I was initially drawn to VCU because of my interest in research. VCU boasts state-of-the-art facilities with many faculty members who do some pretty interesting and impressive research. However, when I toured VCU, I realized that the school offers so much more. Whatever your interest is, they have an organization for it. I am proud to be involved in several organizations which have helped me discover more about pharmacy than I ever knew possible.
During the summer before my P2 year I had the privilege of attending a leadership conference held by APhA in Washington DC. The conference hosted pharmacy student leaders from all over the country for workshops on how to be more effective leaders. Not only did I learn how to be a better leader, but also how to be an advocate for my chosen profession. For part of the conference, each student met with their legislator to discuss bills that promote the field of pharmacy. I had the opportunity to educate policymakers on what pharmacists do and why pharmacy is important to ensure better patient care. This really opened my eyes to what an impact we can make in the world even as student pharmacists and how important it is to continue to advocate. Since then, I have attended Legislative Day annually with APhA at VCU where pharmacy students have the opportunity to meet with legislators and attend bill hearings at Capitol Hill.
VCU trains students to provide the best patient care possible by learning how to work together in an interdisciplinary team. Every year there is a class where all different medical professional students get together in order to learn how to work successfully as an interdisciplinary team. Last semester, medical, nursing and pharmacy students were in a class where we were given patient cases to talk through together. It was definitely a unique and eye-opening experience to be able to hear different points of view from the mindset of the other professions. It gave me a deeper understanding of the various medical professions and a respect for their work while being able to educate them on how pharmacists view patient care. This collaborative practice mindset is something that will equip me to be a better pharmacist when I graduate..
I have enjoyed both of my IPPE rotations at a community pharmacy after my P1 year and at a hospital pharmacy after my P2 year. Although there is some overlap, the skills for community versus hospital vary significantly and it is sometimes difficult to retain both skillsets if a pharmacist chooses one setting over the other. During my last IPPE rotation, many pharmacists encouraged me to keep both skillsets active and work as a community and hospital pharmacist if I had the opportunity. When I graduate, I hope to work in both areas and really enjoy all aspects of being a pharmacist.