Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Happy Holidays from the Ann Arbor VA!!

Posted by Anna Polk at Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Can you believe 2011 is almost over?!  This semester has flown by and rotations are now over halfway over!  I am finishing up my ambulatory care rotation at the Ann Arbor VA.  I always had a feeling that I would enjoy the practice environment at the VA and also the patient population and I’m finding this to be absolutely true.  Pharmacists play an integral role in ambulatory care at the VA, seeing patients in all sorts of clinics, from arthritis and anticoagulation to pain management and geriatrics.  I have had the opportunity to rotate through several of the clinics- I think I’ve had a pretty similar experience to Nina and am enjoying it just as much as she did!  

I am also happy to report that I’ve had a major breakthrough in terms of my long-term goals and aspirations while on this rotation.  After spending a lot of time in the pain and arthritis clinics, and speaking with my preceptor, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy practicing in areas where there several shades of gray.  Let me clarify- rather than trying to cure the patient or get their condition to a predetermined goal, I enjoy working with patients with less clear-cut goals.  I have always loved working with the geriatric population; I like how you are not trying to cure them or get all of their conditions to their recommended targets, but instead the focus is on quality of life and functional status.  I am finding that this interest is not limited to geriatrics, but rather areas that I like to think of as ‘empathy-driven care.’  These are areas where listening to your patient and developing a solid trusting relationship are essential.  You can’t treat numbers and there are few hard and fast rules to follow.  I think this helps explain why I enjoyed my psych rotation so much, as well!  

With residency application deadlines fast approaching this revelation could not have come at a better time.  I am feeling particularly passionate about pharmacy right now, and I was so excited to talk to all of the programs at the Midyear Meeting in New Orleans earlier this month.  I have ‘narrowed down’ my list of programs to apply to (I’ll admit it- there were ten that I just couldn’t bear ruling out) and am now putting all of my energy into my cover letters.

To any current or future pharmacy students:  get excited for your P4 year!!  I cannot believe how much fun I am having actually getting to practice these things that we spent so much time preparing for in the classroom!  What an exciting field we have chosen!  I guess I'll just end this post on that note- enjoy your time off for the holidays!!

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