The College of Pharmacy at Purdue University offers a Certificate Program in Nuclear Pharmacy. The program provides post-graduate pharmacists with the instruction necessary to attain competency as practitioners in nuclear pharmacy. The program also provides more than 200 hours of didactic material that can be used towards achieving Authorized Nuclear Pharmacist (ANP) status . Students enrolled in a college / school of pharmacy are also eligible to enroll in the program to obtain this training while completing pharmacy school. The certificate program follows the guidelines for nuclear pharmacy training prepared by nuclear pharmacists in the American Pharmacists Association, Section on Nuclear Pharmacy Practice.
There are two phases to the certificate program. The first phase is the self-study (distance) portion of the program. Upon enrollment, trainees will be given access to an online learning system which contains video lecture material as well as various supplementary materials and quizzes. Ideally, the self-study material will be utilized while the trainee is receiving experience in a nuclear pharmacy; however, trainees that are not currently employed in a nuclear pharmacy position can still complete this course. For trainees that enroll while employed in a nuclear pharmacy, an Authorized Nuclear Pharmacist at the practice site can serve clinical instructor and mentor for the pharmacist-in-training. A preceptor is NOT necessary if trainees do not have full time employment in a nuclear pharmacy, however, it is highly suggested that attempts are made to at least visit / shadow a commercial nuclear pharmacy while trying to work on the distance program. The self-study learning portion of the program is self-paced.
Each trainee is required to attend a six-day training session at Purdue. These sessions are offered twice each year (June and December) so that the trainee can elect to attend a session that best fits their schedule. While on campus, the trainee participates in laboratory exercises and lectures that emphasize material pertinent to day-to-day clinical practice. The on-campus session gives the trainee personal interaction with instructors and other trainees, enhancing the overall learning process. Following completion of both portions of the program, certification is awarded to those trainees who have demonstrated their knowledge and competence by examination in each of the key areas addressed by the program.
As stated earlier, upon enrollment, the trainee is provided with a workbook contining the lecture materials for the entire self-study portion of the program. Log-in information as well as a packet of information providing a detailed description of the course and instructions for the new trainee is also included in the intial shipment and will be available on the web based course learning system. The pharmacy preceptor, if specified, also receives a preceptor specific information packet . A separate, laboratory/lecture workbook specific to the on-campus portion will be provided for the trainees when they attend the campus session.
The most effective learning experience is achieved when the trainee spends about two hours a day viewing video materials and taking notes while working in the nuclear pharmacy. This allows the opportunity to address immediate questions that may arise to the preceptor on site. This method has been encouraged by regulatory agencies. By watching 10 hours of video a week, the trainee completes the entire self-study segment of the course in about fourteen weeks. Given the importance of correlating the video material with actual practice experience, and in order to be adequately prepared for the on-campus session, the trainee must be enrolled at least one month prior to the on-campus session that they will attend.
After completing a significant portion of the self-study portion of the program, the trainee is eligible to attend one of the several campus sessions offered each year. The campus sessions are devoted to laboratory and lecture sessions that elucidate principles of nuclear pharmacy practice. These sessions convey the practical, hands-on information needed to enhance clinical practice. The campus session provides the trainee with direct interaction with faculty members who are experts in a wide variety of areas related to nuclear pharmacy practice. Interaction with other trainees through the exchange of ideas and experiences is an invaluable tool in the learning process. The on-campus session is a unique and essential part of our training program.
Trainees are expected to arrive one day prior to the start of the campus session in which they are enrolled. Trainees usually fly into the Indianapolis International Airport, which is serviced by most major airlines. A shuttle service is available for transport from the Indianapolis airport which will transport them to West Lafayette. Students can stay at the Purdue Memorial Union Hotel, West Lafayette, Indiana which is within walking distance of our lecture and laboratory classrooms or you can choose to make accommodations elsewhere in the West Lafayette area. Trainees should be in West Lafayette the Friday prior to the program with checkout of the hotel on the last day of the session after completion of the final exam. More information will be sent out prior to the campus session.
There are 23 exams for the self-study portion. The exams are administered online as the trainee progresses through the material. These closed-book quizzes usually have 20 problems worth 1 point each, with a mixture of multiple-choice, short answer, math problems, and fill-in-the-blank type of questions. The exams are submitted online to the Nuclear Pharmacy Programs, where they are graded and returned to the trainee with explanations of concepts missed. The trainee is also encouraged to discuss these areas with their preceptor. The trainee must score 70% or better to pass each exam. If the trainee fails to score 70%, they will be asked to review the corresponding video section and take a makeup exam. The first five exams must be completed prior to attending the on-campus session.
While on-campus, there are two or three take-home, group interaction quizzes with the final quiz to be turned in on the last day of the program. These tests cover material discussed in both the lab and lecture portions of the on-campus session. The trainee must score 70% or better to pass each one. If the trainee fails to score 70% on a quiz and exams during the campus session, they will be asked to review the material and a second test will be given.
The total cost of this program is $7010.00 which includes both the off-campus DVDs and on-campus portions of the program. This fee can be divided into two payments, one for the video portion, payable at registration ($3720.00) and one for the campus portion payable before the campus session begins ($3290.00) Payments can be made by check or money order. Flexible payment options for tuition fees are offered to accommodate both trainees and employers. For more information about available options, contact Kathy Reynolds at email@example.com (765-494-1471). Each trainee's account must be paid in full prior to the awarding of the final certificate of completion.
- Kara Duncan Weatherman, Pharm.D., BCNP - Clinical Associate Professor of Nuclear Pharmacy