My name is Madison Campbell, and I am currently starting my senior year in the BSPS, bachelor of science of pharmaceutical sciences, program. My signature STEP project was an exploratory research project. Over the course of this summer I interviewed ten pharmacists in specialized areas. My research project consisted of research the specific area of pharmacy that each pharmacist practiced in and having the individual pharmacists fill out an informational survey.
My research is now a huge part of who I am. This summer I learned so much not just from doing the research to prepare me for my interviews, but from the connections I made with the pharmacists. I discovered that I didn’t have to have a plan. I don’t have to figure out exactly what I want to do with my future in pharmacy. All of the pharmacists that I spoke with this summer didn’t have a plan, and a pathway that they desired to go down. Specialization happens by chance, and with passion.
My most memorable interview this summer was with a pharmacist that specialized in nuclear pharmacy. Before I started this project, I didn’t even know nuclear pharmacy existed. I could bore you with the science that I learned from the pharmacist, but the best lesson that I learned from her is to remain inquisitive. She started her career like any other pharmacist, working in a local Walmart pharmacy. Along her journey she stumbled into nuclear pharmacy. Out of pure inquiry she started working at Cardinal Health as a part of a team of nuclear pharmacists. What I liked most about her journey was that it wasn’t focused on the title of her job, it was just about being passionate about our field. My last question in every interview was to give me a piece of advice, and the best advice I received was to remain inquisitive, that I should keep looking for new questions and answers. That I should continuously learn, I am so thankful to have met her, and I hope that connection I made this summer brings our paths together in the future.
Another interview that I learned a great deal from was actually with my boss. I work at a long term patient care pharmacy in Hilliard. My boss is the pharmacist in charge of our branch. Most of the pharmacists that I talked with this summer preached about taking part in a pharmacy residency in a hospital. Which in any specialized field is the status quo. My pharmacist at work told me otherwise. She told me that it would be a great opportunity to do a pharmacy residency, but that it doesn’t make you necessarily better than another pharmacist. She got to her position by working hard in our specialized field of geriatrics and rehabilitation. Knowing that you can be successful without having the experience of a rotation was great to hear. It changed my idea of my plan for the next 5-10 years. Seeing that hard work and passion can get you really far in the field of pharmacy opened my eyes. A large part of my program at Ohio State talks about the importance of a rotation, and seeing success outside of the status quo is helpful in making my decisions for my future. I am thankful to have had this conversation with my boss, these are truly things that I wouldn’t normally ask in a work setting, and learning about her journey, not only educationally but in the work place, was really helpful to see and understand.
Unfortunately with HIPPA regulations, I was only able to observe the two above pharmacists in a shadow setting. On the positive side, I got to see two really awesome sides of pharmacy. When I shadowed the nuclear pharmacist I showed up to the Wexner Medical Center at 4:30am. Nuclear pharmacy takes time to prepare, so most of the medications are created very early in the morning. I showed up after the two head pharmacists were there. When I arrived I was fully gowned and sanitized, and I walked into the lab. I got to watch as the pharmacist worked with radioactive chemicals to create the medications that would be used later that day in the Wexner Medical Center. It was a great experience to see nuclear pharmacy in action. My second shadow was actually with a different pharmacist for the company that I work for. He is a consultation pharmacist, and he goes from facility to facility and looks at the charts for each patient and makes recommendations to the doctors based on what the labs are suggesting and how the patient is responding. It was an exciting day of overviewing charts and speaking with nurses at the different facilities. Both shadow experiences confirmed my passion for clinical pharmacy as it is more hands on.
This project showed me a lot about my field. Some things I knew about before the project, but a lot of it was brand new to me. Looking at some of the data from my survey I have seen that the correlations that have been made are not necessarily true when it comes to specialization in pharmacy, and that most things happen by chance. It was really interesting to see the data that I collected, but the most important thing that I gained from my project was interpersonal. I have made a lot of important connections with pharmacists in varying fields. When I go into pharmacy school and I am looking for internships these connections will be very important to have. I don’t know exactly what I want to do after I graduate from pharmacy school, but I have 5 more years to figure it out. Talking with these pharmacists this summer has been an important step in my career in pharmacy.