Last year, I did an interview project for one of my classes. I decided to interview a clinical pharmacy professor because I was excited to learn more about that field. She has since been a wonderful resource in my education and an invaluable mentor. Here are a few snippets from that conversation…
How do you represent yourself in the profession of healthcare?
I work in academia with students, and that has its own potential to carry on. At the hospital, with in and out patients, I work to ensure that medications are dosed appropriately for the disease states the patients have. I watch for drug-drug interactions. Also watching a lot for things that other people don’t have time for, such social problems like a patient doesn’t have money to buy medicine so that’s why their blood pressure is so high. Working with patients to foster relationships between myself and them, but also with other healthcare professionals. Telling them that it’s okay to tell the doctor that this treatment isn’t working for you. Being a resource of information.
How do you feel about being responsible for the information you give out because it affects the patients’ health and lives?
It’s scary. You definitely come into your own. The more you see, the more you do, the more that you realized what’s okay and what’s not okay. The bottom line is never, ever give out information that you are not positive about because it can hurt people. Even if you know something, and you’re positive about it, you have to be very careful about how to talk to people. Because, especially with my dialysis patients, they might not feel good, so you have to think about how they could misunderstand what you say. With pharmacy, no one knows everything. You have resources like hard copies and books, but also professionals. Ask for other people’s experiences because when you start out, you don’t have any experience.
How was the transition between student to professional pharmacist?
No matter prepared you are, or smart you are, if you’re not terrified you’re dumb. Some amount of fear is healthy. I don’t think you should be crying in the bathroom at the pharmacy everyday, though. I think in your generation, society teaches people to narrow your view. When you see a pharmacist works at a busy store, all this stuff is going on with sensory overload. That is so overwhelming and it teaches people to go fast. When I was a new pharmacist, I tried to keep at the same fast pace. But then I realized I didn’t know what I put into the bottle, whether that was the right medication for the patient. So a healthy fear is a good thing. If I am not a little nervous, that is a risk for being overconfident at the expense of the patient.