Guided by Compassion

Pharmacy TimesNovember 2012 Cough & Cold
Volume 78
Issue 11

Mackenzie Clark earns patients' trust.

Mackenzie Clark earns patients' trust.

For Mackenzie Clark, November’s Pharmacy Times/Walmart RESPy winner, a good pharmacy practice is built on a foundation of compassion.

“Without compassion, a pharmacist’s knowledge means nothing,” Clark says. “In practice, compassion will create trusting relationships with patients, and in the end, patient care and satisfaction are the bottom line.”

Clark, a 2014 PharmD candidate from the University of Montana College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences, is taking advantage of every opportunity to develop this philosophy during her tenure as a student pharmacist.

In honor of American Pharmacists Month, for example, Clark coordinated her school’s most comprehensive health fair to date to benefit the Missoula, Montana, community. Lasting 6 hours, the health fair comprised 9 different screening and information tables, including some nontraditional offerings. In addition to smoking cessation information, flu vaccination, and hypertension screening, Clark and her colleagues offered bone marrow registry sign-up and ran a table that helped children distinguish between medicine and candy.

Raising awareness about medications in the home and prescription drug abuse has been a focus for Clark in her role as coordinator of Generation Rx. An initiative supported by the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP), Generation Rx encourages collaboration between health care professionals and the public to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse.

In addition to her work with APhA-ASP, Clark also serves as a member of Rho Chi Scholastic Honor Society and as regent of Kappa Psi, a professional pharmacy fraternity. She has also participated in fund-raising for the American Heart Association, JDRF, and in support of breast cancer awareness.

Despite the many hours she gives to volunteer work, Clark excels academically, and has earned a 4.0 grade point average in her professional coursework. Pharmacy is fortunate to have students such as Clark as its future, for her dedication to academics, activities, and patients exemplifies a combination of talent and commitment that bodes well for the profession.

Q: Why did you decide to become a pharmacist?

A: In high school working with the elderly, I became fascinated with medications and their chemical interactions with the body. I was intrigued how specific medications have different effects on diverse demographics.

I also watched a pharmacist intervene on a patient’s “sleeping issue,” in which a simple change in her routine cured her sleep enigma. His intervention intrigued me, and spurred a curiosity to dig deeper to learn about drugs and their effects on the human body.

Q: What has been your most rewarding extracurricular activity?

A: The most rewarding extracurricular activity I have participated in was the health fair I cofounded and codirected in recognition of American Pharmacists Month. Although a challenging endeavor, showing the community the numerous services pharmacists can provide was worth it. Providing bone density screenings, medication therapy management, vaccinations, blood pressure checks, and many other services all in 1 location was an astonishing demonstration of how pharmacy is evolving to provide patient care. I am excited to watch this project progress and am proud to have helped develop such a positive event for our community.

Q: What is the most important issue in the field of pharmacy today?

A: It seems that today the hot topic in pharmacy is reimbursement. Through the growth of our profession, the benefit our medication knowledge has in the multidisciplinary team has been proved. Coumadin clinics or medication therapy management interventions are a few of the services pharmacists provide that strengthen patient care and should be addressed in regard to reimbursement to recognize the value pharmacists have.

Q: Who has inspired you to become a better pharmacist?

A: One of the most motivational pharmacists I have worked with is Ken Chatriand. He has taught me that humor and enthusiasm creates a positive connection with patients and coworkers. He challenges me every time I step in his pharmacy and has made me go out of my comfort zone to make me a better pharmacist.

Student group advisors Donna and Howard Beall have helped guide me through pharmacy school by always supporting every event our student organizations coordinate. They have shown me what dedication and compassion truly are.

About the School

The Skaggs School of Pharmacy was established in 1907 at Montana State College and was transferred to the University of Montana College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences in 1913. The pharmacy program consists of 2 departments, Pharmacy Practice and Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, and offers a 6-year program leading to the PharmD degree.

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