Board of Pharmacy Specialties Rotation By: Cole Larsen

It was on a brisk, autumn day that I first reported to my rotation with the Board of Pharmacy Specialties (BPS). BPS, for those that don’t know, is the entity responsible for issuing all of the pharmacy board certification exams (i.e. the BCPS initials you see in many professor titles). Today, in place of the DC offices, we were meeting at the posh Lorien Hotel in Alexandria, VA for the inaugural meeting of the expert councils for board certification in pediatrics and critical care. I found myself as the sole student pharmacist witness amongst the national gurus in these two specialties. During the meetings and over meals, I had the privilege of getting to know these outstanding individuals. They had gathered to begin writing items (questions) for the latest pharmacy certifications that will be offered in 2015. I’m honored to say that our very own Dr. Stephanie Phelps was included in the pediatrics council. Over the next two days, I learned just what goes into writing a question. Suffice to say, a LOT of safeguards are in place to ensure board certification exams are fair!
I open with this story to highlight opportunities available through the rotations offered through the APhA Experiential Program. The organization offers 6 unique rotational experiences through their headquarters in Washington, DC. This includes my BPS rotation whose offices are located in the basement of APhA. In addition to completing projects in their area of interest, a number of experiences are common to all rotations. These include the opportunity to lobby for the profession on Capitol Hill with state representatives, meet with key APhA staff such as president & CEO Tom Menighan, and attend all-staff meetings. Finally, some of the most fun activities were the ones I didn’t expect like yoga in the APhA Foundation art gallery, lunches in the Department of State, lectures at the FDA, and happy hour with students and residents from other national associations.
Not only was this rotation incredibly unique, it was also eye-opening! Our national organizations are working incredibly hard to advance the pharmacy profession and it’s amazing to see what happens behind the scenes. A month in APhA’s headquarters, located directly across from the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, is a wonderful way to spend a month. If you have any questions or would like more information about the application process or the various rotations, feel free to contact me at Also, check out to learn more about.IMG_0879 IMG_0862 IMG_0871