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Why I Chose Pharmacy School

Essay by S. S.


It is the year 2020. S. S. has just been promoted to a Walgreens District Manager, and she has been voted employee of the year by Walgreens. The CEO. of Walgreens and S. are on a first-name basis. All of her customers give her a five-star rating and stop by, even when they don't have to pick up a prescription, just to say hello. There is a plaque with her photo that hangs in the Walgreens store where she works: S. S., Registered Pharmacist, Graduate of Midwestern University, Downers Grove, IL. She is a nationally acclaimed pharmacist due to her breakthrough findings in antimetabolite drugs, which has led the nation one step closer to a cure for cancer. She enjoys teaching a class as a pharmacology professor at her alma mater-Midwestern University. Her students excel in her class and outside. She enjoys telling others about her life in two parts-Before Pharmacy School (B.P.) and After Pharmacy School (A.P.).

B.P., she was born in South Bend, Indiana, and in her preteen years, she moved to Mumbai, India. From there in her teens, she moved back to the United States to Elmhurst, Illinois, and then to Schaumburg, Illinois. She attended a pharmacy presentation at a career fair in 7th grade at the Davea Career Center in Addison, Illinois, and was instantly hooked on the career path to become a pharmacist. She made sure all of her classes in high school would gear her towards becoming a pharmacist, and in her senior year, she took seven Advanced Placement (AP) courses to become accustomed to a rigorous college workload. She became fluent in five different languages, to be able to help more people in her profession (English, Gujarati, Hindi, Marathi, and Spanish). At the same time, she volunteered at a nursing home to become accustomed to working in geriatrics and understanding their patient needs. In college, she was incredibly anxious to get started in professional school, in a Doctor of Pharmacy program, so she completed her pre-pharmacy course work in a year including summers. While in pre-pharmacy, she joined many clubs to understand and appreciate diversity, and she stayed active in her religion to never lose faith in her work. She also attended a leadership program to aid her in her future profession and to work up the ladder to a pharmacist. Then came the big deadline of her application to pharmacy school. She said a few prayers and crossed her fingers while dropping the envelope in the mailbox. A few months later, after an interview with the friendly admissions staff on a beautiful, lush campus, she received a letter in the mail-"Congratulations, S. S., you have been accepted to the Chicago College Of Pharmacy in Downers Grove, IL. Welcome to Midwestern University."

A.P. is her favorite part of her career tale. She gushed on and on about Midwestern U. and is their biggest fan. Whenever she drives by 31st Street, she makes a point of cruising through the campus and traveling down all her favorite paths. She reminisces about the friends that she has made there for life. She donates 15% of her annual income to the school each year- for maintenance of the school and some more money for a scholarship fund for students interested in the profession. Her own children are already looking into the many degrees offered by Midwestern U., so they can experience and appreciate their Mom's adoration for such a noteworthy college. Walgreens admires her perseverance and therefore is the first company to attack Midwestern's Pharm D. program graduates each year with job offers. She admits, "Pharmacy school is my second home. I wouldn't be here today if it weren't for them.

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  As a young boy, growing up I have always wondered what I will like to do as a profession, a lawyer, doctor, nurse engineer or may be a priest. This question has been with me for a very long time but not any more. I have found what I want to do as a profession, I want to be a pharmacist. What made me choose this profession over all other profession? The more I think about it, the question I have is not " why " any more but " why not. "

  For many years in a row now, pharmacists have been voted the most trusted professional in America over all other professions which includes medical doctors, nurses, priests etc. by Gallup pool. Why is this important at all for me to mention? Does it make any difference if they are no 1 or not? Actually, it does, because for the same reasons the public have liked and trusted the profession, are the same reasons I have beloved the profession myself. That is, accessibility and knowledge.

  Accessibility of pharmacists to the public have been one of the main reason people value their profession. Pharmacists see more patients than any other health professional. They are out there to help patients with their medications and health.The public can count on them when in need of a health advise. Community pharmacist not only serve not as a drug expert for the people and the health care providers, they also serve as most people's first line health care provider.

  For instance, in the middle of a day a woman noticed that her son has not be feeling well, so she called a nearby pharmacy. She complained to the pharmacist that her son might have a cold. What can she give him? The pharmacist asked her a few questions and finally recommended an over the counter medication to her. The pharmacist advice her to the doctor or go to emergency hospital if the symptoms gets worse. In a few days after taking the medications, the child's symptoms resided, and he is up and running again. Just like that a patient is help, no questions asked. These are my kind of people. While, not all people would have called the pharmacy for this advise, but it is good for many families to know that pharmacists are well knowledgeable enough to make a difference in their health when needed.

  Pharmacists are well trained professional with strong background in pharmacology, medicinal chemistry and pathophysiology and therapeutics. With the new six years of college degree, pharmacists have evolved from only drug experts to health care providers that can help start drug therapy and manage many disease state both in the hospitals and communities in a cost effective manner.

  Pharmacists are also well paid professional with a good descent salary that makes it quite a self-fulfilling field.

  I am happy that the profession I chosen is a profession I admire and revere, the same profession everybody respects and value. So in the end when I graduate from school to become a pharmacist, I am going to go out there to help my patients and make a difference, knowing that the public respect and understand the values that pharmacists provide.

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How I Will Make a Difference in the Profession of Pharmacy

"Is it really that close?" I ponder, shaking my head in disbelief. As a pharmacy student rapidly approaching graduation, the long years of learning, studying, taking tests, and battling in the trenches of academia alongside my fellow students are now coming to a rapid close. So many nights have passed without sleep as drug interactions, chemical structures, and mechanisms of action danced from textbook to brain, lodging themselves firmly somewhere deep in the cranium. Anxious days and restless nights have passed as finals relentlessly approached. Lifelong friendships have been forged in the sweat and fire of a common goal, working the hours away and learning the nuances of the art and science called pharmacy. Despite this closure and the obvious celebration of completing a hard-fought task, one central question resounds in my brain: Why do I want to be a pharmacists? I feel that this question can be answered best by reviewing what originally brought me to the profession of pharmacy.

My formative years were spent on a small wheat farm with my grandmother and grandfather. Times were often cruel on the flatland, and my memory pulls me back to many a frigid morning on the barren plains when my grandfather would arise at dawn, starting the long day of work. The years of toil accumulated, as they tend to do when the body ages and he had rarely admitted the random aches and pains he surely felt. The day finally came when he had to concede to the years of brutal work by following "pill schedule". This was not what he wanted to do, and he loudly voiced that opinion to all of the family and occasionally to the family practitioner. Despite this, he never had an unkind word to say to the pharmacist. He always showed respect for the local pharmacist above that level he had for the doctor who had placed the imposition of medications upon him. I witnessed this, and asked, "That pharmacist is even more important than a doctor is? How can that be?" My grandfather's answer to the question was as clear as January ice. "He's the one who spends the time to go over these pills with me, and explains everything to me. The doctor is always in such a hurry, he just gets me in and out, then sends us the bill. I've known then both for years, but the pharmacist always visits with me as a friend," was his reasoning for his high level of respect. He truly appreciated the interaction he had with our pharmacist. Not long after this conversation, my grandfather left this world, but I never forgot that particular conversation.

I have since seen for myself and realized time again that the few minutes spent counseling patients can be the most important part of the profession of pharmacy. Some patients are elderly and may be quite confused, and an extra effort to clarify medications can become the personal touch that the patient desperately needs, providing them with comfort and reassurance in addition to their basic information. Having a "regular" recognize me and tell me about their day as they ask about mine as well illuminates the role I can have as a pleasant acquaintance to a patient. Having this dame person rely on my advice when they call late at night feeling ill shows me my worth as a trusted source of reliable medical information. Seeing the troubled lines on the face of a concerned mother melt away into a smile as she starts to truly understand how and when to administer a suspension to her crying daughter makes the whole day worthwhile. Forming an actual bond with someone who needs my expertise and compassion evaporates all the sleepless nights of studying I have spent to achieve this goal.

So many times, pharmacy can be a hectic pursuit, as the phone rings, orders pile towards the ceiling, patients demand attention angrily, and everything seems to move faster than it can be chased. This frenzied atmosphere can hurry the pharmacist-patient interaction as well, and make us wonder why our patients do not give us the respect we deserve. We can sometimes expect this respect on our position alone, before we even talk to the patient. Pharmacy has evolved rapidly over the last century in numerous ways, yet this profession still revolves around quality care for the patient. Pharmacy has ranked as the most trusted profession in America because of pharmacists who take the time to truly care for the people they serve. It is my clear intention, as my grandfather instilled in me with that conversation, to not only provide all the necessary information to the patient, but also to strive to earn the trust and friendship of that patient. The patient deserves the extra attention and I need to work hard to gain the respect of the patient. My grandfather wouldn't have it any other way.


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