Caring for the Whole Patient
Author: Daniel Weiss, Senior Editor
Kyle Dresbach draws inspiration from his mentors.
For Kyle Dresbach, a 2014 PharmD candidate at the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy, the inspiration to become a pharmacist was close to home. Throughout high school, he shadowed his uncle, who owned a small independent pharmacy in Portsmouth, Ohio, and provided a model of the sort of compassionate pharmacist who went above and beyond to serve his patients’ needs.
As he has gone through pharmacy school, Dresbach has come to recognize the importance of finding a place of his own in a rapidly changing profession. “I believe pharmacy students currently enrolled and those about to embark on the journey must use their individual skill set and passion to find a niche for their future,” he says. “A great way for students to start this process is to get involved. As a freshman on campus, begin to join organizations, volunteer in the community, and figure out what it is that makes you happy.”
Dresbach has followed this advice in exemplary fashion during his years in school. As student vice president of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, he organized a campus-wide collection that produced 200 gift-filled shoe boxes to be distributed to underprivileged children around the world. He has also shared his pharmacy expertise by talking with elementary and middle school students at after school programs in area churches about poison control, the proper use of medications, and the importance of making smart, healthy lifestyle choices. For now, Dresbach’s niche in the pharmacy profession will be serving as a pharmacist in the United States Air Force. “I believe I can advance the profession of pharmacy by providing client-centered care to service men and women and their families who have gone above and beyond to serve their country,” he says. “The US Air Force will allow me an opportunity to be a part of a team, bigger than myself, with a common mission of serving those who have gone before me.”
Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?
A: I believe the most important thing a pharmacist can possess is a compassionate, caring nature. I believe it is important to always remember that we as pharmacists are dealing with people, and there is more to our patients than just a person taking a handful of drugs. A pharmacist may be so well educated and ready to show off their skill set that they forget to care about the whole person. To some patients, it is more important to receive a smile or a simple gesture than a large amount of information regarding their disease states and the drugs they will be taking. Therefore, I believe it is of utmost importance that, as pharmacists, we treat our patients with respect and never forget to be compassionate and caring in all we do.
Q: Is there a specific patient or person you’ve worked with who taught you something that will help you be a better pharmacist?
A: Dr. Bradley Shinn, associate professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Findlay, has taught me many things over the last 2 years as we navigated through the modules. Beyond the didactic learning, Dr. Shinn has displayed a wonderful example of caring for the patient. He has inspired me to believe that I can truly make a difference in medication outcomes and the lives of my patients. He also stressed the idea of caring for the individual patient and not treating the disease or the lab values, but truly taking the patient and their life circumstances into consideration when deciding on a medication regimen.
This idea will stick with me no matter what area of practice I end up pursuing. Dr. Shinn has served as my advisor for 5 years while at Findlay, and we have had some very diverse, intriguing conversations regarding pharmacy and non-pharmacy related topics over that time span. However, 1 thing has remained the same for 5 years: Dr. Shinn has never doubted my goals for my career and he has always pushed me to be the best I can possibly be no matter what route life takes me down. For that I thank him.
About the School
Located in Findlay, Ohio, the University of Findlay College of Pharmacy emphasizes collaborative practice with related health care disciplines, critical thinking, evidence-based medicine, research, and service to the community. In addition to a traditional PharmD, the school offers dual PharmD/MBA and PharmD/Master of Science in Health Informatics degrees.