Temple Times Online Edition
    APRIL 13, 2006
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Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching

McDonnell emphasizes safety, responsibility in pharmacy practice

Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg/University Photography
Associate professor of clinical pharmacy Patrick McDonnell specializes in drug safety with an emphasis on adverse drug reactions and their recognition, prevention and treatment. Above, McDonnell displays two different but similar-sounding drugs, repaglinide and rosiglitazone, which could be confused by pharmacists.

Patrick McDonnell uses the drama of real life to instill a sense of urgency in his students.

The associate professor of clinical pharmacy at the School of Pharmacy wants them to understand that as pharmacists, they won’t just be counting pills — they will be counted on as drug experts.

Pharmacists are increasingly playing a critical role in medication management, helping consumers and hospital patients avoid dangerous drug interactions and harmful side effects.

McDonnell, who is also a pharmacist at Temple University Hospital, specializes in drug safety with an emphasis on adverse drug reactions and their recognition, prevention and treatment.

After earning his doctorate in pharmacy from Temple, McDonnell joined the faculty in 1999 and started a clinical rotation for students at Jeanes Hospital, part of Temple University Health System, where he remains a preceptor.

At Jeanes, McDonnell implemented medication safety protocols as well as a surveillance program to identify potential adverse drug reactions.

For his commitment and dedication to his students, McDonnell has received the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching.

“Pat brings numerous examples from his practice into the classroom and explains how failure to recognize patient risk factors can result in poor outcomes,” a colleague said.

“He also provides field experiences where students can see firsthand the consequences of poor medication management or patient education about drug use.”

Perhaps the best measure of the strength of his teaching, as well as the importance of the subject he teaches, came several years ago, when students succeeded in lobbying the school to make his elective course on safe medication practices a required one.

“While working with us at the hospital, Dr. McDonnell always seized the opportunity not only to teach, but also to challenge with practical drug management issues that arise with actual hospital patients,” a former student said.

McDonnell also studies the efficacy of various safe medication practices and involves his students in the research. The projects have been presented at state and national meetings, and some have received awards and recognition.

By studying and participating in actual patient cases, the students gain confidence and professional skills. Many say, with gratitude, that they didn’t recognize their own potential until McDonnell opened their eyes to it.

“I do believe that teaching is my calling, and that by sharing my real-life observations about adverse drug events with students, more future pharmacists will be in-tune to drugs being potentially harmful,” McDonnell said.

In 2005, McDonnell was named the School of Pharmacy’s Educator of the Year for the American College of Pharmaceutical Educators.

- By Eryn Jelesiewicz