Pacific grads enrolled in new immersion program top California pharmacy license exam

pharmacy students

University of the Pacific graduates who enrolled in an immersive three-week program to prepare for the California pharmacy licensure exam outperformed students from all the state’s other 13 pharmacy schools.

The Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy at Pacific created the new initiative—dubbed Rx for Success—for graduates of the Doctor of Pharmacy program after seeing statewide passage rates plummet in recent years from the low 90% range down to the low 60% range.

“This is an absolute game-changer for our students ... The Rx for Success initiative is increasing passage rates dramatically.” -  Professor Rajul Patel

In the most recent results from the California Practice Standards and Jurisprudence Examination for Pharmacists, often called CPJE, 916 test takers from California’s other 13 pharmacy schools recorded a 62.7% average passage rate. But the 100 participants of the special Pacific summer program who have taken the California licensure exam had an 83% passage rate.

The Rx for Success program was designed by Long School faculty and offered free to all graduates, starting right after May commencement.

“This is an absolute game-changer for our students,” said Professor Rajul Patel, the lead architect of the immersion program. “Statewide more than one in three PharmD graduates are failing the CPJE, which means they cannot start practicing as pharmacists after years of studying. The Rx for Success initiative is increasing passage rates dramatically.”

The three-week program covered 44 topics and featured 39 speakers. The program was designed and executed by a small team of faculty and staff that included Sian Carr-Lopez, a former clinical professor and assistant dean for experiential programs at the Long School, and Jessica Song, chair of the Pharmacy Practice Department.

“We sought to ensure that the program was delivered by full-time seasoned practitioners who could make the material come alive by sharing clinical pearls, helpful mnemonics and other tools to best position program participants," Patel said.

Dean Berit Gundersen said the Rx for Success program will remain a fixture at Pacific.

“We are focused on one objective—the success of our students,” the dean said. “The Rx for Success program gives our students an enormous competitive advantage over students from other pharmacy programs, enabling them to start practicing their chosen profession without delay. We look forward to providing this essential resource—free of charge—for our graduating students again this May.”

The Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy has been a long-time leader in pharmacy education. The school was established in 1955, becoming only the third pharmacy school in California.