Pharmacy and Patient Care Experiences

The Pharm.D. curriculum includes pharmacy practice or patient care experiences starting in the first semester of the program. In addition to the FCOP policies and procedures, all students engaging in patient care must meet and maintain the following requirements:

  1. Pharmacy Internship/Intern Trainee Licensure;
  2. Respect and Protection of Protected Health Information;
  3. Professional Liability Insurance Coverage; and
  4. Standards for Professional Dress for Experiential Learning.

Pharmacy Internship Requirements 

All students are required to register with the Texas Board of Pharmacy (TSBP) as an intern trainee during their first year of the program. Applications and fingerprints should be sent to the Board of Pharmacy during the first two weeks of the program or before. After the first 30 hours of the program are completed, students are required to register with the Texas Board of Pharmacy as a pharmacist intern. Licensure must be completed prior to starting the second year, fall semester. Students are required to follow all Board of Pharmacy rules and regulations during their experiential learning experiences. Failure to obtain licensure may delay on time graduation.

Students must communicate any and all criminal offenses to the Texas State Board of Pharmacy as part of their pharmacy intern trainee/intern licensure. Failure to disclose offenses to the board may result in licensing delays and/or ability to become licensed. Criminal offenses must also be reported to the FCOP. Additional information, reporting, and reporting timelines are provided under Criminal Background Checks and Drug Screens.

Protected Health Information (Patient Privacy)

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 protects the privacy of an individual’s identifiable health information called Protected Health Information (PHI). Students may encounter patient- and caregiver-related information during classroom, laboratory, experiential, and extracurricular activities. Students, as a healthcare professionals, are obligated to respect any and all confidences revealed during any FCOP educational experiences including but not limited to, patient conditions, medical and pharmacy records, economic information and professional policies. 

No information should be circulated or discussed outside the clinical realms of the learning experience or in any inappropriate manner during the experience. Disclosure of information or inappropriate discussion of information is also a violation of the patient’s or preceptor’s trust and can cause harmful consequences for the patient, their caregivers, or the experiential site. Situations involving breach of HIPAA and disclosure of PHI is illegal and any student who chooses to violate this policy will undergo severe consequences.

HIPAA Training: The FCOP will provide initial and annual HIPAA training as part of the curriculum for the pharmacy students. Students should maintain a copy of their HIPAA certification within their portfolio. Students may need to complete a clinical site-specific HIPAA training in addition to the FCOP course.

Access to Confidential Information: Students may have access to privileged information about a patient/caregiver’s health and financial information, practice site information, and other information that is considered to be personal. Access to confidential subject information is permitted only on a need-to-know basis. Additionally, students are to keep all user log-in and passwords confidential when using any electronic device as well.

Disclosure of Confidential Information: HIPAA violations include, but are not limited to: disclosing patient information verbally or in writing (including email), unauthorized viewing of patient health information, talking about patient’s private health information in a public venue, posting of protected health information on social media, and posting photographs of patients without their permission. HIPAA violations are reportable to the healthcare institution, the FCOP (as a violation of the FCOP Honor Code), and for potential legal action. Consequences for violations include, but are not limited to, failure of a course or course assignment, removal from a clinical practice site, expulsion from the FCOP, and/or legal penalties.

Professional Liability Insurance Requirements

All FCOP students are covered by a medical professional liability insurance policy, offered for all medical profession students in the UT System. The insurance premium for this coverage is included as part of the tuition of all Pharm.D. students and is renewed annually. The insurance policy covers students and faculty during all FCOP organized experiential, professional student organization, and service learning activities while in the Pharm.D. program. The policy requires appropriate student supervision while providing patient care. Students can request verification of insurance from the FCOP Dean’s Office. The insurance policy does not cover students at their place of employment. It is recommended that each pharmacy student maintain private professional liability insurance to cover their activities outside of the FCOP (e.g. employment).

Student IPPE and APPE Placements

The FCOP Office of Experiential Education coordinates all pharmacy practice location assignments for students throughout the curriculum (professional years 1-4). The Office of Experiential Education strives hard to collaborate with students for site placement within the East Texas region and/or a location of the student’s choice. However, there is NO guarantee that a student will be placed at a certain rotation site or a specific region. Site placement depends on many factors including but not limited to:  site/preceptor selection criteria, site affiliation agreements, site offerings, licensure, number of student requests, etc. Students need to be aware that they may be asked to drive up to 2 hours for a practice experience, which is considered a reasonable and appropriate commute. It is the student’s responsibility that reliable transportation is always available for introductory and advanced experiences throughout the FCOP curriculum.

Standards for Professional Dress for Experiential Learning

All FCOP students are expected to adhere to the highest professional standards as outlined by the FCOP Student Handbook and Experiential Education Manual. Student pharmacists are representing themselves, their peers, and the FCOP. Their behavior and ethics directly effects the perception of a pharmacist and the practice of pharmacy. All students should behave appropriately and dress in a professional manner at all times. The student must comply with all site specific professional dress codes, which generally is business casual. Each clinical site may have additional dress requirements. Students should check with their preceptor at least 2 weeks in advance of the rotation to become familiar with any special requirements or needs. If the professionalism policy is not followed, students may be sent home and an unexcused absence will be documented for the day.

  1. All students must wear a neat, clean short white lab jacket with their FCOP nametag for all experiential rotations. Long white laboratory coats should never be worn by pharmacy students in patient care settings unless directed by a preceptor. 
  2. Female students may wear knee-length or longer skirts, dresses, or dress slacks with appropriate business (close-toed) shoes. Low-or-moderate heeled shoes are appropriate per dress code policy.
  3. Male students must wear dress slacks, dress shirts and ties, socks and appropriate business dress shoes.
  4. Jeans, shorts, athletic shoes, flip-flops, T-shirts, hospital scrubs (unless indicated) are not appropriate or allowed. 
  5. All students must maintain good personal hygiene at all times. Nails should be kept clean and well-manicured and at a length not to interfere with duties of a pharmacist. Please keep in mind that many sites do not allow artificial nails, fingernail polish and/or make-up. Naturally occurring hair color and style should be kept conservative and in a manner that represents a professional image. Cologne and perfume are not allowed. Additionally, earrings should be worn in a professional manner and limited to one to two per ear. No other body piercing, body modification and gauges should be visible. Additionally, tattoos should not be visible as well. Hats are not allowed.
  6. Gum chewing will not be allowed during clinical activities.
  7. All students will adhere to the site-specific policy regarding all tobacco products.