What is the value of Twitter for pharmacy students studying infectious diseases? In this article two academic pharmacists investigate the question with the support of student commentary.
Comments by: Andria Dang, PharmD Candidate 2019, Brinda Rajan, PharmD Candidate 2019, Monica Patterson, PharmD Candidate 2019, and Katie Alfond, PharmD Candidate 2019
Last updated: 8 April 2019
As pharmacy faculty who specialize in infectious diseases (ID), we see Twitter as an invaluable tool for learning, networking, and collaboration. In an attempt to share this tool with our students, as well as help them navigate using social media (specifically Twitter) as a professional resource, we have initiated tweeting as a required component of our advanced pharmacy practice experience rotations.
Students are required to tweet something they learned that day or week with the hashtag #OTILT, which stands for “one thing I learned today”, as well as tag their faculty and fellow students. This not only benefits the Twitter infectious diseases and pharmacy communities, but helps the students reflect on what they have learned and cement that knowledge into their ID arsenal.
Students are additionally encouraged to follow certain organizations or people (e.g., SIDP, ACCP ID PRN) who are highly engaged and often tweet new information or interesting questions. We spend time talking to students about the utility of Twitter, and social media in general, for professional purposes.
To provide insight on the student experience with using twitter for learning about infectious diseases, we asked students on a recent rotation to write 5 things they learned from using Twitter. Here are some of the things they said…
[Tip for mobile users: View this in reader mode to make the table easier to read]
|New Information/Current Practices||Networking||Reflection/Reinforcement|
|As children of the internet age, it is not surprising that social media has now worked its way into the professional setting. Platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter, are slowly growing into becoming the next tertiary source.||Using twitter as a pharmacy student allows you to build a community of professionals. This serves not only as a networking opportunity, but also as potential insight on the type of pharmacist I could become. It was motivational to see professionals from all around the world interested in one niche of pharmacy and that type of interest is infectious and makes you want to learn even more.||It may seem annoying having to tweet as a requirement, but I learned a lot from it because it forced me to do research on topics I never learned or heard of, such as Stenotrophomonas. I never knew this bug existed!|
|Twitter is really efficient in updating you on the latest ID articles. EVERYONE will be tweeting about it and the article will be EVERYWHERE.||Not only does it give access to other professionals, but it also gives you access to other pharmacy students worldwide. Building a network of contacts via the internet is something that most programs are new to. It gives you a strange sense of comfort knowing that someone else halfway around the country is going through the same things you are.||Twitter generally creates a very positive learning environment.|
|It’s the newer more relaxed LinkedIn which is better for students. It encourages learning, and networking at the same time. As new dogs to the pharmacy world, school provides us the space to learn our basic tricks, Twitter helps new dogs gain exposure to tricks still under phase 3 trial.||It may seem tedious at first, but it is really fun and informative. Especially if someone comments on your tweet to provide additional information that you never knew before.||A huge skill as a pharmacy student is being able to distill clinical information into an efficient, meaningful recommendation to the medical team. Twitter is the epitome of practice in this area – boiling down detailed information into 280 characters while always making sure your message is both adequate and correct.|
|Overall, using Twitter showed me that social media can be used as an informative resource to gather information and it is also a great networking tool!||As a student on a clinical specialty rotation it can be easy to feel disconnected from your preceptor who knows much more than you. Twitter helped me to feel more connected to my preceptor and the specialists – for example speaking in a format I could easily relate to.||For ID pharmacists it is important to know the details- what drugs cover what bugs, what requires renal adjustment, allergy considerations, etc. Twitter is an easy way to see what people have to say about the details of therapy- always being sure to back it up with concrete evidence.|
|Some ID pharmacists use twitter to ask for input on therapies used, dosages, and treatment options. Seeing the responses just shows how different and variable ID is, because sometimes there is no exact answer. This proves that ID is weird and there is not a definitive answer to everything.||Not only did I get to read tweets from physicians and pharmacists at my own practice site, but healthcare professionals from around the globe would chime in with ideas, concerns, and discussion points. This broadened my perspective on the profession that I will shortly be a part of and allowed me to learn from more mentors than I even knew was possible.||Being connected to the ID world on Twitter allowed me to read into conversations that I normally would not be a part of as a student. By reading about the “hot topics” from leaders and healthcare professionals in the field, I was able to enhance my own learning by taking that insight to help me consider different points of view while coming to my own conclusions as a student on rotation.|
|The ID world on twitter is critical, supportive, and very well connected. It kept me up to date on the newest research and journal articles that were coming out and not only allowed me to read real time with what professionals were thinking, but I even got to participate in the discussion sometimes. As a student, I really appreciated this because it is unusual to be in a setting where you are able to interact with top healthcare professionals in an informal way so early on in your career.||Using twitter on my rotation gave me a new way to explore and connect with what I was learning on rotation. It was a great way for me to reflect on my progress on rotation by tweeting something new I learned that day, and gave me the chance to converse with professionals about my tweet. Being connected with pharmacists on Twitter from around the globe has given me new perspectives into the profession I will be shortly entering. Twitter is definitely something that I look forward to continue using as I transition into a new practitioner and start my career.||Reflecting on one thing that I learned a day and tweeting forced me to think how to concisely summarize (in 280 characters) what it was that I wanted to remember, and also gave me a way to reference back to it afterwards. Tweeting in reference to a journal article even gave me the opportunity to interact with the author of one paper! Pharmacy is a small world and ID pharmacy is even smaller. It was really exciting being able to tweet back and forth real time with other healthcare professionals. This is not something that I would be able to easily do without the help of twitter.|
|There is no way we can always know everything about every drug and every bug. An easy place to start and ask a question if you’ve never seen a bug before? Twitter and the ID community therein.|
Recent literature supports using Twitter professionally within the ID community as a tool for networking as well as promoting antimicrobial stewardship. We are encouraging other colleagues to implement Twitter as a learning tool, and to use similar hashtags so we can track some of the interesting things our students learn!
We would like to acknowledge Dr. Debra Goff for inspiring the title of this article and for her work engaging pharmacists and others to leverage Twitter for professional growth and benefit.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Madeline King, PharmD, BCIDP
Dr. Madeline King received a bachelors degree in Biology from the University of Texas (Austin, TX) and doctor of pharmacy degree from Texas A&M University (College Station, TX). She then completed a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital (New York, NY) and a PGY2 infectious diseases pharmacy residency at Temple University School of Pharmacy (Philadelphia, PA).
Dr. King is currently an assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (Philadelphia, PA) and practices as an infectious diseases clinical pharmacist at Cooper University Hospital (Camden, NJ) where she precepts 4th year pharmacy students on infectious diseases rotations. She also takes students to Guatemala as part of a public and global health rotation.
Dr. King spends time teaching the infectious diseases fellows at Cooper, and teaching antimicrobial pharmacology to medical students. Her research has been in treating multi-drug resistant organisms and has published a multi-center case series on outcomes with ceftazidime-avibactam.
You can find her on Twitter @MK_IDpharm.
Brandon Dionne, PharmD, BCPS-AQ ID, BCIDP, AAHIVP
Dr. Brandon Dionne is an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Northeastern University School of Pharmacy and an Infectious Diseases Clinical Pharmacist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. He obtained his PharmD from the University of New England and completed a PGY1 and PGY2 Pharmacy Residency in Infectious Diseases at the University of New Mexico. He is a Board Certified Pharmacotherapy Specialist with Added Qualifications in Infectious Diseases, Board Certified Infectious Diseases Pharmacist, and AAHIVM-certified HIV Pharmacist.
Dr. Dionne teaches infectious diseases therapeutics at Northeastern and precepts students as well as PGY1 and PGY2 residents at BWH. He is an active member of IDSA, ASHP, SIDP, and ACCP and has held committee leadership positions in SIDP and the ACCP ID PRN. His research interests include vaccine administration, rapid diagnostics, and implementation of unique antimicrobial stewardship practices.
You can find him on Twitter @bwdionne.
ABOUT THE COMMENTING STUDENTS
Andria Dang, PharmD Candidate 2019
Ms Dang is a 2019 PharmD candidate from the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy. She has interests in pediatrics and infectious diseases, but is always open to experience new things. Other than pharmacy, Andria enjoys traveling, cooking, and eating!
You can find her on Twitter @AndriaDangg.
Brinda Rajan, PharmD Candidate 2019
Ms Rajan is originally from Bridgewater, New Jersey, and will be graduating with a Doctor of Pharmacy and minor in Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Business from University of the Sciences in Philadelphia in 2019. Her current interests include community, industry, and ambulatory care pharmacy.
You can find her on Twitter @BRpharmacist.
Monica Patterson, PharmD Candidate 2019
Ms Patterson is a doctor of pharmacy student in the class of 2019 at Northeastern University School of Pharmacy. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology and Science Technology at Cornell University in 2015. She has several years of experience working in both the inpatient and outpatient settings at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, MA. Monica is interested in pursuing post-graduate residency training and specialty areas of interest currently include infectious disease, oncology, and emergency medicine.
You can find her on Twitter @monipatt.
Katie Alfond, PharmD Candidate 2019
Ms Alfond is a doctor of pharmacy student in the class of 2019 at Northeastern University School of Pharmacy in Boston, MA. Throughout school, she interned at Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Alnylam Pharmaceuticals. She is an inductee into Phi Lambda Sigma, Pharmacy Leadership Society and also an initiate into Rho Chi, Honor Society. Katie will be a Global Medical Affairs postdoctoral fellow at Alnylam Pharmaceuticals through the Northeastern University Fellowship Program starting July 2019. Outside of the professional world, Katie enjoys sailing, exploring national parks, and visiting new cities.
You can find her on Twitter @SoonToBePharmD.
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