6 December 2013
Part I: Interview
I am currently a student at the University of Missouri – Kansas City and I am in the Pre-pharmacy program, hoping to graduate in five short years with my Doctorate of Pharmacy. I work at the Price Chopper pharmacy as a technician on Wornall Rd in Kansas City. I have learned most of the regulars’ names that come in and am vary blessed with the opportunity to work there. I have wanted to be a pharmacist for as long as I can remember, even without knowing what exactly they do. I got the chance to sit down with my employer, Joshua Taylor, who is the main pharmacist that works in the pharmacy and we got to talk about his journey to become a pharmacist.
Describe a typical day for a pharmacist?
One thing that retail pharmacy is not, is typical. There are very few days that run the same. If anything, besides the normal patients that come in to get their prescriptions, there are seasonal patterns. For example summer is poison ivy, bug bites, lice, wound and sunburn time. The diversity of each day, though sometimes exhausting, is one of the best parts of being a community pharmacist. It keeps you on your toes and alert at all times.
How do you keep up to date on developments within your industry?
I have tried to stay involved in the world of pharmacy locally by collaborating with local groups and community organizations. I have done talks on diabetes for both patients and other health care providers. I have been involved with the local health unit on safe medication disposal and reduction of drug use in teens. I find that talking directly with the people making changes is the best way to stay up to date. Conferences for organizations in pharmaceuticals are also a great way to meet people and learn how they have implemented new programs into their work environment. Sometimes all you need is a bit of direction to help you get your own programs off the ground and you can find this in many of the great pharmacists in the area.
What is the best and worst thing about your job?
The best thing about retail pharmacy is the people, and the worst thing is the people. Being able to help someone better manage their disease state for example is a great feeling but being yelled at for not having refills of someone’s prescription is not so great a feeling. But I look for two things in my day to make me feel successful: one belly laugh and one feeling of truly helping someone, making their day better.
What factors should students consider when choosing a pharmacy degree and institution?
I feel very strongly about being exposed to the profession before entering it. I think that trying to work in community, hospital, industry or other areas you can find a pharmacist is important. I was lucky enough to get the chance to work in many areas, which gave me a better outlook on all the directions a pharmacy degree can take you in.
What advice do you wish you had received from a professional while you were still a student?
Although I hadn’t decided from the beginning of my college experience to become a pharmacist, I received a lot of good advice as a student. This is where the work experience aspect of student life falls into play. It is very helpful to have a pharmacist in your life when you are a student, to talk with, bounce ideas off, and discuss current topics with. I would recommend that students get involved in their pharmacy program wholeheartedly; you will learn a lot outside of the classroom as well and make great friends along the way.
What are different texts, written or spoken that all pharmacists and anyone in the pharmacy should know?
To become a skilled pharmacist or technician, you first need to learn the technical vocabulary of the medical profession. A drug entity has several types of names. It can be expressed by its chemical name, its empirical formula, its generic name or one of its brand names. The chemical name and the empirical formula are useful to chemists, but are…