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Monday, September 6, 2010

My Moment of Reflection

O.K., after re-reading my last post I thought it was only fair that I also revisit my reasons for entering this profession. After all, I wouldn't ask you to do anything I'm not willing to do myself. So here it is: it all came down to just wanting to escape my high school guidance counselor's office. "What the....!" you may say. The truth is I was called into the counselor's office and put on the spot. "What was a straight-A student like me doing with the rest of my life", were the kind of questions she was putting to me and I felt trapped. At the time I was volunteering as a candy-striper at the local hospital and happened to be working in the pharmacy, so I told her that. Now, I really did like working in the pharmacy, but I had no thoughts of going to college. That just wasn't something my family did. But to escape her office I said I wanted to go to pharmacy school. She made me fill-out an application for the local college's pre-pharmacy program before I left. Now I was in real trouble because the spark had been ignited and I realised I really did want to go to college. I spent a few agonising weeks trying to figure out how to broach the subject with my dad. I went to him one night with all the facts and figures of what I would need and to my utter astonishment he agreed with no argument! Wow, I was going to college!
From then on it was a series of events, that could have only been orchestrated by a loving God, that set in motion my career path. After starting college, a local pharmacy called me to see if I wanted a job. I had never even heard of this pharmacy, but I said yes with no hesitation. This place was awesome! I did everything from cashier, to delivery boy, to janitor, to compounder, etc. They were not only a pharmacy but a home health care center as well. I got to learn all about ostomy supplies, wheelchairs, hospital beds, breast pumps, post-mastectomy supplies, etc. It was the most rewarding experience of my life and I will be forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me. I came into contact with young pharmacist and pharmacists who had been around since pharmacy was only a 3 year degree. I learned that I could go to college with "financial aid". I had never heard of this before. So, now the spark was a full blaze and I just had to go to university to complete what I had started. And the rest is history. There were more miraculous occurrences that kept me in school, but I won't bore you with that.
So, my point with all this is what? Well, I guess the point is that we all have a reason for going to pharmacy school. Some reasons are more noble than mine, but everything I experienced working in that pharmacy cultivated a love for this profession. I wanted to be like those people! I saw the patients respecting what those pharmacists had to say. I saw the love that they had for their profession. I saw them making a difference in the lives of their patients everyday. You may say, "Well, yes, but that was then and people are different now and we are busier now than ever." To that my response is I don't think so. We filled on average 600 presciptions a day, we serviced 3 nursing homes and the county jail with unit dosed meds, and that was all before the fancy computers and work-flow that we have now. Yes, some of the people have changed but the majority have not. We have changed! We have become too "busy" to notice when someone genuinely needs us. We are insulated from the patients by technicians, cashiers and automated telephone services. We have become too bitter or resentful to do our jobs the way they were meant to be done. The bottom line is that we can only change ourselves and how we respond to the situations and people we encounter. If you hate your job maybe you are the problem.
I know that's a strong statement, but I've been there. I spent years hating my job and moving from job to job. Then I realized that the common denominator in every situation was me. Moving from job to job was not going to fix the problem because I was the problem and no matter where I went I was there. I had to change! So, take some time to consider this. Are you the problem? Does your attitude need to change? Think about it...we'll talk later.

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