A Purpose-driven Approach to Pharmacy

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.

After completing a bachelor?s degree in chemical engineeringand working as an engineer for 4 years, LamyaWardak felt unfulfilled. She wanted to help peopledirectly. So she did a little research and decided to pursue acareer in pharmacy. She enrolled at the University of Kansas(KU) School of Pharmacy.

?From an early age, my parents said the greatest thing I coulddo in life was to help other people. As a pharmacist, I see somany different ways to help people,? she said.

That outlook on life and the drive to accomplish her goals are2 of the reasons Wardak is this month?s recipient of the PharmacyTimes/Wal-Mart?sponsored RESPy Award.The RESPy Award honorspharmacy students whose volunteerism, extracurricular professionalactivities, and dedication to advancing pharmacy are acredit to their profession and their community.

KU?s interim chair of the Pharmacy Practice Department,Dennis Grauer, PhD, nominated Wardak for the award. He is sureof her current and future success in the profession. He notesher ?unique and well-developed skill of recognizing communityneeds. What is even better, she does something to help meetthat need.?

In fact, while earning her PharmD, Wardak participated in variousextracurricular activities. She served as a leader in studentgovernment (she was elected class president for all 3 years ofpharmacy school), as well as providing pharmacy services to thecommunity through brown-bag sessions. Effective time managementhelped her fit in these activities along with her studies. Oneachievement was raising morethan $5000 for the Red Crosswithin days of the HurricaneKatrina disaster.

Currently, Wardak has 9rotations to complete (she ison her third one) before graduatingin May 2008. Future plansfor Wardak remain uncertain.

?My goal is to utilize theknowledge I gained in pharmacyschool to help others,? sheexplained. ?Whether that?s in aclinical setting or a retail setting,I haven?t completelydecided yet. I know that ineither setting, I can fulfill mygoals.? Wardak is waiting until she completes her clinical rotationto decide on her specialty.

For now, it seems that working with the elderly has beenclosest to her heart. Although she credits her pharmacotherapyclass with providing the most practical knowledge, it was in herthird or fourth year of pharmacy school that her professorsstarted talking about the needs of the elderly. Besides being thefastest-growing segment of the population, the elderly take themost medications and therefore need the most help in understandingtheir meds and side effects.

This aspect immediately appealed to Wardak. ?I love workingwith the geriatric population. When you take the time to help,they really appreciate it. I have so much respect for people whoare older than me,? she said.

Besides the ability to make a direct impact on people in need,Wardak lists the opportunity to move around as another benefitof the pharmacy profession. ?The fact that there is so muchmobility is one of the things I like so much. Maybe I?ll do a residencyback east. In the long run, I?d like to travel and volunteerand go into communities to help others, maybe devote my timeto third-world countries, educating people on disease states.?

When asked for advice for pharmacy students who are juststarting out, Wardak said, ?It is important to have good time-managementskills and focus on your studies. And don?t forgetyou?ll be helping patients one day. I would also say get involvedin clubs and with the community while you?re in school.?