Leadership in Action

MARCH 20, 2017
Ryan Marotta, Assistant Editor
Throughout her studies at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy (OUCOP), Wei Kwan Yuet has demonstrated her talents as a leader and future health care provider. Yuet’s passion for pharmacy initially took root in her childhood, during which a recurrent medical issue sparked a keen interest in improving health through medication.
 
“As a child who had an episode of acute otitis media nearly every year from first through ninth grades, I was quite familiar with the bubble-gum flavored solution that would miraculously cure each infection. This led to an initial curiosity in medicine,” Yuet told Pharmacy Times®. “The accessibility to patients, growing scope of practice, and opportunities for service differentiated pharmacy from other health care professions”
 
Upon entering pharmacy school, the 2017 PharmD candidate immersed herself in the OUCOP chapter of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) and soon took on the role of an officer within the organization. Under Yuet’s leadership, the OUCOP SNPhA chapter took part in over 20 health fairs, where she and her peers provided screenings, counseling, education, and vaccinations for patients in underserved communities.
 
“By participating in student-led health fairs, I am able to perform a variety of services that will contribute to my abilities as a pharmacist,” Yuet said. “The ability to share these moments with patients and other volunteers is most rewarding to me.”
 
Yuet was also key to the creation of a health education program in which pharmacy students traveled to local middle schools to facilitate discussions on medication safety, nutrition, and immunizations. Additionally, she has worked alongside other student leaders to coordinate campuswide advocacy initiatives, such as letter-writing campaigns to state legislators, and used her experience at the Oklahoma Center for Poison & Drug Information to organize poison awareness events at local elementary schools.
 
Due in part to Yuet’s efforts, the OUCOP SNPhA chapter received Oklahoma University’s Outstanding Registered Student Organization Award in April 2016. However, the endeavor of which Yuet remains the proudest is her development, alongside fellow SNPhA officer Helen Mitchell, of SNPhA Academy, an initiative designed to engage student pharmacists across the country in professional development activities.
 
“With nearly 100 members currently enrolled, we are expecting this number to increase with a year-round enrollment process,” Yuet explained. “The opportunity to empower students to become the best leaders in pharmacy has been truly rewarding.”
 
Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?
A: Effective communication is crucial for pharmacists. In my experiences thus far, pharmacist intervention is often the final interaction before patient administration of a medication, no matter what the setting. Many errors can be prevented with proper counseling on adverse effects, indications, and safe usage.
 
Q: What do you think is the most important issue in the field of pharmacy today? Why?
A: The recognition of pharmacists as providers is vital to the expansion of services we are trained and fully capable of providing. As a student pharmacist interested in ambulatory care, especially within medically underserved populations, I strongly believe that a change in legislation will further increase our outreach and level of services. In achieving status, pharmacists would have a greater impact on reduction of health care costs through team-based care.
 
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: I encountered a patient whose mood was volatile throughout her stay on my internal medicine service. I had the opportunity to counsel her on a new insulin regimen upon discharge. I expected her to be harsh and indifferent, but she was tearful as she divulged her social and personal barriers. The impact we can make as healthcare professionals should not be limited to clinical interventions, but expanded to provide emotional support to our patients in their journey to wellness.
 
About the School
The University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy offers a traditional PharmD program with specialty tracks in ambulatory care, leadership, nuclear pharmacy, pediatrics, and psychiatrics, as well as a dual degree program that enables students to also pursue a master of science. Students interested in clinical experience can also apply to one of the school’s accredited residency programs.
About RESPy
The RESPy (Respect, Excellence, and Service in Pharmacy) Award is presented to the student who has made a difference in his or her community by demonstrating excellence in pharmaceutical care. For more information, please visit PharmacyTimes.com.


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