Miller Rises Above with Ambitious Attitude

Author: Barbara Sax

When Nanci Murphy, PharmD, associate dean of the University of Washington School of Pharmacy was asked to describe this month's Pharmacy Times/Wal-Mart RESPy Award winner, Nicole Miller, she spoke of a "student with a ?can-do'attitude who inspires those around her. If you could spend 5 minutes with Nicole, you could sense her excitement about the profession's future," said Dr. Murphy.

That excitement is evident in the extracurricular activities Miller has pursued. "Her involvement in activities related to improving public health has been spectacular," said Dr. Murphy. Now a fourth-year student, Miller has certainly proven herself to be a leader.

She was coauthor of an application that won a seed grant from the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists to help create awareness of the pharmacist's role. She used part of the grant to plan and execute 4 health fairs. "We created a ?Vials of Life'program that had patients list all their medications, allergies, and immunizations...so they would always have them," said Miller.

Another part of the grant was used by Miller to develop a "Know Your Pharmacist" campaign that appeared on metro buses in Seattle,Wash.

Miller was instrumental in having October 2005 proclaimed Medication Awareness Month by Gov Chris Gregoire of Washington State. She also participated in health screenings at the National Conference of State Legislators and assisted with a diabetes health fair geared toward a Native American population.

Her true leadership is apparent in the influence she has had on getting others involved in these projects. "The best part was letting students know how easy it can be to contribute," she said.

Miller makes her work seem easy, but completing pharmacy school has come with challenges. She was accepted at the University of Washington School of Pharmacy, and her husband (in the military) got orders to serve in Germany. With the help of her parents, she juggled caring for her 2 children with a full course load.

Now that her husband is stationed in Virginia, Miller has tried to do as many rotations as possible in the Washington, DC, area. She is enjoying her work at DeWitt's Medication Therapy Management Clinic. "Patients can come in and ask questions about their medication," she said. "It is terrific to be able to come up with a regimen for them."

When her degree is complete, Miller is not sure where she wants to practice. "I keep thinking I would like to work part-time in community pharmacy and part-time in a hospital setting?or maybe an academic setting. I do not really see myself doing only one thing."

About the College

University of Washington School of Pharmacy

The University of Washington School of Pharmacy was founded in 1894 in Seattle when the city was considered a frontier town. Now a nationally recognized leader in pharmacy education and scholarship, the school prepares graduates for entry into a lifelong career in the pharmaceutical profession.

Since the provision of pharmaceutical care requires knowledge generated from basic and applied research, the school believes that research is inseparable from its educational mission. The school's medicinal chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences research programs were recently ranked the best in the country by The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The School of Pharmacy offers a range of advanced practitioner training, graduate studies, and research fellowships. A number of these programs have gained national prominence and offer unique opportunities for scholarly work and research on fundamental aspects of drug design and delivery, therapeutics, pharmaceutical-care delivery, and drug-therapy management outcomes.

Ms. Sax is a freelance writer based in Chevy Chase, Md.