Fostering Dialogue Between Patients and Pharmacists

Pharmacy Times, March 2015 Central Nervous System, Volume 81, Issue 3

For Jillian Beneventi, a pharmacy student at the Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy, no element of her work as a future pharmacist is as important as the relationships she builds with her patients.

For Jillian Beneventi, a pharmacy student at the Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy (CCP), no element of her work as a future pharmacist is as important as the relationships she builds with her patients.

The 2016 PharmD candidate has exemplified this patient-centric focus through her involvement in community service activities during her time at CCP. As the founder and president of her school’s Pharmacy & Pediatrics group, Beneventi coordinated a local health fair and led her peers in preparing meals for families at Ronald McDonald Houses, collecting presents for underprivileged children, and making cards for hospitalized pediatric patients.

Beneventi also serves as the chair of Operation Immunization, a patient care project of her school’s American Pharmacists Association (APhA) chapter that enabled her to put her passion for preventive care into action. In that role, she helped to establish monthly hepatitis B and influenza immunization clinics for uninsured patients in the Chinatown community, an experience she named as one of her most rewarding.

“This not only provided a great way to develop interprofessional relationships among our students, but it also enabled our students to provide care to an underserved community,” Beneventi told Pharmacy Times. “This initiative has left such a positive impact on the chapter and the community by educating at-risk patients and subsequently providing over 300 immunizations.”

In addition, Beneventi expressed pride in an initiative she spearheaded to provide flu vaccines to the students, faculty, and staff of Midwestern University, as well as to those at the school’s off-campus multispecialty clinic. As a result of her efforts, 1644 individuals were immunized over the course of 12 clinic dates, with the school planning to repeat the program next year.

Beneventi credits her successes to numerous influences, and hopes to continue growing as she works toward a career as a pharmacist. “From my education in high school to Lewis University, and to my current curriculum at CCP, I have encountered many wonderful teachers who have provided continuous encouragement and support. Also, my experiences as a Jewel—Osco pharmacy technician have influenced my growth into a compassionate member of the patient health care team. I have been fortunate to have worked with many competent pharmacists from whom I have learned invaluable lessons,” Beneventi said.

Q: Why did you decide to become a pharmacist?A: I discovered my passion for pharmacy in high school while working as a pharmacy technician. After seeing the enormous impact community pharmacists have on patient lives, I quickly learned that community pharmacy is where I should be. I appreciate the opportunity to interact with a variety of generations and establish relationships with each of my patients in the hope of becoming someone they know and trust. This enables me to educate my patients about their disease states and medications, as well as encourage them to take an active role in their health.

Q: What do you think is the most important quality for a pharmacist to possess?A: Along with drug expertise, I think active listening and compassion are among the most important qualities for a pharmacist to possess. Pharmacists encounter a multitude of patients, all having unique medical histories, financial situations, cultural practices, and lifestyles. Therefore, it is important to be mindful of these differences and exude compassion.

Q: What do you think is the most important issue in pharmacy today? Why?A: I think the most important issue is to increase awareness of the many facets of health care that pharmacists can contribute to. The role of pharmacists is continuously expanding, so our health care colleagues and our patients need to embrace this expansion. For this to happen, pharmacists need to demonstrate how we add value to interprofessional partnerships. More important, pharmacists need to serve as patient advocates while empowering patients to take an active role in their health. This can be cultivated if we go beyond legal counseling standards and discuss various pharmacy services, such as medication therapy management and disease state educational programs. After all, knowledge is power when it comes to pharmacy’s contribution to health care.

About the School

Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy offers a PharmD program that enables students to gain experience in biomedical, pharmaceutical, and clinical sciences. The program requires 6 years of coursework, 2 of which must be complete prior to enrolling in the College of Pharmacy. The school, which is composed of its Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmacy Practice, Office of Experiential Education, and Postgraduate Education, focuses on student growth in patient care, practice management, and professionalism.

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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 www.PharmacyTimes.com.