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MCPHS Student Lina Hasan,

Getting the Clinical Edge to Succeed

  • Lina Hasan, PharmD ’22, works more than 50 hours a week as a pharmacist based in Houston, TX. She was attracted to the online 24-month Non-Traditional Doctor of Pharmacy Program because it allows practicing pharmacists the ability to obtain a PharmD while still working their full-time jobs.

    Lina Hasan, PharmD ’22, explained that the Non-Traditional Doctor of Pharmacy gave her the clinical edge she needed to succeed in the workplace.

    “I always felt that I needed something to help me stay competitive in the very demanding and rapidly changing pharmacy market, and when I found out about the non-traditional PharmD, I knew that’s exactly what I needed," she said. "I needed my clinical skills to be sharpened with additional formal education that can provide the proper tools and skills to be a better clinician."

    Although she was already equipped with a bachelor’s degree and had passed the required certifications to practice as a pharmacist, she felt that she needed more education because the pharmacy job market is so competitive.

    About the Program

    The Non-Traditional Doctor of Pharmacy program is designed for U.S. licensed pharmacists (graduates of a U.S. or international school of pharmacy) who would like to advance their careers by earning their PharmD degree. Pharmacists can continue to practice while earning their PharmD degree through the 24-month online, part-time program. Most experiential work can be fulfilled through the student’s current work site. A four-week clinical rotation is required at the end of the program and completed in the state in which they are licensed.

    "This is a really good program to help you improve your clinical knowledge,” said Hasan.

    She explained that most students with a bachelor of pharmacy degree have not been exposed to clinical rotations or evidence-based medicine. For Hasan, the ability to learn about evidence-based medicine changed her mindset and the way that she practices as a pharmacist.

    “The program doesn’t just say learn it, memorize it, and then go and take a test," she said. "They teach you how to research, how to look for the most recent information, and how to use evidence-based medicine to treat your patient. As a clinician, your way of thinking changes, your way of practicing changes, and you learn how to use up-to-date guidelines to provide the best healthcare to the patient."

    Real-World Knowledge

    Hasan explained that she has enjoyed the pharmacotherapeutics course that employs a problem-based approach to pharmacotherapy, involving lectures, literature review, and faculty case discussions.

    “What I like is that all of the lectures are from practicing pharmacists in different settings," she said. "For example, the lecture on infectious diseases is given by a pharmacist who works in infectious diseases, so it’s not just a professor who reads books and gives you a lecture, but it is someone who is actually practicing in the field. They give you real-life scenarios that you may experience.”

    She also pointed out that there are multiple professors who teach a course so she is able to get many perspectives from different people who specialize in the topic.

    Boosting Confidence in the Workplace

    As someone who loves to learn, Hasan said that the program has boosted her confidence in the workplace.

    “As a prior-authorization pharmacist, I am required to do peer-to-peer reviews over the phone with doctors. Now, when I speak to a doctor, I can advise them if the treatment plan is supported by the guidelines and medical literature or not,” she said. “Before, it would have taken me longer to find the information. Now, I’m able to really have a more detailed discussion with the doctor and use my clinical judgement to apply it.”

    She said that this experience of feeling more confident in the workplace was a sentiment that was echoed by her classmates.

    Using Resources To Succeed

    As a non-native English speaker, Hasan felt overwhelmed by the writing component to the coursework at the beginning of the program until her coordinator recommended reaching out to The Writing Center. She met with them a couple of times a week to improve her writing skills and credits her success in the program to their assistance.

    “I really improved in that aspect because last semester, I only needed to do two reviews with The Writing Center," she said.

    She also learned how to manage her time more efficiently by listening to her coordinators.

    “At the beginning, I was not really following the instructions of the coordinators that much, but when I started applying their tips and advice, it made the program more doable,” she said. “If you asked me two years ago if I could do a two-year program with a hectic work schedule, I would have said it was impossible, but now I’m here to say that it is doable—but you have to put in the work."

    The School of Pharmacy at MCPHS has prepared more students for successful careers in pharmacy than any other university in the world. The Doctor of Pharmacy program is offered in six-year, accelerated and online formats, and is designed to empower the next generation of pharmacists.