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An Intern’s Experience – Michael’s Story

Michael Stubenvoll and Beth Coopman at Network Health pharmaceutical intern and path

Michael Stubenvoll was a graduate student, well on his way to earning his PhD when he realized his studies weren’t fulfilling his love for chemistry and science. After five years of working towards his PhD, he switched to pharmacy school at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

“In pharmacy, I get to understand how the drugs work,” said Michael.

Michael’s an Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience (IPPE) student in his second year of school. Students in the IPPE program are required to do seven internships as part of their education. Then, the last year of school is a completely hands-on experience.

“It’s luck of the draw when internships are assigned,” Michael said. “I saw that Network Health was an insurance company and thought it might be a completely different experience than anything else I had, so I was glad I was chosen.”

To participate in the Medical College of Wisconsin- Pharmacy School’s internship program, a Network Health pharmacist needed to complete the school’s preceptor application, send a CV and complete rubric or grading training to become a registered preceptor. Each pharmacy school may have different prerequisites to become a preceptor.

“We are considered an “elective site” compared to required hospital or ambulatory care pharmacy rotations,” said Beth Coopman, pharmacist for Network Health. “IPPE students come once a week for 10 weeks and have their regular course work the other days of the week.”

Michael started his internship in October of 2019.

His internship project was to look at medication adherence. He analyzed members with gaps in their diabetes care who were also on anti-depressants to see what kind of interventions could be done to close those gaps. These gaps include missing a diabetic eye exam, missing diabetic kidney lab work, having high blood pressure or high blood glucose.

“The project and internship opened my eyes to all the efforts that go into getting the members the care they need at a cost that’s affordable to them,” said Michael. “Actually, I didn’t even know that Network Health had a pharmacy department prior to this experience.”

Real world applications of pharmacy education with the interns is what Beth and the other Network Health pharmacists most look forward to when new students get chosen to work a rotation.

Through this experience, Michael’s perception of insurance companies has changed.

“It’s not what people think, members are actually involved in the company,” he says. “Network Health has a Medication Therapy Management program that’s designed to keep it’s members healthy, it’s patient focused. That’s what makes this place unique.”

If you’re a pharmacy student or thinking about going into pharmacy, Michael has some simple advice.

“Try to gain experiences that will make you more well-rounded in the end, which means learning a variety of things that can mold you into a better pharmacist. That’s what this experience did for me.”

Network Health currently offers internships at the Medical College of Wisconsin Pharmacy School and University of Wisconsin Madison School of Pharmacy.

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