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CU students gain experience at Buckley pharmacy

Constencse Regalado, Buckley’s first University of Colorado pharmacy intern, works at a pharmacy machine checking drug information for patients July 1, 2013, at the pharmacy on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Regalado is in her final year of pharmacy school and chose Buckley as one of her required seven six-week internship rotations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Constencse Regalado, Buckley’s first University of Colorado pharmacy intern, works at a pharmacy machine checking drug information for patients July 1, 2013, at the pharmacy on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Regalado is in her final year of pharmacy school and chose Buckley as one of her required seven six-week internship rotations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Capt. (Dr.) Sam Hubler, 460th Medical Group pharmacy operations officer, verifies medication from a refrigerated cabinet July 1, 2013, at the pharmacy on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Buckley recently became part of an internship rotation program through the University Of Colorado School Of Pharmacy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Capt. (Dr.) Sam Hubler, 460th Medical Group pharmacy operations officer, verifies medication from a refrigerated cabinet July 1, 2013, at the pharmacy on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Buckley recently became part of an internship rotation program through the University Of Colorado School Of Pharmacy. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Capt. (Dr.) Sam Hubler, 460th Medical Group pharmacy operations officer, left, and Constencse Regalado, Buckley’s first University of Colorado pharmacy intern, assist an elderly customer with his medication July 1, 2013, at the pharmacy on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The internship program pairs students with highly trained military doctors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

Capt. (Dr.) Sam Hubler, 460th Medical Group pharmacy operations officer, left, and Constencse Regalado, Buckley’s first University of Colorado pharmacy intern, assist an elderly customer with his medication July 1, 2013, at the pharmacy on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. The internship program pairs students with highly trained military doctors. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Nicholas Rau/Released)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Cramming the books and staying up all night, this is the multi-year reality for many college students. However, there is one crucial part of advanced education that sometimes gets overlooked.

The internship.

Recently, Buckley Air Force Base became an internship rotation through the University Of Colorado School Of Pharmacy. This means that doctor of pharmacy students can now elect to do one of their seven six-week rotations on base.

The Buckley pharmacy provides a different work experience because its services come at no cost to the member at time of medication pick-up; something not normally seen at civilian facilities.

"We provide a unique setting because there is no money that changes hands here," said Dr. Matt Ellis, 460th Medical Group clinical pharmacist. "They get to work in an environment where they focus on the nitty-gritty of the job, and sometimes they get to take part in clinical activities that they would not get at a local drugstore.

"This is something that they may have never been exposed to before; maybe it wasn't a career path they knew about," he added.

The chance to intern at a military base creates a special job environment, to include different work center relations than a student may experience elsewhere. They are invited to squadron activities all while working with a close-knit group of professional pharmacist and technicians.

"I like that it's a community setting; I've really enjoyed it," said Constencse Regalado, Buckley's first CU pharmacy intern. "The staff is very friendly, and they're all very helpful. I really enjoy that and being able to see the pharmacy from the other pharmacists' perspective. I would definitely recommend it."

For Regalado, who is in her final year of pharmacy school, this is a chance that almost passed her by.

"I'm really glad that they started taking students from CU this year. Otherwise, I wouldn't have been able to get this opportunity," she said. "I was actually thinking about joining the military, so I wanted to see how it was while I was still in school."

While the program creates pharmacists mentored by highly trained Air Force doctors, it also creates a little breathing room for the Buckley pharmacists.

"They are an extra body to go out and counsel patients, so they are like an extension of us," stated Capt. (Dr.) Sam Hubler, 460th MDG pharmacy operations officer.

With pharmacy interns checking prescriptions, counseling patients and dispensing medications alongside their professional, Air Force counterparts, do the students help Buckley pharmacy better accomplish its mission?

Hubler said simply, "Absolutely."
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