Friday, December 10, 2010

The Importance of NETWORKING

Posted by Alex at Friday, December 10, 2010

I just came back from ASHP's Midyear Clinical Meeting and consider it a success. My experience was very interesting and reflects how crucial networking is for any interview process. From the airport to the actual conference itself, you should always be in interview mode.

Many, many people attend Midyear and you will run into them at the airport, on the airplane ride, shuttle ride to your hotel...anywhere is fair game. Make sure you are always on good behavior!

So my adventure began on my flight heading over to the conference. I was sitting in my airplane seat decked out in my Michigan apparel, and this guy approaches me and says "Uh Ohio State fan sitting next to a Michigan fan." My response was, "Oh don't worry--I'll be nice!" From there we started talking and turns out he's a resident. He asked me what type of programs I'm looking into and I responded saying I'm interested in managed care. He responded, "Oh my buddy from pharmacy school is currently doing a managed care residency in Utah." And I responded, "I think I'm interviewing for that program at the conference!" Right then and there, he texted his buddy saying he's sitting next to a potential candidate.

Turns out that yes...his buddy was the person that actually interviewed me. Good thing I was able to carry on good conversations with the resident on my flight. I felt even more confident coming into the interview since I had his friend as a connection to break the ice.

During one of my interviews with another program, I discovered one of my interviewers worked with Dean Ascione in the past. I was pretty surprised. This same program also knew that I was presenting a poster during the student research poster presentation. To my surprise, they visited my poster and spent a good 15-20 minutes drilling me with questions. I was not expecting them to come! But then again, maybe I should have. However, overall I think I handled the heat pretty well.

On my flight leaving California, I discovered one of the residents from another program I'm applying to was on the same flight! I saw her in line waiting to board and said hi and small talked.

Overall message: networking is extremely important! It will give you the edge in any setting.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cancer Sucks!!

Posted by Omo at Wednesday, December 01, 2010

My fourth rotation was at Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit. I was working mainly with patients in the bone marrow transplant clinic and saw most of them as outpatients. This rotation was extremely fulfilling in so many ways. I got to see on average twenty patients daily. Some of my duties included:
1. Meet with and counsel patients on each visit ensuring that medications are taken appropriately and updating their medication list.
2. Look for any drug interactions especially when patients were started on a new medication.
3. Most patients were either an allogeneic-transplant or an autologous transplant so I had to make sure that their medications were well correlated to the type of transplant.
4. Some other patients were pre-transplant so I had to make sure that these patients were not on any meds that would interact with their chemotherapy.
5. I also had to update vaccinations on these patients because after transplant, they are required to have vaccinations done on a schedule.
6. I was also in charge of noting every intervention made by the pharmacy team in the pharmD clinical notes.

This experience allowed me to hone my patient counseling skills. I also had the opportunity to build a relationship with these patients because I got to see most of them at least once a week. I enjoyed learning about the experiences they shared with me. I was impressed that most patients were very knowledgeable on all their medications.

My mother died of cancer. I never fully understood what she went through while she was battling cancer because I was young. However, now that I have worked with these patients and witnessed what they go through, I can only imagine what my mother went through. I have great respect for her and all other cancer patients and survivors.

Cancer sucks but we as pharmacists can work to help alleviate the pain that patients go through!