Pharmacy Student Earns Prestigious Mayo Clinic Internship

March 9, 2015
Meghan Ross, Associate Editor

A second-year pharmacy student at Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy was incredulous when she learned she had been accepted into this summer's Mayo School of Health Sciences pharmacy internship program.

A second-year pharmacy student at Texas A&M Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy was incredulous when she learned she had been accepted into this summer’s Mayo School of Health Sciences pharmacy internship program.

“I probably gave 1 of the most unprofessional responses Mayo Clinic has ever heard from its selected interns,” Sasha Cruz told Pharmacy Times in an exclusive interview. “I blurted out, ‘Are you serious?’”

Laughing, the intern recruiter assured her that she was 100% serious. Cruz had been selected as 1 of 4 students across the nation to work at the Mayo Clinic’s network of outpatient pharmacies this summer in Rochester, Minnesota.

Through the internship, Cruz will gain exposure to a variety of pharmacy practices. The interns will rotate through 6 different outpatient pharmacies, and will also be able to participate in a series of mini-rotations to learn more about clinical specialties, such as cardiology, critical care, and anticoagulation.

The internship will conclude with Cruz giving a formal presentation, for which she will receive oral and written feedback.

“I most look forward to continuing to improve my patient counseling skills and learning more about improving patient care,” she said.

Prior to getting accepted, Cruz had to submit 3 recommendation letters, her résumé, a transcript, and a letter of intent detailing her 5-year professional goals. She was selected for a phone interview, during which she learned more about the program and had to answer some situational- based questions.

“I found the intern recruiter to be very friendly, which helped put me more at ease during the process,” Cruz told Pharmacy Times.

Why was she selected as 1 of the few students accepted into the prestigious program? Cruz said this is the million-dollar question.

She still wonders what exactly she did right to be afforded this opportunity. However, she said she shared her passion for patient care and her adamant belief that pharmacists can make a difference.

“While I find it difficult to pinpoint what exactly led to my acceptance, I would not have this opportunity without the support of my mentors and professors who wrote on my behalf,” Cruz maintained.

Cruz became interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy because she felt it offered a good balance of direct patient interaction and clinical application. Last summer, she interned at Fe Medical Services in Texas and learned what differences a pharmacist can make in helping patients manage chronic diseases.

“I truly believe a pharmacist can serve as a complement to other health care providers in helping improve patient care,” Cruz told Pharmacy Times. “It is my hope others realize the impact pharmacists can make in the health care field as we make the push toward obtaining provider status.”