Policies & Standards
Before starting the application process, it is important that you carefully read the following Western New England University College of Pharmacy policies and standards:
Technical Standards for Admission, Progression, and Graduation
The Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) degree identifies persons who have completed the curriculum necessary to perform the functions of a pharmacist in a broad variety of clinical situations and to render a wide spectrum of patient care. These technical standards, in conjunction with established academic standards, are followed by the Admissions Committee to select learners who possess the intelligence, integrity, and physical, personal, and emotional characteristics necessary to become an effective pharmacist. These standards are required for admission, progression, and completion of the professional program, and are necessary to ensure the competencies of the College of Pharmacy’s graduates.
Learners who graduate from the program are eligible to become pharmacists without restrictions on their practice; therefore, the curriculum requires learners to successfully complete all core components of the program. Depending on the circumstances, some reasonable accommodation may be possible and made available to learners with disabilities, but a learner must perform in a reasonably independent manner. While the College of Pharmacy will attempt to develop creative ways of opening the University curriculum to competitive, qualified disabled individuals, the College of Pharmacy must maintain the integrity of its curriculum and preserve those elements deemed essential to educating a pharmacist. As such, the College of Pharmacy reserves the right not to admit or progress any applicant or learner who is unable to meet the technical standards with reasonable accommodations. Applicants should evaluate himself/herself for compliance with these technical standards; submission of the application will serve as testimony of the ability to comply with these standards. Applicants and learners who have concerns about meeting the technical standards should contact the Office of Student Affairs.
Candidates for the PharmD degree must perform specific essential functions that the faculty deem necessary for the practice of pharmacy. These functions fall into several categories, including: observation; communication; sensory and motor; intellectual, conceptual, integrative and qualitative; and behavioral and social. Candidates must also possess the physical and emotional stamina to function in a competent manner in a setting that may involve heavy workloads, multi-tasking, and stressful situations.
Observation: Learners must observe experiments and demonstrations in the basic and pharmaceutical sciences, including but not limited to pharmacological and physiological demonstrations in animals, evaluation of microbiological cultures, and microscopic studies of microorganisms and tissues in normal and pathological states. Learners must observe a patient accurately at a distance and at close proximity.
Communication: Communication includes not only speech but also reading, writing, and computer literacy. Learners will be expected to observe patients in order to elicit information and perceive nonverbal communication in order to make sound clinical decisions. They must communicate with patients, caregivers, preceptors, faculty, and all members of the healthcare team effectively, clearly, efficiently, and with appropriate empathy and sensitivity in oral and written English.
Sensory and Motor: Learners must accurately compound and prepare prescription products for dispensing to patients. Such actions traditionally require coordination of both gross and fine muscular movement, equilibrium, and functional use of the senses of touch, smell, and vision. They must elicit information from patients using basic patient assessment skills such as palpation, auscultation, percussion, and other diagnostic maneuvers. Learners must provide general care (eg. performing basic laboratory tests, administering immunizations) and emergency treatments (eg. first aid, CPR).
Intellectual, Conceptual, Integrative and Quantitative Abilities: Learners will be expected to learn through many modalities, including (but not limited to) classroom instruction, small group activities, individual study, computer technology use, and report preparation and presentation. Learners will be expected to possess the mental capacity to assimilate and learn large volumes of complex information. Learners will memorize, analyze, calculate, and distill data and make decisions in a timely manner within settings in which there may be a reasonable amount of visual and auditory distraction and other stressors. A learner must be fully alert and attentive at all times in clinical settings.
Behavioral and Social Attributes: Learners must understand the legal and ethical aspects of pharmacy practice, and conduct themselves within the guidelines established by the law and the profession’s ethical standards. Learners must possess the emotional health required for full utilization of their intellectual abilities, the exercise of good judgment, the timely completion of all responsibilities, and the development of mature, sensitive and effective relationships with patients and other healthcare professionals. Learners will be expected to tolerate physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing workloads and function effectively under stress. Learners must adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of many patients. Honesty, compassion, integrity, empathy, interpersonal skills, and interest and motivation are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admission and educational processes.
It is recommended that any person needing accommodations should request them as early in their program as possible, as the timeliness of approved accommodations may impact a student’s ability to complete all components of the program.Applicants and students with disabilities seeking accommodations under the ADA should refer to the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights document titled, Students with Disabilities Preparing for Postsecondary Education: Know Your Rights and Responsibilities(US Department of Education. September 2007) at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/transition.html. For more information and to register for accommodations, contact Student Disability Services (SDS) at (413) 782-1258.
Criminal Background Check Policy
Health Insurance Policy
Under Massachusetts state law, a student is required to participate in a “qualifying student health insurance program” or in a health insurance program with comparable coverage meeting the minimum standards established by the state. Information regarding Massachusetts Universal Health Care standards, health insurance waiver forms, and health insurance enrollment forms are available on the Western New England University Health Services website.
Learners enrolled in the College of Pharmacy are required to have and demonstrate proof of health insurance. Documentation of proof of health insurance must be submitted to Student Health Services by August 1 of each year of enrollment (PY-1 to PY-3). A copy of the learner’s health insurance card (or an official letter on company letterhead) that provides the learner’s name, identifying information, the company’s name and contact information (insurer) must be supplied to the College of Pharmacy Office of Student Affairs. The College of Pharmacy Office of Student Affairs should be notified of any changes to health insurance coverage in a timely manner.
In the final professional year (PY-4), the deadline for providing documentation of proof of health insurance will be set by the College of Pharmacy Office of Experiential Affairs, and may be earlier than August 1. Experiential sites may require proof of health insurance at the beginning of an experiential rotation, and may refuse the entry of learners who cannot provide proof of health insurance.
Learners admitted to the College of Pharmacy are required to have updated immunization records. Learners will not be permitted to begin the professional program without providing documentation of completion of the immunization guidelines and submitting them to Student Health Services (with a copy to the College of Pharmacy Office of Student Affairs) by August 1 of the year of enrollment. Learners are required to show proof of immunity (titers) or vaccination records and incur all costs for the following immunizations:
- MMR (measles/mumps/rubella)
- Hepatitis B
- Tuberculosis screening (Mantoux test)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
Recommended Immunization Schedule:
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella - Two doses. This immunization is typically included in most childhood immunization schedules, an official report indicating the date of immunization can be submitted.
- Diptheria/Tetanus/Pertussis (TdAP) - One dose. This immunization is typically included in most childhood immunization schedules, an official report indicating the date of immunization can be submitted. Evidence of a booster immunization for TdAP or tetanus-diptheria (Td) within the past 10 years is required.
- Hepatitis B – 0,1,6 months shot schedule is recommended. Tuberculosis screen (Mantoux test) - One dose, if the test is positive, a chest x-ray is required. Please note that this shot must be read by an appropriately qualified individual 48 – 72 hours after placement.Meningococcal – A bacterial meningitis vaccination is required. Acceptable vaccinations include (a) meningococcal polysaccharide vaccination (Menomune®) or (b) meningococcal conjugate vaccination (Menactra®, Menveo®) within the past five years. Varicella (chickenpox) - Two doses. These immunizations are typically included in most childhood immunization schedules, an official report indicating the dates of immunizations can be submitted. If the learner has a previous personal history of chickenpox or has been previously immunized for varicella and proof of immunization is not available, an official report of an acceptable titer level must be submitted.
- Learners are strongly encouraged to complete the three shot series in advance of starting the professional program; however completion of two of the three shots is acceptable if completed by August 1 of the year of enrollment with the third shot completed by the conclusion of the fall semester of the first professional year. If the learner has been previously immunized for Hepatitis B and proof of immunization is not available, an official report of an acceptable titer level can be submitted.
- Learners should keep a copy of their immunization records, health insurance, and health clearance in their possession while enrolled in the College of Pharmacy at the Western New England University. Learners may be required to provide copies of these documents to preceptors (healthcare practitioners) when they are assigned to off-campus clinical training requirements.
Special notes regarding immunizations:
- Additional immunizations or screening tests may be required on an annual basis in order to place learners on experiential rotations. Information regarding future updates and/or requirements and their deadlines will be disseminated to learners in a timely fashion.
- Learners are encouraged to consider obtaining all influenza vaccinations recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for healthcare workers
- Learners with chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes mellitus are strongly encouraged to consider obtaining pneumococcal vaccinations.
- While not a required vaccination, Western New England University Health Services strongly recommends that all students less than 26 years of age receive three doses of Human Papillomavirus vaccine.
- Female learners are advised that pregnancy is a contraindication to administration of certain vaccinations and should consult their healthcare provider for specific and additional information regarding vaccine administration.
Learners enrolled in the College of Pharmacy will be required to lease the learning technology (laptop, PDA, etc.) provided by the College of Pharmacy and to sign a lease agreement. Learners could be held financially responsible for any damage as a result of misuse or abuse. Due to support and standardization issues regarding the technology, no exceptions or exemptions will be allowed.
Learners are also required to purchase an audience response device (“clicker”) and to utilize it as directed within individual course syllabi.
Learners enrolled in the College of Pharmacy will have a variety of curricular and extracurricular obligations off-campus, including service learning activities, introductory and advanced experiential educational assignments, community outreach, advocacy, and/or activism activities. For this reason, learners are responsible for securing access to personal transportation.
Professional Liability Insurance Policy
Learners enrolled in the College of Pharmacy have professional liability coverage provided by the University for those activities that are a direct result of learner-related activities, such as participating in experiential learning.
Please note that this coverage does not extend to outside employment, summer internships, or internships independent of College of Pharmacy coursework. Unless purchased by the learner, learners do not have professional liability coverage for work related (non-College coordinated) activities.
The College of Pharmacy strongly encourages learners to purchase professional liability insurance. Learners may obtain their own professional liability insurance at a nominal cost from providers such as Pharmacists Mutual Insurance (www.phmic.com) or Healthcare Providers Service Organization (http://www.hpso.com/). For additional information, contact the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) at www.pharmacist.com or the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) at www.ashp.org.
Drug and Alcohol Policy
The Western New England University College of Pharmacy recognizes that alcoholism and drug dependency affects all members of society. The College of Pharmacy endeavors to protect learners by providing information about the hazards of drugs and alcohol, and desires to assist chemically impaired learners as well as those whose lives have been adversely affected by individuals with chemical dependencies. Learner concerns about oneself or a classmate regarding alcohol or chemical dependence should be reported to the Office of Student Affairs in order to ensure the protection of the learner as well as those who could be affected by impaired judgment (e.g. patients, classmates).
The Western New England University College of Pharmacy expressly prohibits:
- The use, possession, solicitation, or sale of narcotics or other illegal drugs or prescription medication without a prescription on University premises and/or while performing for or representing the College of Pharmacy in an official capacity.
- Being impaired or under the influence of legal or illegal drugs or alcohol while on University premises and/or while representing the College of Pharmacy in an official capacity (particularly if such impairment or influence of drugs or alcohol affects the academic or work performance, safety of University members, safety of patients, or puts at risk the College of Pharmacy's reputation).
- Possession, use, solicitation for, or sale of legal or illegal drugs or alcohol away from the University premises, if such activity or involvement adversely affects the academic or work performance, safety of University members, safety of patients, or puts at risk the College of Pharmacy's reputation.
Issues regarding alcohol and drug usage on campus are referred to the policies and discipline proceedings in the Western New England University Student Handbook. The College of Pharmacy has the authority and obligation to independently review the merit of any charges (irrespective of the actions and/or outcome of the investigation by the University or non-College entity), and may refer the issue to the College of Pharmacy Student-Faculty Ethics Committee for review and disciplinary actions as necessary.
As a condition of enrollment, every learner must abide by the terms of this policy and notify the Office of Student Affairs of any drug or alcohol related conviction. If a drug or alcohol related arrest or conviction should occur while enrolled in the College of Pharmacy, the learner must notify the Office of Student Affairs no later than five business days after such event; this includes (but is not limited to) driving while intoxicated arrests and/or convictions. Failure to notify the Office of Student Affairs of a drug or alcohol related arrest or conviction within five business days will automatically trigger a Student-Faculty Ethics Committee review of the case.
The College of Pharmacy reserves the right to remove learners who violate the chemical and alcohol dependency policy from any curricular or non-curricular situation (inside and outside of the classroom) or experiential site on a temporary or permanent basis if that action is deemed necessary to maintain the safety and welfare of patients, healthcare practitioners, classmates, or the general public. Additional information is available from the Office of Student Affairs.
Questions regarding the College of Pharmacy policies and standards can be directed to the Office of Student Affairs at 413-796-2113 or rxadmissions@wne.