UCSF

Patient Care Skills

students practice taking blood pressure on each other

As a practicing pharmacist you’ll apply specific skills, such as taking blood pressure and administering immunizations, while you communicate effectively and compassionately with patients and identify and solve problems. The Applied Patient Care Skills (APCS) course is designed to advance your hands-on pharmacy practice, communication, and critical thinking skills, so that you can offer patients excellent and professional care.

Patient Care Skills: a closer look

The APCS course begins immediately in year one and continues through the spring of year two. As much as possible, it complements the topics you’ll be learning in all other coursework and prepares you for Introductory and Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences.

During the APCS course you’ll learn how to:

  • Counsel a patient on a specific prescription
  • Counsel a patient with chronic kidney disease on therapeutic lifestyle changes, or on the physical exam findings of a gastrointestinal examination, as examples
  • Document patient encounters with SOAP (subjective, objective, assessment, plan) notes
  • Help a patient troubleshoot a malfunctioning medical device
  • Instruct a patient on medication use as the patient is being discharged from a hospital
  • Interpret lab test results
  • Navigate medical records
  • Perform a complete medication reconciliation
  • Propose a search strategy for determining the answer to a legal question
  • Take vital signs
  • Take a medication history
  • Use aseptic techniques in administering a vaccination