Experiential Education & Co-op

About

All students majoring in Pharmacy, participate in the Cooperative Education Program (co-op). At Northeastern, co-op fulfills the Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) that is required in all pharmacy curriculum. Students are required to complete both a community and an institutional experience. Students who complete these requirements are eligible to utilize a third co-op for study abroad, international co-op, research, or a specialized pharmacy experience. Some examples are pharmaceutical industry, managed care, compounding, informatics, and nuclear pharmacy. Two full-time faculty, both licensed pharmacists, are responsible for the introductory experience curriculum.

All students are required to participate in a course: Introduction to Pharmacy Practice. This course introduces students to the world of work in pharmacy, professional behaviors, and basic introductory pharmacy practice skills.

Students work in a variety of positions throughout the greater Boston area during co-op and are also able in most cases to obtain positions close to home. All these experiences help students to learn and develop practice skills, expose them to the culture of health care, and to different career paths within pharmacy. The introductory experiences are essential in preparing students for their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE).

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences Information

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs) are completed during the sixth year (or 4th professional year) of Northeastern’s Doctor of Pharmacy program. Read more about curriculum requirements here. Pharmacy students are required to complete six, 6-week pharmacy experiences, often referred to as rotations.

APPEs provide ‘real world’ experience gained in a variety of professional settings. The primary goal of APPEs is to enable students to apply knowledge, skills, and behaviors to the practice of contemporary clinical pharmacy within the American health care system.

Enabling goals include:

  • to identify population-based drug therapy and monitoring requirements;
  • to communicate effectively to patients, preceptors, and members of the health care team;
  • to recommend patient-specific therapeutic plans based on the unique clinical, psychosocial, cultural, and educational needs of each patient;
  • and to develop organizational and time-management skills.

Students choose desired APPEs from among several hundred practice sites in the greater Boston area and beyond. Students must fulfill four required APPE rotations and can select two electives. The School of Pharmacy is affiliated with many institutions in Massachusetts, in the northeast region and as well as nationally. The Office of Experiential Education (OEE) works with preceptors in an increasing number of practice settings to offer the student body a wide variety of practice experiences. The OEE encourages the development of new and innovative practice experiences. The four required APPE rotations are: Community Pharmacy, Internal Medicine, Ambulatory Care, and Health-system. Examples of Health-system rotations include Cardiology, Infectious Disease and Intensive Care. Some examples of elective rotations may include Drug Information, Pharmaceutical Industry, and Teaching.

Sites offering APPEs are in, around, and outside of the greater Boston area. For example, students may fulfill their Internal Medicine APPE rotation at a major teaching hospital in the city of Boston or travel to the Cape and fulfill it at a hospital there.

Contact an OEE faculty and staff representative for additional information about APPEs.

Preceptors

Welcome and thank you for your interest and/or participation as a preceptor for Northeastern University School of Pharmacy. If you precept students during their Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE), you are guiding them through their cooperative educational (Co-op) experience. If you precept students during their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE), you are mentoring them as they complete their final year of pharmacy school.

Whether you are serving as a preceptor for Co-op/IPPEs or APPEs or both, your role is vital to helping our students acquire the knowledge and skills needed to become a competent, professional, practicing pharmacist. Your contribution to the development and education of our pharmacy students and the future of our profession is significant and much appreciated.

We hope you find the information available helpful. We are more than willing to assist you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Best wishes for a rewarding experience!

Interested in Becoming a Preceptor?

Thank you for your interest in becoming a preceptor for Northeastern University School of Pharmacy!
If you are interested in precepting students during their Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience Co-op/IPPE, contact Mark Yorra, MS, MPH at m.yorra@neu.edu or 617.373.3433 or Robert Blaser at r.blaser@neu.edu or 617.373.3472.

If you’re interested in precepting students during their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE), contact Jessica LaMonica at 617-373-5796 or email pharmacyoee@neu.edu.

Additional information about preceptor and teaching facility criteria is included in the following documents:

Preceptor Selection Criteria

All preceptors for Northeastern University School of Pharmacy Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) students must exhibit all of the following:

  • Licensed pharmacist in good standing with the licensing authority in the state in which the preceptor will accept students. Non-pharmacist preceptors who are subject to licensing must have a license in good standing with appropriate licensing authority.
  • Have at least one year of practice experience with a minimum of three months experience at respective practice site, unless circumstances of the practice experience indicate otherwise.
    In circumstances where the preceptor is not a pharmacist, but another healthcare professional, he or she must have at least one year experience with a minimum of three months at respective practice site.

Other pharmacists working in the setting with less than one year experience may, and are encouraged to, interact with students and will be eligible to be acknowledged by the School as a preceptor once they fulfill the selection criteria.

  • Agree to abide by preceptor responsibilities of the Office of Experiential Education, including but not limited to:
    • Provide an orientation and set clear expectations for the student regarding appearance, conduct, attitude, scheduling of hours, experiences to complete, professional conduct and dress, and general policies and procedures of practice.
    • Routinely and frequently provide formative feedback to the student on his or her
      performance in a professional manner.
    • Complete a fair and constructive mid-point and final evaluation and review them with
      the student in a timely and professional manner. Final evaluations must be submitted, to the Office of Experiential Education, within two (2) business days after a practice experience is complete.
    • Serve as a role model for the student and exhibit exemplary professional ideals as reflected through appearance, attitudes, practice style and accomplishments in practice.
    • Review student portfolio.
    • Provide practice experience and sufficient mentoring and supervision to accomplish
      objectives of the rotations.
    • Maintain student confidentiality at all times.
    • Inform all site personnel involved with the practice experience about program
      objectives and student’s expectations.
    • Make access to professional references and applicable technology available to the
      student.
    • Identify suitable alternative pharmacist contacts for the students if you will be out of
      town for a portion of the practice experience.
    • Communicate issues regarding the practice experience or significant deficiencies of
      a student promptly to the Office of Experiential Education.
    • All new preceptors must complete a preceptor orientation prior to taking their first
      student.
    • Participate in preceptor development programs.
    • Be willing to participate in site visit with Office of Experiential Education faculty/staff.

Teaching Facility or Organization Selection Criteria

All Northeastern University School of Pharmacy Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) practices sites must exhibit the following:

  1. Accredited and/or certified where appropriate.
  2. Be in good standing with the licensing authority in the state in which the preceptor will
    accept students.
  3. Have adequate resources available to support teaching activities.
  4. Employ high standards of practice and dedication to continuous quality improvement.
  5. Support daily contact of student and preceptor, or qualified designee, to ensure prompt and efficient feedback as well as have questions answered.
  6. Maintain adequate supervision during the training period to provide the student an
    experience consistent with the program objectives.
  7. Support professional staff involvement in the education of students.
  8. Provide adequate exposure to and contact with other health professionals and/or patients,
    as appropriate for setting.
  9. Promote a healthcare team approach to patient care, as appropriate for setting.
  10. Promote the clinical role/patient-centered care role of the pharmacist, as appropriate for setting.
  11. Have patient data readily accessible for patient care activities, as appropriate for setting (this may include: patient care records, laboratory results, pharmacy/nursing administration
    records, etc.).
  12. Encourage pharmacist and student participation on multidisciplinary teams, as appropriate
    for setting.

Thank you for your interest in precepting our students. We look forward to working with you!

Frequently Asked Questions

The co-op program is a structured pharmacy internship program where students work in a paid per diem position full time (32-40 hours) for 4 months as a pharmacy intern. Our students have three 4-month co- op experiences, in the summer between their 2nd and 3rd year, the winter/spring of their 3rd year and the fall of their 4th year. A curriculum grid is on the website below.

The students are registered as a Pharmacy Intern in the state they are employed in per regulations, and they would need a preceptor to complete their documentation. All students are provided the Massachusetts forms and links to all other states.

Is co-op a paid experience?

Yes, in the majority of cases, students are providing a service to the employer full-time for 16 weeks, so they should be paid a nominal wage. The range is from $11 to $17+/hour, depending on the job and geographical location. A contract is not required since it is an employer/employee relationship. In some cases, a student may chose to volunteer 8-24 hours a week to learn about a particular setting if a paid position isn’t available. They should not be used to replace regular staff.

Who is responsible for paying payroll taxes?

Students are placed in an hourly rate position as either a per diem or seasonal employee, and the employer is responsible for all related payroll taxes. A student cannot be hired as an independent consultant and submit a 1099 form per IRS regulations. Please review the Co-op Employer Handbook for details of employment, located on the above website.

Do students receive benefits?

As a temporary employee, they do not receive benefits in most cases. All students are required to have health insurance from either their family or the University, and the University supplies Liability Insurance. If there is an issue involving liability, please contact the co-op faculty member who will work with University Counsel. Some retail companies provide employee discounts but that is done based on a company policy.

What evaluations are required by the school?

Northeastern University utilizes the co-op experience to meet the accreditation requirements for a community and institutional experience. Students are guided to complete an experience in each setting by the co-op faculty. At the end of the co-op experience, the preceptor/supervisor is asked to complete a short competency assessment form. There is one specific for community and one for institutional settings. There is also a performance evaluation which assesses a student’s workplace behaviors including being on time, working with others, etc. Depending on the state internship requirements, the pharmacist preceptor must complete the internship record of hours. Competency evaluations are on the above website under FORMS.

Can I ask a student to return for a second co-op?

As long as they meet the competency requirements of an institutional and community experience, the student may return. If a student wants to return for a second co-op, they must ask the supervisor if they are welcome to return, and the co-op faculty will verify the information and address any funding issues associated with the position with the appropriate people.

Do students get time off during co-op?

Students are considered full-time employees during their co-op and must follow the scheduling requirements of the site. That includes weekends, nights and holidays. Students do not get a vacation during a co-op period and are not eligible for university time off such as Spring break and Christmas break. Dates are posted on the website above and students know well ahead of time what they are. If a student needs time for anything, they must go through the supervisor as all other employees. If there are any issues, please contact the co-op faculty to intervene with the student.

Can students work part-time in between co-op and during a co-op period?

Many employers, especially the local sites, ask that students work part-time after their co-op to provide night and weekend coverage and maintain their skills. We tell students that working about 8-16 hours a week is manageable, but beyond 16 hours is not recommended when they are in classes full-time. If a student has a co-op position and wants to work part-time in addition, as long as the employer is not a direct competitor and both employers are aware of the situation, it is allowed. The full-time co-op position takes priority over the part-time position in scheduling.

What other resources are available for students while on co-op?

Students on co-op are considered full-time students and are eligible for counseling services, library access and other benefits of a student. If there are any issues that occur during a co-op experience, contact the co-op faculty and they will work with the appropriate University resource to address a particular concern.

If a student is stellar and I want to recommend them for recognition, how do I do it?

Northeastern University has a Cooperative Education Award program which recognizes outstanding co- op students throughout the university. The co-op faculty member nominates students based on feedback received from employers. Other avenues include state professional associations which recognize outstanding students, nominated by pharmacists at the site. Students have also been recognized in hospital newsletters and other media. We have some amazing students in the program.

Can a co-op student be terminated before the end of the work period?

Yes, as an employee, a student is subject to the policies and rules of the employer. If a situation occurs where continued employment is in question, we would like you to contact the co-op faculty to determine if there are any other issues ongoing outside of work and if the situation can be resolved. The employer has the ability to terminate a student at anytime.

Do students receive a grade for co-op?

Students receive a Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory on their transcript. As long as a student completes their co-op, completes the evaluations and learns from the experience, they receive a Satisfactory. If a student gets terminated or has issues during the co-op, they may receive an Unsatisfactory. The grade does get noted on their transcript. The co-op faculty has the final decision on the grade.

Can International Students work on a visa?

Yes, International students must receive authorization to work from the International Student and Scholar Institute (ISSI). The student will receive a form from the co-op faculty once they obtain a job offer and accept, and the form is presented to the ISSI counselor who will review their documentation and authorize the student to work during a set date time. International students cannot obtain a social security number until they have a co-op position, so for the first position, there is a short delay but they are directed by ISSI to obtain a social security number. If an international student wants to work part-time in a pharmacy, called a parallel co-op, they need the authorization form renewed. Pharmacy students are the only ones who can work part-time due to licensing/curricular requirements. A student is not allowed to work without ISSI authorization. The website is: http://www.northeastern.edu/issi/