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Friday, March 25, 2011

Once a person is accepted, how closely do they have to follow their planned courses exactly, or is it okay that they omit a non-prereq course?

VERY CLOSELY! Students are offered admission with the assumption that they will complete all In-Progress and/or Planned coursework as outlined on their PharmCAS and Supplemental Applications. Deviating from that plan without approval from our office is grounds for a potential re-review of the admissions file and, perhaps, revoking the offer of admission. Admitted students are provided with instructions on how to request an approval for course changes or drops.

One cannot have a great plan, get admitted, then drop the plan!

Ask me anything

Are you going to make the April 1st deadline?

Yes, of course we will make our April 1st notification deadline. We are right on track!

A quick update: We've sent out MANY admission offers already -- and received MANY acceptance confirmations! On the flip-side, we've also sent out MANY denial letters to date. We will send out another batch of offer letters, and unfortunately, another batch of denial letters. Waitlist letters will also go out.

It feels good to be wrapping up another admissions cycle.

Ask me anything

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Is there at all any preference between applicants who are in-state versus out-of state? Seems on forum sites (SDN) that most currently accepted students are from California. I'm trying to be absolutely patient and hopeful for good mail.

Good question. A couple of things to keep in mind:
1. First and foremost, be careful when reading online forums. I think it's easy to get caught up in the information being thrown about. They are public forums. Anyone can say anything -- even post false information. (For instance, I've read posts where posters have indicated they've been offered admission at a time when we've sent NO offers out! And then panic sets in from others who read that.) I also think it's easy to get caught up in thinking that the forums include EVERYONE who has applied or interviewed or accepted -- when in reality, it's only a few posters.
2. We don't have an in-state or out-of-state preference. We select our interview pool from those who apply to our program. The vast majority of our applicants are from California; therefore the majority of our interviewees are from CA. The majority of our entering class is from CA. If we received thousands of applicants from Tennessee, we'd probably interview a lot of people from Tennessee. And we'd have many Tennesseans in our entering class. But we don't.

Ask me anything

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's the number one most annoying question applicants ask you during this point in the admissions process?

I wouldn't call it "annoying" so much as "odd". We get so many questions about the wait list (usually "How many people on the wait list?") I find it odd because we have a ranked wait list and everyone on the wait list knows exactly what their number is. If someone is ranked #6, what does it matter if there are 16, 26, or 6,000 on the wait list? You're still #6. What's important to know is WHERE YOU ARE on the wait list, now how many people are behind you. Right?

Ask me anything

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Have you ever received angry letters from rejected applicants?

Yes. Those letters -- or angry responses -- are quite telling and reinforce the decision of the Admissions committee that the applicant isn't a good fit for our program. (How someone responds to a set-back can be more insightful than how they respond to success.)

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are you all done finalizing the admission/denial decisions?


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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Hello! I was wondering if you are sending admission decisions daily or every so often (in batches)?

Does it have to be one or the other?

(By the way, we did prepare a batch of letters on Friday -- both offers and denials -- but it was AFTER the 9am mail service deadline -- so nothing went out. It's currently sitting in the outgoing mail box. So no one has been notified either way.)

Ask me anything

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just another day at UCSF...

(I've been meaning to post this for a few days. A lot of friends have been posting it on Facebook. I'm glad it's being widely-circulated. Be sure and watch the video. How amazing is this? Yes, UCSF!)

New UCSF Robotic Pharmacy Aims to Improve Patient Safety
Karin Rush-Monroe
March 7, 2011

Although it won’t be obvious to UCSF Medical Center patients, behind the scenes a family of giant robots now counts and processes their medications. With a new automated hospital pharmacy, believed to be the nation’s most comprehensive, UCSF is using robotic technology and electronics to prepare and track medications with the goal of improving patient safety.
Not a single error has occurred in the 350,000 doses of medication prepared during the system’s recent phase in.

The robots tower over humans, both in size and ability to deliver medications accurately. Housed in a tightly secured, sterile environment, the automated system prepares oral and injectable medicines, including toxic chemotherapy drugs. In addition to providing a safer environment for pharmacy employees, the automation also frees UCSF pharmacists and nurses to focus more of their expertise on direct patient care. 

  Pharmacy robot selects medications from drawers.
Photo: Susan Merrell/UCSF

Integrated care
The new pharmacy is the hub of UCSF’s integrated medication management system which combines state-of the-art technology with personalized care.

“The automated pharmacy streamlines medication delivery from prescription to patient,” said Lynn Paulsen, PharmD, director of pharmaceutical services at UCSF Medical Center. “It was important to develop a system that is integrated from end to end. Each step in safe, effective medication therapy – from determining the most appropriate drug for an individual patient to administering it–is contingent on the other.”

The new pharmacy currently serves UCSF hospitals at Parnassus and Mount Zion and has the capacity to dispense medications for the new UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay, scheduled to open in 2014. As the phase-in continues, additional steps in the process will be eliminated as doctors begin inputting prescriptions directly into computers in 2012.

“We are intent on finding new ways to improve the quality and safety of our care, while increasing patient satisfaction,” said Mark Laret, CEO, UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. “The automated pharmacy helps us achieve that and at the same time, advance our mission as a leading teaching hospital and research institution.

Studies have shown that technology, including barcoding and computerized physician entry, as well as changes in hospital processes for medication management, can help reduce errors. The pharmacy also will enable UCSF to study new ways of medication delivery with the goal of sharing that knowledge with other hospitals across the country.

Automation at work
Once computers at the new pharmacy electronically receive medication orders from UCSF physicians and pharmacists, the robotics pick, package, and dispense individual doses of pills. Machines assemble doses onto a thin plastic ring that contains all the medications for a patient for a 12-hour period, which is bar-coded. This fall, nurses at UCSF Medical Center will begin to use barcode readers to scan the medication at patients’ bedsides, verifying it is the correct dosage for the patient.

The automated system also compounds sterile preparations of chemotherapy and non-chemotherapy doses and fills IV syringes or bags with the medications.  An automated inventory management system keeps track of all the products, and one refrigerated and two non-refrigerated automated pharmacy warehouses provide storage and retrieval of medications and supplies.

By using robots instead of people for previous manual tasks, pharmacists and nurses will have more time to work with physicians to determine the best drug therapy for a patient, and to monitor patients for clinical response and adverse drug reactions.

Educating the next generation
In addition, the new pharmacy offers a rich training ground for pharmacy students in the medication distribution systems of the future.

 Robotic pill picker and plastic bags for medication.
Photo: Susan Merrell/UCSF

“UCSF led the way in training clinical pharmacists, who focus on the patient rather than the drug product,” said Mary Anne Koda-Kimble, PharmD, dean of the UCSF School of Pharmacy. “Automated medication dispensing frees pharmacists from the mechanical aspects of the practice. This technology, with others, will allow pharmacists to use their pharmaceutical care expertise to assure that patients are treated with medicines tailored to their individual needs.”

The facility, located at Mission Bay south of downtown San Francisco, has been awarded LEED-CI Gold certification for its sustainable building practices.

Article originally published here.

The light at the end of the tunnel...

It's been a crazy few days, it seems. And time is flying by. Wait, it's March already? Wow.... time really does fly when you are having fun!

Shirin (our Outreach & Recruitment Coordinator) and I traveled to Fresno ("FresYES," I say!) this past weekend for Pharmacy Information Day. It was an excellent program, I must admit. We hosted a group of very interested and highly-engaged prospective students (and parents!) I can't believe we are already in the middle of our Spring Information Days. For those not familiar with these programs, you really should visit our website and get registered. We will be visiting Long Beach in April and hosting a San Francisco event in May. Good stuff, good stuff.  (I just realized what a shameless plug that was.)

We had another terrific Admissions Committee meeting today.  The discussions have been very interesting and extremely insightful. Having in-depth discussions about the strengths and weaknesses of our applicants really gives us a sense of who we are admitting (or not admitting.)  These discussions reinforce the fact that we LOOK AT EVERYTHING -- essays, academic preparation, interview evaluations, on-site essay, work experiences, letters of recommendation, leadership, involvement, passion, interest, fit for UCSF, etc. Oh, and that list isn't in any particular order -- just what came to mind. (I'm sure some will read into it and assume essays are the most important, followed by academic preparation, etc. Not true.)

So....  back to the original reason for this post.

We. Must. Start. Sending. Out. Letters. ASAP!

It's been easy to distract ourselves from sending out notification letters -- but we can wait no longer. We will start doing this tomorrow. Yes, we will. =)

In the interest of responding to frequently asked questions, here's a Q&A style post for you:

Have you sent notification letters yet?
Not yet. But we will tomorrow. Both admission offers and non-offer letters (also known as "denial letters".)

Will you send all letters out at the same time?
No. Just some -- both offer letters and denial letters.

If I don't get an offer letter soon, does that mean I will get a denial letter later?

If I don't get a denial letter soon, does that mean I will get an offer letter later?

My friend received her letter, but I haven't received mine. Can I call you and find out when my letter will be sent out? 
No. We are committed to sending all notification letters out by April 1st. If you haven't heard from us by April 5th, then definitely contact us!

I heard you started sending out letters earlier last year. True?
We may have sent them earlier -- by a few days -- but every year is different. As my mom would say "things are constantly changing in a constantly-changing world."  Every year is different. Every admissions cycle is different.

Why is it taking so long? 
Well, from our perspective, we are right on track! Our final review process is very very thorough. We want to make sure we are making the right decisions based on solid reasoning/evidence/information. We double- and triple-check our work. (That's important, right?)

I attended the first interview day. Does that mean I'll be notified sooner?  Oh, and my friend interviewed on the last day. Does that mean he will be notified closer to April 1st?
Nope! At this point, everyone has interviewed. Our notification process doesn't take into account when someone interviewed.

Can you fax or email my notification letter?
No. We believe it's important to notify you with a letter in the mail.

Are offer letters sent in big envelopes and denial letters sent in little envelopes?
All letters are sent in same-sized envelopes. We keep it simple. (But this question always cracks me up.)

I have an offer from another school. Can you expedite my notification so I can make a decision now?
Unfortunately, we won't. As we've previously told all our applicants, we are committed to sending out all notification letters by April 1st. To expedite a decision/notification wouldn't be fair to you, to us, and to all other applicants.

And finally......

Is patience a good quality in a future pharmacist?
Yes! Absolutely!!!
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