WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Purdue University will be allowing 144 College of Pharmacy students to graduate early to help with a potential shortage of pharmacists due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision was approved by the board of trustees Thursday. According to a news release, this makes the university one of the first in the nation to certify its entire class of eligible pharmacy students.
The certification will also offer an early jump to the health field. The students will be eligible to work as graduate pharmacists until fully licensed.
“I’ve already received inquiries from a health system about making our graduates available in case they face likely workforce issues as the pandemic intensifies here in Indiana,” Barker said. “Having additional trained clinical pharmacists, even graduate pharmacists, will become increasingly important.”
Barker said there are concerns that pharmacy workforce issues could develop in the coming months, depending on how COVID-19 spreads.
“Health care systems and community pharmacies have shifted to remote work where possible and divided their pharmacy staffs into teams to reduce the likelihood of an outbreak infecting an entire staff,” he said. “Such efforts have placed a strain on the existing workforce.
“Our graduates will be ready to enter the workforce a few weeks sooner and could provide needed backup if the pandemic begins to impact pharmacy workers more broadly.”
There are as many as 6,000 pharmacists in Indiana.