I hope and pray everyone had a wonderful Christmas holiday and are going to get some well deserved time off. As we head into 2021 (thankfully right!), I wanted to introduce to you the new competency statements that will go into effect in the New Year by NABP. Knowing what to study is a very important part of being successful when taking the examination. Previously the exam was divided into two "areas" of focus and now that has been expanded to six areas based on feedback to NABP from current pharmacists in many different practice settings. Here are the six areas of focus:
1. Area 1: Obtain, Interpret or Assess Data, Medical, or Patient Information (~18% of exam)
2. Area 2: Identify Drug Characteristics (~14% of exam)
3. Area 3: Develop or Manage Treatment Plans (~35% of exam)
4. Area 4: Perform Calculations (~18% of exam)
5. Area 5: Compound, Dispense, or Administer Drugs, or Manage Delivery Systems (~11% of exam)
6. Area 6: Develop or Manage Practice or Medication-Use Systems to Ensure Safety and Quality (~7% of exam)
My hunch is that when you read these areas, areas 1-3 come as no surprise. However areas 4, 5, and 6 were not stressed as much on most clinical rotations yet make up a third of the examination. Here are some questions to think about:
1. How many calculations have you done on rotation outside of normal kinetics?
2. How knowledgable are you within sterile or non-sterile product techniques, procedures or equipment?
3. How well do you know not only know the clinical applications of medications, but also how they are stored, handled, or disposed?
4. How about disease screening or prevention programs?
If you are feeling anxiety, don't worry! The good news is that we are just entering 2021 and you have a good amount of time to prepare within those areas that you do not feel confident. My experience is that students once they know what to study can easily fill in these gaps and perform well. Knowing is indeed half the battle! Full details of these six areas can be found here: https://nabp.pharmacy/programs/examinations/naplex/competency-statements-2021/
Next week's column will be devoted to help you develop a study plan leading to examination taking place in mid-2021. Enjoy your time off before your last half-year of pharmacy school. Can you believe you are almost done?