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Born to Serve

When I think of my reason for pursuing pharmacy as a career, I do not think of myself, instead I think of others.  Sure, I eliminated other possible choices because of my interest in science, but the reality exists that I want to be a pharmacist to serve others.

I believe that it is the duty of every citizen in this world to reach out and help those around them.  This view was partially instilled in me through my involvement in the Girl Scouts of America program.  I was a scout for over ten years and successfully completed the program when I received their highest honor, the Gold Award. 

In this program, one of the first things you are taught is the "Girl Scout Promise and Law".  These are national standards of honor, leadership, charity and social responsibility.  Not only have the words been instilled in my brain, but also the messages have been incorporated into my life.  Through the promise, a promise that I continually strive to uphold, I have dedicated myself to "on my honor.... serve God and my country".  The Law is a list of duties that I uphold as a scout including being honest, fair, cheerful, helpful, friendly and considerate. The laws also expects one to respect authority, use resources wisely, show respect for oneself and others, and protect and improve the world.

By living these words, I believe I have become an honorable person.  By being honest, fair, cheerful, friendly, considerate, and by respecting authority I hope to have gained an honorable place in my community and among my peers.  By helping where there is need, protecting and improving the world around me, and respecting others and myself, I feel that I fulfill my social responsibility.

After learning these valuable Laws as a child, I continued to uphold them throughout my high school career by serving on Student Council for four consecutive years.  As a member of council, I was able to actively serve my peers and my community in a leadership position.  As one of two four-year council members, I acted as an experienced role model for the other council members and was able to lead them with effectiveness and authority.

Choosing a career that will enable me to serve others will help me as an adult to carry out my philosophy of honor.  I have been interested in science as long as I can remember.  I was so enthusiastic that I stayed after class to talk with the science teacher trying to squeeze out every possible bit of knowledge.  My dreams have always included becoming a scientist and working with people.  When I was in elementary school, I aspired to be a marine biologist.  This changed as soon as I realized how limited the field could be.  I did not want to be stuck in a certain location on the coast.  I was also discouraged thinking that I may have to hurt animals in order to study them.  After the hope of marine biology faded from my future, I was left not knowing what to do with my life.  Although I love science and people, I have never been very comfortable with blood.  This discomfort unfortunately rules out many prospective science careers such as nursing, dentistry, and doctoring.  

I now look to pharmacy as a wonderful opportunity to have a career in science as well as to help others in my world.  I think it is the perfect alternative for me.  Pharmacy will be a way of providing service and friendship to many people in my community.  I believe that pharmacy is a career that will allow me to reach out to others in need while improving the world around me through research and service.

I anxiously await the day when mine will be the friendly face behind the counter and I will have the skills and knowledge to help my patients.  The patients are what make the long hours of my future seem shorter and important.  Knowing that my career prevents them from taking the wrong medications, using medical devices inaccurately, and receiving sub-optimal relief of pain or discomfort is what makes the career desirable.  Knowing that listening to the patients when others do not have or make the time to do so and making a patient feel like a person again makes my desire even stronger.  I want to be a pharmacist because I want to be someone on whom my patients can depend to serve them.

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Student Essay by:

K. N.                                       University of Louisiana at Monroe (ULM)


Many factors come to mind as to why I chose Pharmacy School. As a second year Pharm. D. student, my mentor, my family, and especially one of my roommates has led me to this.

During my junior high, my science teacher and mentor, Mrs Wanda Ray, recruited me to join the Science Olympiad team. She placed me into the category of Human Anatomy. It was her motivating and inspiring spirits that led me to placing at regional and win an Olympic sized silver medal at state. Since then, I was hooked on science and the functions of the human body.

As I began college, I knew I wanted to continue studying science, but I had the slightest idea of which career to choose. So, at a local university, Louisiana State University, I chose Microbiology as my major and graduated with a chemistry minor. I figured that with a Bachelor's degree, I could go to medical school or work for a pharmaceutical company. By the time I was a senior, I realized that dissecting a cadaver was not for me. My roommate suggested pharmacy school to me and explained the shortage of pharmacists and all of its benefits.

As I did further research on pharmacy jobs, I discovered nuclear pharmacy which really interested me. I also looked into the pharmacy school curriculum and discovered that I did not have to dissect a cadaver. All the courses were up my alley of math, chemistry, and of course the human body. Thus, I chose pharmacy school.

Now that I am in pharmacy school, I feel 100% that I made the right decision. I know that I can make an impact on patient lives by counseling and screening their medication regimen. I can help the community live a better quality of life. With a Pharm.D. degree, I could not only do research at a pharmaceutical company, but I also could become a great inspirer like Mrs. Ray did for me.

One more factor that led me to choose pharmacy school is my family. I am the third child out of eight and a first generation college graduate. My parents are refugees from Vietnam. Their choice of leaving family behind to come to a foreign place with no knowledge of the language to give their children a better future has inspired me.

I appreciate all the opportunities available to me especially an education and the ability to continuously learn. I am proud to know that by becoming a pharmacist I can make a positive impact to those around me, especially the chance to be a role model for my siblings.




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To RxLink: 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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To RxLink: 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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