Becoming a Compassionate Scientist

Jennifer Whartenby, Senior Managing Editor
Published Online: Monday, January 14, 2013
When Brinda Dave graduates with her PharmD from The University of Findlay (UF) later this year, she will enter the workforce with medication expertise as well as an understanding that each patient comes to the pharmacy counter with unique needs.

In addition to maintaining standing on the dean’s list since the fall of 2007, Dave has volunteered her time at health fairs, worked in the local school system to deter medication abuse among middle schoolers, and raised money for charities that support the underserved. Her experiences inside and outside of the classroom certainly demonstrate her dedication to pharmacy.

The balance between scientific expertise and patient empathy that pharmacists strike every day became even more clear for Dave during a study abroad experience in the United Arab Emirates in May 2012. In her time at Obaidullah General Hospital, for example, Dave observed that culture can have a major impact on the appropriate treatment of patients.

“I saw that men and women come for dialysis on alternating days in order to preserve modesty, as Islam preaches,” she said. “Because of this experience, I understand that accommodating patients in a similar manner will allow me to gain their compliance and better treat them.”

During her trip, Dave also spent time observing and working with pharmacists at the largest drug manufacturing company in the Middle East, Julphar Pharmaceuticals. That portion of her experience reminded her of the role that pharmacists can play in every step of the medication process, from developing and manufacturing new treatments to dispensing and ensuring best outcomes. Armed with an understanding of the many roles that pharmacists can play, including scientist, teacher, counselor, and even cultural ambassador, Brinda Dave will be ready to meet the challenges of her chosen field—and the needs of her patients.

Q: Why did you decide to become a pharmacist?
A: I experienced a mental transformation about my career choice during pharmacy school. Like most parents, mine wished for something better for me; my family suggested that I choose pharmacy for its ease of lifestyle. As I was exposed to the field’s various facets, I continued to pursue pharmacy because it was a means to develop myself as a person, pharmacist, and a contributing member of society.

I blossomed when I interacted with others and solved problems to benefit others. It has become my goal to share my knowledge about promoting a healthy lifestyle with others. By studying a science that provides opportunities to reach out to the community, I will be able to use my skill set to improve others’ quality of life.

Q: What has been your most rewarding extracurricular activity?
A: I am most proud of being the founding chair of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association’s Project Youth Educational Services Committee. Through this committee, I created a talk to give to local middle schools and high schools about “pharming parties” and the dangers of prescription medication abuse. My goal when I assembled the team was to increase awareness about such abuse and challenge my audience to aid in stopping it. I created a web page on my college’s website with resources, anonymous anecdote submissions, my contact information, videos, and other information pertaining to prescription drug abuse. I also helped initiate an interview of someone who was addicted to prescription drugs that aired on UF’s TV channel.

Q: What drew you to help teach compounding as an assistant in the Pharmacy Practice Skills Laboratory?
A: Compounding is a very delicate art because slight miscalculations may severely alter patients’ health. I had done Introductory Pharmacy Practice Experience hours in a compounding pharmacy, and was attracted to the creativity that pharmacists can offer to patients through compounding. I decided the best way to excel in the field was to help teach it.

I wanted to be creative in the impression I left on students about compounding. After students had made their preparations, they were to counsel a teaching assistant, who was acting as a patient. Each week, I acted as a realistically challenging patient for students; I acted as a rude and frustrated patient, a patient who could not speak English, and even an illiterate patient. These are actual scenarios that all pharmacists will encounter in their career, and the students should be prepared to handle such patients.


About The School
Located in Findlay, Ohio, The University of Findlay College of Pharmacy emphasizes collaborative practice with related health care disciplines, critical thinking, evidencebased 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.


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