The Results of a Pharmacist's Work


American Pharmacists Month is a great time to celebrate the impact pharmacists make on patients and health care colleagues.

Architect? I did like drafting class. Chef? I certainly liked to cook elaborate meals. But I wasn’t fully convinced that either were the right career for me.

Nearing college application time, I needed to make a decision. What I knew was that I liked seeing the results of my work, whether on paper or a plate.

October is American Pharmacists Month, a good time to reflect back on why we chose to become pharmacists and celebrate the impact we make on patients and health care colleagues. Over my short career as a pharmacist, what I’ve liked most is how the profession has evolved.

What prompted my pharmacist career was an article in my local newspaper highlighting the demand for pharmacists in Michigan.

Quite honestly, the salary prospect helped me make the decision, too. Student loan debt was not something I wanted to maintain through my 40s.

So, with no experience working in a pharmacy, I began to pursue a degree in the field.

After being accepted to a university known for the quality of its pharmacy education, I took a job at a local pharmacy chain the summer before my first semester. This reaffirmed my choice.

Over that summer, I thought, “I could do this.” Patients were helped, and I got to see the results of my work. Little did I know this was only a glimpse of what a pharmacy career could offer.

I kept working for the same chain throughout my undergrad years and into the early grad ones, and I continued to relish in my career choice.

As I got deeper into the program in learning about and even participating in other practice settings, I was amazed at the variety of opportunities for pharmacists. I was able to experience pharmacy practiced in hospital, long-term care, retail, independent, managed care, academic, and many other settings. And I liked having those options.

Toward the end of my education I was exposed to yet another practice setting: specialty pharmacy. This area of pharmacy dealt with complex therapies with special monitoring requirements.

Not many pharmacists had experience working with these medications, but it looked like a promising field and I eventually applied to and was accepted to one of the few specialty pharmacy residencies in the country.

The residency was like pharmacy school all over again. Pharmacy school had narrated the book Pharmacy Careers, and now I was reading all the sections in the "Specialty Pharmacy" chapter, including clinical services, informatics, operations, sales, training, quality, accreditation, account management, and more.

Today, I continue to practice at that specialty pharmacy. My role involves working between clinical services and information technology departments on a patient care software. I get to have input on how that software supports the care of patients.

What data is collected from patients and how is it handled? How can that data be used to proactively intervene? How does the software allow for documentation and demonstration of the value of the pharmacist in patient care?

These are some of the questions I try to answer, and I still get to see the results of my work.

For American Pharmacists Month, I’d like to thank my mentors and colleagues at Ferris State University and Diplomat Pharmacy!

Who do you want to thank? Do so on social media using #ThankAPharmacist

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