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Pitt student experiences rural retail pharmacy

Brittany Ritchey is a sixth year student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy. For one of her specialty rotations she chose the “Rural Community Pharmacy Experience” offered by Denise and Peter Kreckel.
Brittany spent four weeks under the wing of these two pharmacists who have over 50 years of combined experience. Brittany worked every Monday and Tuesday at the Kopp Drug store in Tyrone, where she honed her clinical and consultative skills. She learned work flow management, counseling procedures, inventory control and a better understanding of the over the counter products and home health care equipment.
Brittany spent Wednesdays with Denise where she serves as the manager of CareSite Pharmacy at the Sunbridge Health Clinic in State College. Brittany worked on several projects primarily on in depth questions asked by the physicians of that clinic. She researched tablet formulations without lactose, and psychiatric meds that may cause color changes in hair. She showed her expertise by offering in-depth counseling of two patients who were trying to quit smoking. The one patient was a 17 year old female who needed the pharmacist’s expertise to quit smoking. Brittany, being the youngest clinician available at the clinic, quickly related to the habits of a teenager and made a most appropriate therapeutic determination.
On Thursday mornings, Brittany traveled to St. Francis University with Peter, where he serves as an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Pharmacology in the Physician Assistant Sciences Department. There she sat in on the Pharmacology lectures, and gained an in-depth appreciation for the “fast paced” lectures that were delivered to this fastest growing profession. Brittany remarked that what Kreckel taught in 8 one hour lectures, she had covered in a semester in Cardiology. The students realized quickly what a resource Brittany was, and saw inter-professional cooperation at its finest. Brittany presented her two case studies on smoking cessation to these students during the lecture on Smoking and Alcohol cessation that was the topic for that hour. Brittany also had the opportunity to tour Value Drug in Altoona where she learned first hand how drugs get distributed from the manufacturer to the local retail pharmacies.
Brittany had one last opportunity to share her polished clinical skills. Last Thursday night she addressed the Boy Scouts of Troop 300 on the topic of Teen Smoking Prevention. Armed with Hershey Kisses, and numerous pamphlets on the dangers of smoking and chewing tobacco, she covered the topics of costs, peer pressure, and the health hazards of tobacco use. She gave the Scouts several graphic pictures to consider before indulging in these most addictive habits. Her topic was very well received by the Scouts.
Her topic was also very timely as today the American Cancer Society is celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Great American Smokeout.
Today, Americans who smoke and want to quit are urged to call the American Cancer Society’s Quitline®, a clinically proven, free telephone-based counseling program, at 1-800-ACS-2345, or to log on to, to embark on a personal plan to quit.
Brittany had a most enjoyable experience with the Kreckels as well as with the staff of Kopp Drug and CareSite Pharmacy. She learned the personal touch of dealing with patients, but most importantly how continuing education and in-depth knowledge of Pharmacology is so necessary in the fast paced ever changing world of pharmaceutical health care. The Kreckels look forward to the spring when they will offer another rural pharmacy experience to another Pitt student pharmacist.
Brittany Ritchey addressed the Boy Scouts of Troop 300 on the topic of Teen Smoking Prevention. Her topic was very timely as today the American Cancer Society is celebrating the 31st anniversary of the Great American Smokeout.