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The Present and the Future of Pharmacy    2001

In the last quarter century, pharmacy has expanded its role within the health care delivery system from a profession focusing on preparation and dispensing of medications to patients to one in which pharmacists provide a range of patient-oriented services to maximize the medicine's effectiveness. Medicines today have great power to heal and to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans. But medicines also may do serious harm if not taken correctly. This is where the role of the pharmacist is most important.

Pharmacists practice in a number of health care settings including hospitals, clinics, nursing homes, health maintenance organizations, LTC, academia, research and others. However, nearly everyone is familiar with community pharmacists and the pharmacy in which they practice. Six out of every ten pharmacists provide care to patients in a community setting. You probably visit the community pharmacist more often than you do any other member of the health team. Pharmacists talk to people when they are healthy and when they are sick, when they are "just browsing" or when they are concerned with an emergency; when they have specific needs as well as when they are seeking advice or information.

Community pharmacists are playing an increasing role in the "wellness" movement, especially through counseling about preventative medicine. Pharmacists serve patients and the community and by referring patients to other sources of help and care, such as physicians, when necessary. Likewise, advances in the use of computers in community pharmacy practice now allow pharmacists to spend more time educating patients and maintaining and monitoring patient records. As a result, patients have come to depend on the pharmacist as a health care and information resource of the highest caliber.

Community pharmacists, in addition to the variety of tasks performed in and out of the pharmacy, are specialists in the science and use of medcations. They are knowledgeable about the composition of drugs, their chemical and physical properties, and their manufacture and uses. Additionally, a pharmacist understands the activity of a drug and how it will work within their body. More and more prescribers rely on pharmacists for information about the various drugs, their availability and their activity just as patrons do when they ask about nonprescription medcations.

The community pharmacist is in an ideal position both to ensure that drugs are used in the safest and most effective way possible, and to encourage appropriate self-care. In addition, since people trust pharmacists as educated and approachable health professionals, they often present them with a variety of nonmedication-related questions concerning such issues as birth control or alcohol abuse. For practical purposes in day-to-day practices, community pharmacists are central in helping patients receive the most benefit from the medications we provide.

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January 2003

From : University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center     College of Pharmacy         

Why Pharmacy practice is of greatest interest to me. V.S.

Each year of elementary school, my mom would ask my sister and me to write down what we wanted to be when we grew up.  My choices varied from an airline pilot to a professional ice cream taster, but when I reached the fifth grade, I began choosing to become a pharmacist as my profession.  Ever since then, it has always been my goal to become a pharmacist, and I knew the only way to achieve that would be to go to pharmacy school.

I received my first chemistry set in the fifth grade, and I can vividly remember testing the acidity and basicity of everything in the house.  I am sure my parents got tired of picking up litmus paper that was left over after my amazement.  In high school, I excelled in science classes and took Honors Chemistry I and then Honors AP Chemistry II.  I knew pharmacy was something I wanted to look into so I started my first job as a pharmacy cashier at the age of seventeen.  I remember falling in love with the profession from the first day.  I continued to work as a cashier before becoming a pharmacy technician, and now I am in my second year as a pharmacy intern.  I am slowly climbing the ladder towards my dream.

When I look at my college experiences up to this point, I am sometimes amazed at what I have been able to accomplish.  While the challenging coursework has made me at times wish I had chosen an easier field, I have never questioned that pharmacy was where I would make my impact on the world.  I hope to one day purchase a pharmacy in my hometown and incorporate compounding and diabetic education into it.  I feel there is nothing as wonderful as being able to help people achieve good health.  I know that pharmacy is a profession that allows great trust to be built between people, and I look forward to building bonds with the people that I am able to serve in the community.

William Jennings Bryan once said, "Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice.  It is not something to be waited for; but rather something to be achieved."  His words could not be truer regarding my own experiences.  Pharmacy school is a choice, and it is a choice I made a long time ago before I knew hardly anything about the profession.  As I learn more and more about pharmacy, I am confident that it could become one of the best choices of my life.

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February 2003

From : Drake University

Why I decided to pursue pharmacy school?  S.W.

Becoming a pharmacist has been a dream of mine for many years.  Helping others with there health care needs is interesting and rewarding for me.  I presently work part-time in a pharmacy and I enjoy every day of it.  There were many obstacles in my life that have put this dream on hold for a while but nothing to stop me from finally going for it. 

As a young adult I made the decision that instead of going to college I would have a family.  I got married at age 19 and had a beautiful daughter.  Two years later I was a divorced, single mother.  Now I felt there was no way to possible that I could go to school and raise a daughter by myself.  I continued working full-time and held a part-time on the side.  There was not a month that went by that we weren't struggling to get by.  We had the necessities, but that was all.  I decided one day that this way of living was not good enough for me or my daughter and I set out to make things better for us.  I realize that going to school while I raise my daughter and work doesn't sound appealing but I could see the benefits in our future.  I am finally achieving my goal and I feel great about it.  Things for us now are no different than when I was working two jobs but there will come a day when I can look back on these times and realize that I made a wonderful decision that would change our lives drastically.  Some day my daughter and I will have the little things we want.  I also feel that my daughter will learn and grow from my mistakes.  She has been there with me through the struggles and I am constantly reminding her of how necessary it is to achieve a college education.  I will not let go of this dream and I will never give up.  There is no doubt in my mind that in another four years I will become a pharmacist.  So, as you can see there are several reasons for me to attend pharmacy school and most of them hold a giant place in my heart.

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February 2003

From : Hampton University        

Why I decided to pursue pharmacy school?  O.M.

I have not always wanted to become a pharmacist.  In fact, my decision to enter pharmacy has been a process of self-discovery.  From the time I was a little boy, I dreamt of becoming a U.S. Navy aviation officer.  I thought it was my destined career to faithfully and dutifully serve my country as a United States Naval fighter pilot.  However, over the past few years and through numerous personal adversities, I now firmly believe that pharmacy is the best choice for me.

My experiences as a transplant patient have provided the initial impetus for my interest in a pharmacy career.  As a kidney transplant patient, I daily take a myriad of medications.  Curious about how these drugs affect my body, I have been reading several pharmacology books concerning my medication regimen.  To my surprise, I am fascinated and intrigued by how my body chemistry can be manipulated and, to some extent, controlled by introducing a chemical substance.  It is this awe that makes pharmacy so appealing to me.  While my struggles as a transplant survivor have affirmed my interest in pharmacy so appealing to me.  While my struggles as a transplant survivor have affirmed my interest in pharmacy, they have also strengthened my resolve and commitment to pursue pharmacy as a career.  I believe that my experiences as a kidney transplant patient will bring a whole new different dimension to my abilities as a pharmacist.

Aside from my experiences a transplant recipient, my thirst for knowledge has been the single greatest motivational factor in my pursuit of a pharmacy career.  I think that my academic choices reflect this strong appetite.  As an undergraduate student, I pursued a broad range of scientific and humanistic courses that demonstrate my skills to solve problems and process information.  During my senior year of college, I even enrolled in and excelled at graduate-level science classes.  My intense enthusiasm to learn clearly makes me an ideal candidate for pharmacy school.  Coupled with my urge to learn, my passion for science has been a major force in forming my decision to become an aspiring pharmacist.

My interest in science is