Everyone applying or accepted to Pharmacy school has one goal: to become a pharmacist. Each person has a different path, reason, or experience that led them to this career pathway. You will meet people that have no experience in the pharmacy and some that do. You will meet classmates who have a family history of medical professionals, and then some are the first of their families to go to a graduate school. Some of us were touched by a pharmacist in our lifetime, or watched a pharmacist help someone special to us get through a hard time. Today I want to share my personal story of why I chose to go to pharmacy school and become a pharmacist.
Growing up in a small, rural town you don’t meet many folk going to college, getting big time degrees to become doctors, and the closest pharmacy or hospital may be 20 minutes away if not longer. I wasn’t a kid who got sick often, so I never saw a pharmacy too often. I have been blessed that most of my family has been pretty healthy, so I don’t have experience with a pharmacist helping out with a sick family member’s medicine. For me, my interest of health care and the medical field started in my late years of high school. I got involved with a club called HOSA, I took community college courses involved with forensics, crime scene investigations, and criminology, and I got hooked on helping people with special needs (Down syndrome, autism, etc.).
By the time I started college I had a pathway set in forensics. I wanted to sit in the state lab and run tests on unknown samples of different drugs and poisons that killed people, and specialize in toxicology. Then I realized that I didn’t like lab or research. I wasn’t one of those people who could stay coped up in their little lab running tests all day. I did know that drugs fascinated me! During this change in pathways, I was searching for a job close in the area. Since I knew I liked drugs I thought about applying to the local pharmacies. I had no experience, no training, but I was determined to get some kind of experience. The Rite Aid of Mount Olive was looking for a part-time pharmacy cashier/ technician, and I was the person they were wanting. Blessing number 1!
During my year of working with the Mount Olive Rite Pharmacy, the main pharmacists became my inspirations. They were knowledgeable, charismatic, understanding, stern, professional, and great communicators! They were what I wanted to be! These two ladies opened the doors to answers I needed for a pathway. I became infatuated with what every drug did, how to pronounce the drug names, how to communicate, how to get out of my comfort zone, how to be confident in myself and the answers I knew, and to be an even better listener. These pharmacists encouraged me to become a pharmacist, and fed my fire to apply to pharmacy school. Blessing number 2!
The experiences and stories I have heard and gone through with the patients is the biggest reason why I chose pharmacy. I get the greatest satisfaction knowing that I’m helping a patient get the best care! If I don’t know the answer to one of their questions, they push me to become even more knowledgeable, find the answer for them, and keep me honest. The communication and trust between the patient and yourself is a true bond. You also learn how the health care or insurance plans may be helping or hurting the patients. Being a pharmacist, you get to see how it is affecting the patient, and you can help that patient make a change so they get better care! I also love meeting new people, where they’re from, and what they think about certain things in the pharmacy. Being around people, and being able to talk them was what I loved. Blessing number 3!
The pharmacy is more than just counting pills. It is concerned with so much detail, and you are always having to be on your game and being observant. Retail pharmacy brings new adventures and problems every day. You will not deal with the same things every day. This is perfect for me, because complacency or routine gets boring and tiresome after a while. I didn’t find pharmacy interesting for just the money. Becoming a pharmacist for me is something you have to love and have a passion for, Becoming a pharmacist is an act of unselfishness, and you are always serving others! This job is not about yourself. This background and these reasons are why I wanted to be a pharmacist. It’s the values and satisfaction you can get from this career, and knowing at the end of the day it wasn’t about you.
No matter where you are from, your experience, or lack of experience if you want to be a pharmacist you have to be willing to let go of selfishness and pride. Allow your job to make you a better person and humble. Let the job be a satisfaction and encouraging. Most of all, be ready to serve others and treating them the way that you would want to be treated!
Class of 2017