Author Archives: tchen6

Peer-Led Practicum Preparation Resource

What you will find here: This module was created by Jessica Lee (2024 University of Toronto Entry-to-Practice PharmD program candidate) to help you prepare for your practicum with tips and advice from a peer’s perspective.

Access the Peer-Led Practicum Preparation Resource (Developed in 2024)

First Nations Health Benefits (Plan W)

What you will find here: Information on First Nations Health Benefits (Plan W).  Including information on eligibility and coverage information on medical supplies and equipment, over-the-counter medications and health professionals resources.

First Nations Health Benefits (Plan W)

Therapeutics Initiative (TI)

What you will find here:  The Therapeutics Initiative (TI) was established in 1994 by the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in cooperation with the Department of Family Practice at The University of British Columbia with its mission to provide physicians and pharmacists with up-to-date, evidence-based, practical information on prescription drug therapy.

Therapeutics Initiative

Health and Wellness

This video outlines the basics of maintaining health and wellness while you’re on practicum and away from your usual supports. This video also reviews some potential resources and coping strategies.

Video Timestamps:
o Tina’s Story 0:11
o Emotional Awareness 1:49
o Basics of Self-Care 2:57
o UBC Resources 4:57
o Self Compassion 5:55

Hello my name is Dr. Tablet, but you can just call me Tab. In this video, we’ll be talking about health and wellness during practicum. Practicum can be an exciting time for students, but it can also be scary and stressful. Emotional awareness, self-care and compassion are key tools to help you manage your health and wellness throughout your practicum and in life. To explore these topics further, we’ll be following the story of a pharmacy student on practicum and discussing some of the emotions and stressors she experiences.This is Tina. Tina is a first-year pharmacy student who lives at home with her parents and sisters. When she’s not busy studying, she hangs out with her friends and goes hiking with her sisters.

This year, Tina has been assigned to a pharmacy that’s 8 hours away from her hometown meaning she’ll have to move away from her family and live on her own for the first time in her life.

While she was hoping to be placed closer to home, Tina is up to the challenge and is excited for the opportunity to learn in a new environment.

Starting her practicum, Tina falls into a new routine. She wakes up, goes to practicum, returns to her apartment, and works on her practicum activities. While she knows that her family is just a phone call away, somehow, it’s not the same.

Her practicum is far more difficult than she expected. Today was her first time dealing with health insurance and she mistakenly charged a patient for their medications without checking if they had drug coverage. This caused the patient to get very upset and one of the pharmacy assistants had to step in to manage the situation.

Tina is worried that the pharmacy staff may feel bothered that they need to step in to help. She also feels bad asking questions and feels anxious whenever her practice educator gives her feedback. She also notices that other staff members don’t interact much with her and concludes that perhaps they don’t enjoy working with her. Returning home to her empty apartment, Tina can’t wait until her practicum is over.

Let’s pause for a moment and identify what emotions Tina may have experienced in her first week of practicum.

Tina may be experiencing any or all of these emotions. She may feel lonely since moving away from her family, tired from her long days at practicum, and insecure or anxious about her performance so far. At the same time, she might be feeling optimistic and excited about the opportunity to be working with such an experienced pharmacy team. She knows school has prepared her for this practicum and is confident in her ability to take on new challenges as they come.

Identifying our emotions, and trying to understand why we feel the way we feel, can help us learn more about ourselves and manage difficult feelings when they arise.

By identifying her emotions Tina can find productive ways to manage them and keep them from overwhelming her.

By recognizing her feelings of loneliness, she can take steps to help herself by reaching out to friends and family.

By acknowledging that she is feeling insecure about her lack of experience, she can start to question how this is affecting her perceptions and work to reframe her thoughts. Does the pharmacy staff actually dislike her or are they just busy with their work?

Identifying your emotions is an important part of emotional awareness that can help you move past negative emotions, embrace change, and feel well.

Next up, I’ll be talking about self-care and the basics of health and wellness.

As healthcare professionals, we educate our patients about self-care all the time. We talk about exercise, healthy eating, and the importance of sleep and reaching out for help when needed. Now it’s time for us to take our own advice.

The changes in Tina’s life have affected the very basis of how she cares for her own health.

Where before she went hiking with her sisters, she now stays home instead.
Where she used to get home cooked meals from her family, she now has a lot of fast foods.
She’s been separated from her main network of social supports and she berates herself over every mistake and failure.

Tina recognizes she won’t be able to change her situation overnight but she knows that taking a look at her basic health needs is a good place to start.

While hiking with her sisters is no longer an option, Tina decides to start making the effort to get out of her apartment and go for walks at least once a week. She finds that the fresh air helps to relieve some of her anxiety.

In school, Tina had learned about nutrition but always found it difficult to apply her knowledge to everyday life. She decides to take this opportunity to spend some time in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes. She looks up new recipes online and her friends and family are more than happy to share their own recipe suggestions. Tina finds a sense of accomplishment in learning something new.

Tina recognizes the importance of a good night’s sleep and makes it her mission to take care of herself by cutting down on coffee before bed and reducing her nightly screen time.

It was a slow and very personal journey but Tina learned to adapt to her new situation and work towards better health and wellness.

I know it can feel difficult at times to incorporate self-care into your busy schedule. Between pre-readings, preparing care plans and presentations, it can be hard to find time to focus on personal wellness.

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits all solution when it comes to this but I’d encourage you to remember that self-care doesn’t have time be time-consuming or complicated. It could be as simple as taking a 15-minute break while working on your care plan to stretch your legs, listen to some music, or call a friend.

I want you to know that there are resources you can use and people who are here to support you. You just need to take the first step and ask for help.

UBC has a variety of free resources to support you throughout your studies. These include counselling services, personal wellness activities, and more. Online and in-person assistance is available so you can access help no matter where you are.

The Office of Student Services is also here to support your wellbeing. I would encourage you to contact them if you’re going through any challenges such as health issues, adjustment to the program, or family concerns. They can also help connect you to the right person to talk to such as our in-house counsellor or other resources.

If you’re experiencing financial stress or anxiety, talk to your Enrolment Services Advisor. They can help answer any questions regarding your financial situation at UBC.

When dealing with practicum- specific difficulties such as struggling to meet practicum expectations, requesting academic concession, or managing conflict with your practice educator, the Office of Experiential Education is here to help you.

The last thing I want to talk about is self-compassion

Many pharmacy students can be their own worst critic. There are times when I have made mistakes that haunted me for days. I remember thinking things like:
“How did I not know that”
“I’m not cut out for this” and
“Why am I doing so bad”
These, and other negative thoughts, seemed to play in an endless loop and, like Tina, I began to feel paranoid that others thought these things about me as well. When this happens, I practice self-compassion by using positive self-talk instead and standing up to my inner critic.

It’s natural to feel embarrassed or disappointed with yourself when you make a mistake and during these times it’s important that you make an effort to be kind to yourself. Negative self-talk can quickly take a toll on your mental and physical well-being.

So be kind to yourself and remember there’s no shame in asking for help.

At the end of the day, I want you to know that you’re not alone, stress is a normal response and it’s okay to give yourself permission to take care of your own health and well-being.

I hope you found this video helpful.

Thanks for watching. I’m Dr. Tablet and I hope you have a fanTABulous practicum!


We would like to thank Alyssa Low for helping to create this video and Garrett Tang for helping to create this video and designing original images (e.g. Dr. Tablet).

Health Promotion

This video follows Aria as she plans and conducts a health promotion activity. Dr. Tab will also be sharing some advice along the way.

Video Timestamps:
o What is Health Promotion 0:26
o Planning 1:16
o Preparing 3:34
o Delivering 4:39
o Follow-up 5:47

Hello, my name is Dr. Tablet, but you can just call me Tab. In this video, we’ll be following Aria as she plans and conducts a health promotion activity for her practicum, and I’ll be sharing some advice along the way. Let’s jump right into it! Before Aria starts her first day, she reviews the practicum handbook and recalls that she’ll be participating in a health promotion activity. Curious to learn more about what health promotion means, she does some research online.Health promotion is defined as “the process of empowering people to increase control over, and to improve, their health.” When we think about the concept of health, the World Health Organization describes it as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being” rather than simply the mere absence of disease. Now even though health promotion is focused on prevention and improving health, traditionally, our health care systems are oriented around curing disease and treating medical conditions. More emphasis can be placed on the prevention of disease such as reducing risk factors and taking more of a holistic approach with patients. As pharmacists, we have a shared responsibility for health promotion. We play a role in providing education, promoting patient well-being, and advocating for our patients and communities.After understanding the importance of health promotion, Aria can’t wait to get involved. But where does she begin?The first step in creating a health promotion activity is choosing a topic. Aria asks her friends what they’re planning and realizes that the possibilities are endless. Jamie wants to educate his community members about opioids and naloxone, whereas Dany plans to run a smoking cessation clinic.

This brings me to my first tip: when choosing your topic, consider the patient demographics of your pharmacy. Here are some questions to consider:
• What patient populations frequent this pharmacy?
• What are the more common medical conditions patients are presenting with at this pharmacy?
• What common questions are asked by your patients?
• And does your pharmacy work with any community partners?
Determining your target audience and their needs will help you identify an engaging and impactful health promotion activity.

Aria takes the first few days to observe the patients that frequent the pharmacy. She notices that cardiovascular medications are commonly dispensed, and patients often ask questions about them. In fact, some patients don’t even know what they’re taking or why they’re taking them. Aria believes that they would benefit from additional consultation and education, so she discusses her idea with John, her practice educator. John agrees that this is a worthwhile initiative.

Remember: it’s important to involve practice educators and the pharmacy team, as they have a good understanding of the needs of their patients and community. So the next question is: how will Aria address this patient need?

Here’s my second tip: Once you identified the topic of your activity and are deciding on your delivery method, consider the potential barriers faced by your target population. In other words, what might prevent them from accessing health care? For example, elderly patients may have mobility issues that make it difficult for them to attend in-person events. Providing an option for a phone consultation may be helpful.

Aria reflects on her patients and recalls that they come from many different cultures, representing several different languages. They also have varying degrees of health literacy, so the health promotion content should be kept clear, with a focus on using language that is easily understood. Visual aids such as charts and graphs would also help in presenting statistics or explaining numbers such as explaining one’s 10-year cardiovascular risk.

Before continuing, Aria talks to John about the various resources available at the pharmacy. John points out that Aria can make use of the blood pressure monitor, as well as the various printed materials such as pamphlets and drug information sheets related to heart health.

Aria is now ready to prepare her content. She dedicates time every day to researching and creating content for her activity. Throughout the preparation stage, her practice educator reviews the content and provides feedback. In addition, she also brainstorms ways to generate interest in order to reach her intended audience.

My next tip is to get the word out early about your health promotion activity. You can try:
• Creating an ad to display in the pharmacy
• Informing team members about your activity and ask them to help identify and recruit patients
• And if appropriate, visiting nearby medical clinics to let them know of your upcoming activity

Aria shared with the team that her initiative would be good for anyone who is over 40 years old, requires support with managing their weight, a smoker, and/or has diabetes. With approval from her practice educator, she offers both in-person appointments and virtual consultations. Soon, interested patients begin to sign up.

The day before her activity, Aria calls her patients to remind them of their appointment, what to expect when they arrive, how long the appointment will take, and what specific information they should bring with them. It’s always a good idea to confirm appointments ahead of time as life can get busy.

On the day of the clinic, she wears a clean lab coat with a nametag and ensures that the counselling room is tidy. Soon, her first patient arrives. Despite feeling nervous, Aria follows her pre-planned structure with confidence. John sat in on the appointments to ensure that she was on the right track and that she felt supported. With each patient, Aria takes their blood pressure and vitals, and reviews their lab results. Aria then calculates her patients’ cardiovascular risk, and provides education on lifestyle changes. Each patient is also provided with a handout summarizing the information so that they can refer to it when they return home.

My next tip is to be an active listener and patient-oriented throughout your activity. Patients are much more motivated to change their behaviors when recommendations and advice are tailored to their specific individual needs. Aria takes time to listen to her patients’ concerns and asks open-ended questions about their own desired health care goals. By doing so, she is able to provide individualized recommendations to her patients.

With every patient, Aria provides a summary of the specific action-oriented goals and next steps on a written document. She also follows up with the patients’ doctor and care team with any concerns or drug therapy problems that she has identified.

At the end of each interaction, Aria schedules a follow-up appointment with each of her patients. The next tip is to ensure a follow up plan is in place for each patient. Health promotion interventions can be a great opportunity to identify patients who require continued pharmacist consultation and support – patients may have drug therapy problems, other issues and could benefit from a more complete medication review in the future. There’s evidence to suggest that interventions that involve follow-ups with patients tend to be more beneficial than ones that do not. More precisely, interventions incorporating regular follow-ups were more likely to result in greater behavioural changes and health outcomes. Therefore, I encourage you to follow up with every patient. If you aren’t able to do it for reasons such as your practicum coming to an end, you can handover your patients to another member of the pharmacy team to ensure continuity of care.

As the day wrapped up, Aria felt like she achieved a lot today. On her bus ride home, Aria takes some time to reflect on her experiences. This brings me to my final tip which is to reflect on your experience—what worked, what didn’t, and what you’ll do differently next time. A core component of experiential education is reflection, as it allows students to understand their strengths, areas of improvement, and formulate a strategy for future situations. I encourage you to actively seek out feedback not only from your practice educator but also from patients. After an interaction or appointment, students can ask their patients if they found this of value or helpful.

In Aria’s case, after meeting with each patient, she asks them to fill out a short survey asking how effective they found the consultation to be, what they enjoyed, and what could be improved for next time. She also sits down with her practice educator afterwards to debrief and discuss the feedback received.

During this practicum, Aria gained first-hand experience about the value and importance of health promotion and developed an understanding of the opportunities that pharmacists have to better the lives of patients. That’s all I have for Aria’s journey. Now it’s your turn—I’m excited to see what health promotion activities you will embark on throughout your practicums!

I hope you found this video helpful. Thanks for watching. I’m Dr. Tablet and I hope you have a fanTABulous practicum!

Acknowledgements:  We would like to thank Lucy Zhou for helping to create this video and Garrett Tang for designing Dr. Tablet.

Assessment Process

This video outlines the assessment process by reviewing the rubric, the types of assessments you’ll encounter, and the ways OEE can help you if you are struggling.

Video Timestamps:
o Assessment process 0:44
o Grading rubric 1:10
o Ella’s Story 3:06
o Student Support 4:53

Hello, my name is Dr. Tablet, but you can just call me Tab! Today, I’ll be going over the assessment process for practicums. To illustrate things, I’ll walk you through the assessment process, the grading rubric, and highlight ways we can support you.There’s a lot to cover, so let’s begin.On practicum, instead of tests you’ll demonstrate competencies by applying the knowledge and skills you’ve gained throughout the years, you’ll get valuable feedback from your practice educators and be assessed on a day to day basis in a real practice setting. These assessments will play an important role in your learning since they can confirm what you’re doing right and show you where you can improve. However, they can also be stressful, especially if you’re not sure about what’s expected or what supports are available to help you succeed.Often there will be two major assessments: a midpoint and a final. On direct patient care practicums, your practice educator will evaluate your progress based on an assessment rubric emphasizing three domains: knowledge, such as identifying therapeutic alternatives, skills, such as effective information gathering, and professionalism.
The performance levels are based on the Dreifus model of skills acquisition which describes five stages of learning a new skill from novice to advanced beginner, competent, proficient and expert. You’ve probably experienced this when you’ve learned new skills like driving. When I learned to drive, I started by studying the rules of the road.As a novice, I needed a lot of guidance from my instructor, even with simple things like reminding me of the step by step process of changing lanes. As an advanced beginner, I developed a stepwise approach for common tasks like left turns or entering highways, I could do some things on my own, but I still needed guidance and supervision and I wasn’t able to drive on my own just yet. With practice and experience, I developed the essential skills needed to make short trips on my own. But I still needed guidance for complex situations like navigating heavy traffic. But as I learned, I gradually became more independent. With more time and experience, I became proficient and was able to drive independently with the ability to adapt on my own, relying on judgment and intuition. After years of driving experience, I’ll be able to reach expert level like my instructor and perhaps teach others one day. Like learning to drive, I began my pharmacy career as a novice, learning mostly through didactic and a basic checklist approach. But with help from my practice educators, I grew my skills year after year.

Your practice educator will help by modeling required skills, as well as coaching and providing feedback. During your assessments, they’ll consider what they’ve observed, along with input from other team members to help you set goals and track your progress. Your assessments will be either formative or summative. Midpoint assessments are formative, and is feedback for learning. It identifies what you are doing well and what you can still improve. Final assessments are summative and are an assessment of learning.

Your practice educator will review your performance and compare against the expected level of skills and knowledge. For a more in-depth description, please review the student assessment forms. Now let’s meet Ella, who is currently preparing for her second year outpatient practicum. Ella was excited to start learning at her new site, but during her first week, she struggled with a lot of the clinical questions from patients and her practice educator. This made her anxious and she started to question herself, even when she knew the answer.

Worried about looking bad, she also became hesitant to approach new patients and decided to spend most of her time on technical tasks that she was familiar with. Many problems start as a gut feeling that something is wrong. But Ella couldn’t pinpoint the problem and didn’t think it was worth bringing up. Ella knew that she should reach out to her practice educator or course coordinator early to help her find the root cause of these feelings. But… Ella was afraid to admit that she was struggling, so she didn’t.

At first it was just the workload and the questions. But as she became more scared of making mistakes, she also stopped making recommendations to doctors and approaching patients. When it came time for her midpoint assessment, she fell short in a few categories since she stopped engaging in clinical tasks and her practice educator felt she wasn’t demonstrating these skills. Even though her problems started with answering questions, it ended up affecting her skills and even professionalism. In the end, Ella’s practice educator recommended her practicum coordinator to follow up with her and suggested that Ella reach out to them as well. These situations can be frustrating and difficult to deal with, especially since Ella thought she was well on track to finishing successfully. But it’s not unusual to, at times, fall below expectations in one or more categories. Keep in mind that learning is a process, and receiving constructive feedback or experiencing setbacks is a natural step in that process. But waiting to share concerns or not asking for help can slow down your progress. That’s why I encourage you to reach out for support early and give yourself lots of time to resolve issues or concerns.

Just like Ella’s situation, what can you expect when you reach out to OEE?

They’re here to support student learning so that you can be successful and have a productive experience. They’ll listen to your concerns and help you navigate everything from academic performance to well-being. Here are some common scenarios: if you’re struggling with stress or external pressures, your course coordinator can connect you with the right health and wellness resources. If you’re having difficulty with balancing your coursework or meeting practicum requirements, they can provide support and guidance. This can include helping you to create an action plan and following up with you as often as you need. If you’re not getting enough support from your practice educator or you’re having conflicts with people at your practice site. OEE can even help mediate discussions to help promote a safe learning environment.

You should feel comfortable contacting the Office of Experiential Education at any time if you have any concerns. In Ella’s case, she felt that something was wrong but waited to reach out, hoping it would go away or that nobody would notice.

Luckily, it wasn’t too late for Ella, and the OEE was able to help her create a plan on how she was going to build up her confidence over the coming weeks. They also connected her with the appropriate student resources. For the rest of her practicum, her practice educator and course coordinator worked collaboratively with Ella. In addition, Ella met with her practice educator regularly to discuss her recommendations, clinical thought process and general feedback. As Ella engaged in more patient care activities, her performance improved and her confidence grew as well.

By the end of her practicum, she was able to demonstrate the expected level of performance, and even exceeded expectations in some categories.

So that was Ella’s story.

Before you begin your practicum, it would be helpful to review the assessment rubric. And remember, if you have any concerns during practicum, please reach out for support as your practice educator and the OEE are here to support you.

I hope you found this video helpful.

Thanks for watching! I’m Dr. Tablet and I hope you have a fan-TAB-ulous practicum.

Acknowledgements:  We would like to thank Garrett Tang (Undergraduate Student) for helping to create this video and for designing original images (e.g. Dr. Tablet).

Learning Moments on Practicum Video Series

In this video series, the concepts of the learning cycle, learning moments, and learning scripts are described in the context of student learning on pharmacy practicums. The first two videos on the Learning Cycle and Learning Script set the stage and describe these concepts; the subsequent videos show how these concepts might be applied to learners’ experiences in different practice settings.

01 – The Learning Cycle

02 – The Learning Script

03 – Creating Learning Moments on Outpatient Practicums

04 – Creating Learning Moments on Inpatient Practicums

05 – Creating Learning Moments on Non-Direct Patient Care Practicums

Acknowledgements, Licensing, References, and Project Team
The team behind these videos would like to acknowledge the (rather loose) use of Kolb’s (1984) concept of the experiential learning cycle and its more recent renditions in theories of adult learning (see Taylor & Hamdy, 2013).

Similarly, the notion of learning script as used throughout these videos, is based on Schank & Abelson’s (1977) concept of “script” and its application in health sciences education as “teaching script” (Irby, 1992; Marcdante & Simpson, 1999) and “illness script” (e.g. Schmidt & Rikers, 2007).

Animation, Script Writing, and Directing Team:
George Pachev          Garrett Tang

Gilly Lau                      Harmen Tatla

Neelam Dhaliwal        John Lee

Tarique Benbow

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support for this project provided by UBC Vancouver students via the UBC Teaching and Learning Enhancement Fund (TLEF).


These videos are part of the Educational Resources to Support Effective Learning in Pharmacy Settings Project and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial- ShareAlike 4.0 International License: (Links to an external site.)

Kolb, D. A. (1984). Experiential learning: Experience as the source of learning and development. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall.

Taylor, D. C. M. & Hamdy, H. (2013) Adult learning theories: Implications for learning and teaching in medical education: AMEE Guide No. 83, Medical Teacher, 35:11, e1561-e1572, doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2013.828153

Schank, R., & Abelson, R. (1977). Scripts, plans, goals and understanding. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Schmidt, H. G., Rikers, R. M. J. (2007). How expertise develops in medicine: knowledge encapsulation and illness script formation. Medical Education, 41, 1133–1139.   doi:10.1111/j.1365-2923.2007.02915.x

Irby, D. M. (1992). How attending physicians make instructional decisions when conducting teaching rounds. Academic Medicine, 67, 630–638.

Marcdante, K. W., and Simpson, D. (1999). How Pediatric Educators Know What to Teach: The Use of Teaching Scripts. Pediatrics 104, 148 – 151.