About this Blog: AGEC Geriatric Student Scholars provide a first hand account of their experience as a Geriatric Student Scholar at the UAMS Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative.
My name is Samantha Pennington, and I am a 2019 Geriatric Student Scholar for the UAMS Arkansas Geriatric Education Collaborative (AGEC). I am from the small town of Poyen, Arkansas. In 2016, I graduated from Henderson State University with a Bachelor of Science in biology and a minor in chemistry. Currently, I am a third-year pharmacy student at the UAMS College of Pharmacy. I work at Community Care RX Pharmacy in Malvern, AR and Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, AR.
I have always loved the geriatric population. I have been blessed with awesome grandparents and elders in my life! Older adults are complex patients with many aspects of care to consider. When I graduate, I hope to be a resource that geriatric patients in my community can turn to. To learn to better care for this population, I enrolled in a Geriatric Therapeutics course with Dr. Lisa Hutchison last semester. We helped lead a Medicare Part D clinic at the UAMS Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging. During this clinic, we met with geriatric patients and helped them to choose the best insurance plan option. We also participated in an “Adopt-A-Patient” assignment and were given a patient to follow throughout the semester. My partner and I went to our patient’s house to visit with her three to four times over the semester. We were able to get to know her and her family. She told us about her life story, shared lessons she learned through the years, and always made us laugh. I thoroughly enjoyed sharing time with my patient. We discussed her medical conditions, therapy, and even quizzed her on her medications. She was a great sport and allowed us to perform physical assessments and mental state examinations. This course expanded my interest in this population and helped me to discover that I love the field of geriatrics!
Since January, I have had the pleasure of attending two academic Geriatric Grand Round presentations and participating in three community events. The grand rounds were “Treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease “Inside & Outside the Box” and “To Urinate or Not to Urinate: That is the Problem.” The community events were Hope for the Future Caregiver Workshop, Diabetes Empowerment Education Program, and Alzheimer’s Experience: Take a Walk in Their Shoes. All of these events helped to expand my knowledge of common geriatric conditions and disease states. It is so important for health professionals to learn how to provide appropriate care for the geriatric population. There are many aspects to consider, from complex disease states to geriatric syndromes such as delirium, polypharmacy, and malnutrition. Health care providers must learn how to manage these disease states, while also considering the pharmacokinetics/pharmacodynamics of treatment. It is also important to be able to break-down complex concepts to each patient so that they can provide the best care for themselves. I have enjoyed learning about this population and having the opportunity to meet some great patients. I can’t wait to learn more as I continue throughout my pharmacy school education!
About the program: The purpose of the Student Scholars program (sponsored by AGEC) is to increase health professions students’ interest and exposure to older adults, to improve knowledge of older adults and the specialized care they need and to promote interprofessional collaboration among health professions students. Click here to learn more about the AGEC Geriatric Student Scholar Program.