Doctor of Pharmacy Program

Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPE)

Office of Experiential Education

The last year of the curriculum is comprised solely of experiential learning called Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs). Each student is required to complete six 6-week, 40hrs/week clinical rotations, for a total of 1440 hours. The purpose of these experiences is for the PharmD student:

  • to acquire the necessary clinical knowledge and skills to develop an optimal pharmacotherapeutic regimen for patients.
  • to enhance communication skills, both written and verbal,  in order to convey this care plan to others.
  • to develop effective patient counseling techniques.
  • to develop confidence in managing pharmacotherapeutic problems in collaboration with other healthcare professionals and patients.

APPE Purpose

APPE ensures that students have multiple opportunities to perform patientcentered care and other activities in a variety of settings. Experiences are in-depth, structured,and comprehensive in the aggregate, and carefully coordinated with other components of the PharmD curriculum. Collectively, APPE hones the practice skills, professional judgment, behaviors, attitudes and values, confidence, and sense of personal and professional responsibility required for each student to practice independently and collaboratively in an, team-based care environment.

Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education, 2016 Standards

All students must successfully complete four required rotations and two electives. These experiences occur in a variety of different practice settings.  The six rotations include the following types of experiences:

  • 1 Community Pharmacy (chain or independent pharmacy)
  • 1 Institutional ( hospital or full-service LTC facility)
  • 1 Ambulatory Care ( i.e. outpatient clinics, physician offices, MTM clinics)
  • 1 Adult Inpatient/Acute Care General Medicine
  • 2 Electives—students can choose from a variety of options, i.e. Managed Care, Clinical Specialty (i.e. Oncology, Pediatrics, Critical Care, Pain Management and others), Drug Information, Geriatrics, Corporate Management/Leadership, and Industry etc.

APPE rotations start shortly after final exams in May at the end of the P3 year and are scheduled until early May of the following P4 year. There are 7 rotation blocks offered during the year, of which each student will be assigned to 6. Due to the volume of rotations and to ensure equal opportunities for all students, the assignment process is done by a lottery system. Each student has 6 choices for each of the 6 rotations. The lottery system will match the student’s choices with rotations offered by preceptors.  For students to start APPE rotations they must have:

  •  at least a 2.30 QPA in required professional courses and proof of academic advancement from the Office of Student Affairs
  •  attended a mandatory meeting to prepare for APPE coursework
  •  completed all IPPE coursework

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know which rotations to select?
In September of the P3 year there is an APPE Orientation. Subsequently, the Director or Experiential Education is available for individual meetings with students to answer questions and offer advice given a student’s future career interest. A rotation showcase is held in January where P4 students share their experiences and answer questions about all the rotations they have completed.  Students will then make their selections in February and rotation placements will be announced in March.

How do I select my rotations?
You will have 6 choices for each of your 6 rotations.  Our experiential education management system is programmed to assign by a “LOTTERY” system. This means it takes your selections and matches you to in-area sites you list as preferences based on site/preceptor availability.  You must understand this is an impartial process, and therefore you may not get all of your top preferences.

What are in-area sites?
The majority of APPE rotations are done in-area. In-area is defined as a 60 mile radius of Providence. This means that you can be assigned to sites within this radius which includes bordering MA (including Boston) and CT.

Where are the out-of-area sites?
Out-of-area is anything beyond a 60 mile radius of Providence. If you are from out of state (area) and interested in completing a rotation closer to home, there are additional rotation sites available.  The Office of Experiential Education (OEE) must know about your interest before the lottery, as availability varies each year and you are placed before the lottery occurs. You must complete the Out-of-Area Request form by a designated date in the fall.

If you request an out-of-area site you are responsible for your own transportation and housing arrangements. 

Can I do all my rotations at home if I am not from RI?
Most likely not, unless you are from areas of MA or CT which border the 60-mile limit. The College does have partnerships with a number of sites throughout the country which can be reviewed by the students in their P1 year. Again, placements vary from year to year depending on preceptor availability.

What about licensing, background checks and drug testing?
All students must have a Rhode Island license during all 4 years of the professional curriculum. Since many of our in-area sites are located in MA it is highly recommended that all students obtain a MA license as well.  Students undertaking rotations in any other state is required to have a license in that state if it is required.

Additional background checks and drug testing are required by many sites and students will be instructed on the process during orientation.

Where should I live?
Students are STRONGLY encouraged to arrange housing in the central part of the state i.e. Providence, Cranston, Pawtucket area. Rotation sites do NOT offer housing except for a few. If you request rotations out- of-area you are responsible for your housing.

Can I request a new APPE rotation site?
The Office of Experiential Education will consider nominations of both community and hospital sites currently not affiliated with the College of Pharmacy. Sites will only be approved if both parties sign a legal affiliation agreement and the site offers a quality educational experience. There is a New Site Request Form for students to complete and submit to the office. The request will be reviewed by a committee and the student will be notified of the outcome.

The Request Form is located in the CORE ELMS document library.

Can I undertake an APPE rotation where I currently work?
Generally, no. There are some exceptions for general medicine and clinical specialty rotations in the hospital setting. It is important that students use this year to try new and different experiences to expand their knowledge base.

Can I change my rotations if my career interest changes during the year?
Yes, changes can be made but it is based on availability and the timing of the request.