American Pharmacists Month: Oh, The Places You'll Go!

As you celebrate American Pharmacists Month, take a moment to ask a colleague why they chose pharmacy.

As you celebrate American Pharmacists Month this October, take a moment to ask your colleagues why they chose pharmacy.

Instead of hearing an explanation based on Holland’s career typology or another career development theory by a renowned psychologist, your co-workers’ narratives will more likely include childhood fantasies, influencers, interests, abilities, and just plain luck.

My first notion of what I wanted to be when I grew up came about when I was bedridden by a childhood disease that exposed me to hospital stays, doctors' visits, and my mother stirring crushed penicillin into 7 Up to make the experience more palatable. Back then, I had no idea that pharmacists even existed.

My childhood dream was to become a pediatrician like the caring physician who helped me back to health. My interests and abilities in high school focused on biology, chemistry, and science fairs, rather than English literature and the piano.

Now, here is where plain luck comes in.

Unbeknownst to this first-generation college student, Temple University at the time was a huge commuter school with very few small-town girls like me taking up residence on North Broad Street. Like attract likes, and it was during summer orientation that I met my future classmate, bridesmaid, and lifelong friend Kristea.

By the time the 3 days of orientation were up, Kristea and I decided to room together. She was already completely focused on her career goal: pharmacy.

By the end of my freshman year, I dreaded having to take a required swimming class, repeat calculus, and graduate with a biology degree that would not necessarily translate into a medical school acceptance. So, I seriously began to explore my new best friend's career path.

It was science, it was health care, it was helping people. Pharmacy could offer my desired hospital setting where my profession would make a difference for those I served. This newfound career choice would offer me job security, respect, a continuing knowledge base, the ability to work on a team, and time to raise a family.

Pharmacy was both practical and a great fit for me. Best of all, Kristea assured me, “If it doesn't work out, you can always blame me.”

While all of the reasons I became a pharmacist still hold true, I applaud the pharmacy profession for being so much more dynamic and forward-thinking today.

Pharmacy practice environments have quadrupled. The scope of pharmacists’ active participation in today’s health care domain continues to improve patient outcomes and professional interactions.

The following Dr. Seuss quotes from his beloved book Oh, the Places You'll Go! affirm pharmacists’ potential to make a difference in their patients’ lives:

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose...You're off to Great Places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, So...get on your way!"