ADA – Service learning is an integral component of the college experience for students in the Ohio Northern University College of Pharmacy as part of the university’s emphasis on developing well-rounded students who impact their professions and communities.
“Pharmacy is a profession that is focused on improving the quality of life for individuals. Therefore, it is important that our students gain experiences that allow them to put community service into action,” said Michelle Musser, director of community outreach in the ONU College of Pharmacy.
Participating students gain skills that bridge the classroom and labs with the workplace in their future careers.
Courtney Fichter, a fifth-year pharmacy student from Galena, who graduated from Olentangy High School, worked with the Kenton City YMCA and Kenton City Middle School on an outreach educational program involving 80 students.
“Outreach has added to my college career because it allowed me to get into the community, meet new people and network with the community agencies,” Fichter said. “Planning and executing outreach events has help me prepare for the lifelong service I will provide to my patients. We are able to apply our classroom knowledge, develop skills for our practical experience and have direct interaction with patients.”
In her role, Musser coordinates service-learning efforts for the college. Students are required to perform at least 50 hours of service learning during their college careers, and many far exceed that threshold. Much of the outreach is achieved through the college’s 14 student organizations. Adding structure to these endeavors, Musser also teaches a course, “Introduction to service learning.”
Most of the projects involve the local region.
“These efforts are a winning situation for both the students and the organizations,” Musser said. “Students learn to work with people, as well as plan and organize events. The interpersonal skills they develop during these interactions are invaluable for success in the health care field. They are also best developed in practical settings outside of the classroom and labs. Further, pharmacy is a broad field, and these opportunities open up horizons to students while introducing them to various career paths.”
“The organizations, on the other hand, gain resources and are able to offer new programs that extend their reach and benefit the community,” Musser said.