The Lipscomb College of Pharmacy began compounding hand-sanitizer for the Nashville community in May, due to a shortage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students, alumni, faculty and volunteers were involved in the compounding, and more who want to help are filling up a waiting list.
“We started getting reports from our healthcare community saying supplies were getting extremely limited in terms of PPE (personal protection equipment) and also just hand-sanitizer to have available for both the patients and staff as they carry out their healthcare duties,” said Tom Campbell, dean of the College of Pharmacy and associate professor of Pharmacy Practice.
Many of the college of pharmacy graduates are on the front lines in this battle against the virus, and the school keeps in contact with them, so when alums gave the word of the shortages around local healthcare facilities, Lipscomb stepped in.
This is an experiment that the college would normally do in a pharmaceutical compounding class, according to Campbell. So making the hand-sanitizer was a way to reinforce compounding skills, while meeting a public health need with student pharmacists.
“It was a great opportunity for our students to use the knowledge and skills they developed, knowing that they were able to help people in need. That’s always a very rewarding and refreshing feeling,” said Campbell.
He said the college hopes to continue compounding throughout the summer and into the fall if needed, possibly even providing more hand-sanitizer around campus to create a safer environment as students return in the fall.
Campbell encourages all who can to donate to the effort. “The one limiting factor will be costs, over time, it’s not entirely cheap to compound hand-sanitizer, so we are going to be looking for donors to help us out with the project as we go forward.”
The pandemic will not really change what is taught in the College of Pharmacy from a content perspective, since pandemics are already addressed in regards to the content.
But the real-life experience will add to the educational aspects.
“The real-world experience and how we’ve seen how the college, as well as the whole entire healthcare community, has responded to the pandemic will give us some great examples to utilize, within the classroom setting.”
Incoming students have even been asking to volunteer and help out. Those students will be involved in the project as the summer continues.
The hand-sanitizer is being distributed to “different healthcare organizations, physician practices, other public servants, and alumni businesses”
“I think it really has been a good opportunity for Lipscomb to respond to this pandemic,” said Campbell. “And it’s another facet of what we strive to do in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences: to meet the health-care needs of our community — and this is certainly helping us to meet that mission.
“We are excited to see where this will go and are really appreciative of all the support that we’ve had from the faculty staff and administration.”