Rotation Duties and Assignment Management
When not on campus teaching, I am at clinic with my students on their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) rotation. The clinic is focused on a mixture of outpatient heart failure management and transitions of care.
While most of my APPE students activities focus on clinic related activities, they also get a various amount of assignments. These include journal clubs, disease pharmacotherapy presentations, patient case presentations, and various other discussions depending on the time of year (e.g. free clinic work, outreach programs).
Needless to say, finding a way to manage all of these assignments and keeping my students on task is rather pertinent, especially when trying to work around my schedule which varies from each semester. As such, I have tried to integrate technology (outside of emails) into my workflow to help keep my students (and myself at times) on task.
Wunderlist: My Favorite Task Management App For Rotations
Wunderlist is a task management tool that I have used off and on for the past several years, but really never integrated into my work. However, after several rotations, I found myself craving a mechanism to assign work for students that did not rely back and forth communication via email (Note: my email requires dual-authentication, and WiFi coverage can be spotty in some areas of the hospital). As such, I thought about returning to the use of a task management app, and settled on Wunderlist.
My primary reasons for settling on Wunderlist included the following parameters:
- Cross-platform functionality: This allows me to work from my iPad, iPhone, and desktop computers across campus.
- Ability to create set Task Lists: I love the ability to create tasks in a list, that I can share with select individuals. This function has been invaluable, allowing me to assign selected APPE students on a rotation their assignment, while on another list I can have tasks for certain students (e.g. research projects, longitudinal assignments)
- Ability to attach files to tasks: This has been an additional boon to my work, as it allows me to put up rubrics and guides for the assignments I give to my students for each assignment, thus creating a central outlet for students to refer back to, without dredging through their email.
- Assigning tasks: I can assign tasks to each student in the task list, and it will send alerts to students about when it is due or upcoming, along with alerts. I feel this helps prevent me from keeping on students through email.
- Commenting system: Lastly, I like the ability to comment on tasks. This allows other students to see what is going on, and for me to follow-up quickly due to the alert system I have turned on through the app.
So, how do I use it? At the end of every week, I upload the assignments I have selected (e.g Drug/Clinical Information Question, Disease Presentation), and assign them to each student, and set a due date. If there are any issues, students will comment for clarification, and I can respond via the app. Lastly, I like the fact I can refer back to old assignments I gave that I can then refresh for the current rotation.
I have been using Wunderlist for APPEs for several months now, and am very satisfied. There are several times I have to remind students to refer to it, but they usually catch on. Even if they don't have a smartphone, they can still access Wunderlist from a web browser, so I haven't heard any real complaints. I would highly recommend Wunderlist for others looking for something to help with student assignments on rotations, assuming no patient information needs to be transmitted.