Saturday, October 15, 2011

FDA Part I

Posted by Bernadette at Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's now officially been three weeks since I've been in the D.C. area and my FDA rotation at the Office of Regulatory Policy. It hasn't been exactly the experience I had expected, but good nonetheless. The FDA rotation is actually focused on student lectures more than anything else. These lectures are scattered throughout the D.C./Maryland area and are given by various branches of the government in which pharmacists can work. For example, I've been to the headquarters of USP, DoD (Department of Defense), APhA, and of course, various divisions and offices of FDA. (As you will see while on rotation, you become quite familiar with acronyms.) Your preceptor will also assign you projects, depending on the workload of the department.

There are both pros and cons with these student lectures. Yes, you do get to learn what these branches are, but because there's no outline for the talks, you don't always get to hear what pharmacists can actually do in the organizations. Rather, you get a plug for the organizations and learn more about what they do. This isn't always the case - it just depends on your speaker and how and what they wish to address in the 1-2 hours given.

The great bonus about these lectures, however, is the networking you do. All the P4s rotating through the FDA are invited to join, so at least for me, it's been a great way to meet other students from across the country. The speakers are also very open and willing to help out inquisitive students, so if you have any questions, want to learn more, or meet more people, they are happy to lead you in the right direction. There's no other rotation that can offer this type of networking opportunity in this restricted length of time, but it does require you to be proactive and seek out what you want. For me, it's been great making new connections and seeing what other students and professionals are doing and what they're interested in, and because we see each other on a daily basis, it's not a meet-and-greet once-a-year thing, which is starkly different from the usual networking events I've been to.

...more to come after my lectures!

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