, foot examination and to provide emergency treatment to patients such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid.
- Manipulate equipment required for compounding of pharmaceutical dosage forms, such as capsules, ointments, intravenous preparations, liquids, ointments and intravenous preparations, as well as other products as required by the curriculum. Students will need to be able to work with items such as prescription balances, both torsion and/or electric, mortar and pestles, syringes and needles.
- Use of motor* and cognitive skills to employ computer hardware and software programs.
- Use of motor* and sensory skills such as palpation, auscultation and other diagnostic maneuvers in order to perform elements of physical examination such as taking blood pressures.
- Understand and interpret patient profiles/charts (patient records of disease state, treatments) and discernment of color dosage forms as a check of identity.
The ability to utilize various types of laboratory, diagnostic and patient-care equipment is essential to participating in the PharmD program in the various settings that are required as part of the course of study and must be performed effectively with or without reasonable accommodations.
*The use of fine or gross motor skills may not be necessary if an appropriate assistive technology exists or in situations where the use of an intermediary is reasonable.
Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities
Demonstrated ability of intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative understanding is required for candidates in the PharmD program. Candidates must be able to exhibit fundamental problem solving, analytical reasoning and critical thinking skills that are regularly demanded of pharmacists. These skills must be performed in a timely fashion, with the use of good judgment, and must demonstrate the ability to adapt to new and changing environments and settings.
Candidates for admission must be able to demonstrate intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, as evidenced by academic performance in prerequisite courses. Letters of recommendation, co- and extra-curricular activities may also support the candidate's abilities.
Consistent with the level of education within the pharmacy program, matriculated pharmacy students must demonstrate a fundamental and continuing ability to use analytical reasoning to independently and in collaboration with a health care team synthesize knowledge, solve problems and explain healthcare situations. Information must be obtained, retrieved, evaluated and delivered in an efficient and timely manner. Pharmacy students must be able to demonstrate good judgment in patient care and assessment and have the ability to incorporate new and changing information obtained from the practice environment.