It is often a goal of young undergraduate science students to pursue a career in Pharmacy as an certified Pharmacist. It is a great career – but the glory and prestige title is often overlooked by the hardwork and endless counts of self-motivation to obtain this title.
I have interviewed a fellow colleague of mine – who is embarking her journey in January as an Pharmacy Student. Here are few questions that I have asked her in hopes to help students who are thinking about pursuing this career and to get themselves ready for next intense years of their lives.
1. There are many health care professions, why did you decided to pursue a career in Pharmacy?
I mainly chose to pursue a career in pharmacy because of the flexibility in the profession. When many people first think of pharmacists they picture a pharmacist at the counter of their community pharmacy. However, pharmacists can be found in many different institutions also. They can be involved with the government, hospitals, drug research and discovery companies, and family health teams to list a few examples. Currently, I am not set on any particular field of pharmacy, but it is reassuring to know that there is a multitude of opportunities available for pharmacists.
Also, although I have not actually begun pharmacy school yet, I am very excited to immerse myself in the vast amount of knowledge that is associated with this profession. There’s something amazing about how one can combine their knowledge of many fields, including infectious diseases, pharmacology, and patient care, in order to provide optimal drug therapy to others.
2. With all the research you have done in this career, what do you think will be the most rewarding aspect as their is no patient interaction, like what doctors and nurses do?
Depending on the position, the level of patient interaction can vary. Also, with current changes happening with the of pharmacy profession, like the ability to prescribe for minor ailments and the introduction of pharmacy technicians, you can expect to see a change in role that pharmacists play with patients in the near future. Pharmacy is not just about dispensing pills; it’s more about being able to provide optimal drug therapy to others. I think that these changes are great and I believe that they will help pharmacists better full-fill their role as part of a healthcare team.
Regardless of patient interaction levels, it is rewarding to know that in one way or another you are helping to improve the health of others.
Fact: In Canada, Flu vaccinations has the authority setting up vaccinations programs within their respective community or clinics.  [this has lead to mixed reaction by the general public and its respective parties – question to the readers – share your opinions in the comments below]
3. Please explain your experiences in the pharmacy field (volunteer), and do you think these experiences helped you get into pharmacy?
I volunteered at a community pharmacy in Dundas for a couple of months in order to get a feel of the profession. By this point I had already realized that I was going to apply to pharmacy school and to apply to Waterloo I needed a letter of reference from a healthcare professional. Basically, this volunteer passion served a double-edged sword. At this pharmacy you can witness how much work the pharmacist put into building relationships with the customers. Many of the customers were very comfortable interacting with the pharmacist and felt that he was a reliable consultation resource. It was clear that this pharmacist cared about his customer and truly wanted to help them. His passion for this field is definitely an inspiration.
4. Pharmacy school is another four years after university. How do you keep yourself motivated to study for additional years? Or is the format of the school and teaching style different that will make it more like ‘work’ than ‘study’?
Since I don’t start school till January, I’m not quite sure how the academic structure varies from a science undergrad. Also, a good thing about pharmacy programs now is that the fourth year is filled with clinical rotations rather than academic learning; so you really only have three years of “school”.
Furthermore, I’m not too concerned about doing more schooling. I don’t quite feel ready to enter the professional world; thus, I’m glad that I can avoid it for a bit longer. I have always loved school and I can’t wait to get back to it.
For others that may have difficulty pushing themselves to do four more years of schooling, I would recommend making the best out of your time at school. You want to do well at school, take care of yourself and flourish as much as you can as person. For me, enjoyment comes from a balance of these aspects.
5. What are some advices that you will give to prospective students?
General advice that I would give to students is to plan ahead. When you plan ahead you have time to consider all your possible career options and you can then figure out how to pursue them.
I don’t have any significant advice for pharmacy school yet, but maybe I’ll get back to you early next year for that!
The hemtecks team would like to thank this future pharmacist for the time and effort in answering these questions. We wish her the best of luck in her professional studies – we hope to have you back to update us on your journey! – hemtecks