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Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy
Student Interview: Profile of a Pharmacy Student’s Journey
by Ziad Dabbagh, PS-2, ICHP Historian
The Division of Educational Affairs and the Division of Professional Affairs each have standing columns in each edition of KeePosted. Lisa Nguyen is currently a fourth year Doctor of Pharmacy Candidate at Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy. She began her journey in 2014 due to an interest in science and a curiosity about how medications work. Lisa was previously our chapter’s historian and I had the pleasure of interviewing her regarding her experiences in pharmacy school thus far.
Lisa first became involved in pharmacy school during her first-year through Phi Delta Chi, a pharmacy fraternity with an emphasis on networking and professionalism. She knew that she wanted involvement with a smaller campus organization. She believes that this offers more room for personal growth and allows her to make more of an impact. Lisa reminisces on the time that she ran for “class vice-president, failed, and was discouraged; but told herself that [she] won’t ever get a position if [she doesn’t] keep trying and that it’s okay even if everyone knew [that she] lost.” Lisa viewed this failure positively, as an experience for personal growth and development.
During her second year, Lisa ran for leadership roles in the Illinois Council of Health System Pharmacists (ICHP) as Historian, the Student National Pharmacist Association (SNPhA) as Membership Chair, and the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) as their Director of Professional Relations. She was elected to two of the three positions and she began working with professional organizations. Working with SNPhA allowed Lisa to further develop critical leadership skills which she would go on to use later in her career as a student. For AMCP, she organized a round table event which included over nine pharmacists and forty student attendees. Lisa’s second year culminated in her induction into Rho Chi . During the summer, she went on a humanitarian medical mission trip to Peru.
Lisa began her third year of pharmacy school with excitement. She had one year of didactic coursework left, and she won the election for the ICHP Historian role. Lisa enjoyed this role as she promoted events on social media while be able to express her creativity at the same time through photos. Lisa continued her involvement with organizations. This year she was the Vice President for SNPhA, treasurer for AMCP, and picked up a new position as the secretary for the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS). Looking back at all of these positions, Lisa has, “learned how much work it is to plan events due to all the things you have to consider, like having a trash can for catered food and a microphone, etc; This goes hand-in-hand with time management, something that is so valuable to a student. Balancing school, work, friends, family, and extracurricular activities is hard.” Lisa informed me that an important lesson that she has learned from her experiences is the knowledge that, “we are surrounded by people, so knowing how to work with or approach someone is invaluable and a life-long lesson.” A bittersweet ending to third-year came with the realization that while pharmacy is a small world, many classmates go their own way and pursue their own individual paths.
Lisa is currently on rotation in California where she is, “not as exposed to opportunities, but just [has] to look for them.” I asked Lisa what her immediate goal was after graduation. She alluded to wanting to be a clinical pharmacist but is keeping options open. She let me know that while physicians are the ones who diagnose and determine treatment, “pharmacists are important to the healthcare team because they create and manage a patient’s treatment plan.” She believes that clinical pharmacy is the future and is an advocate for provider status and foresees that the “pharmaceutical industry is going to be very big with so many new drugs in development and the need for more pharmacists to provide accurate and fair-balanced information.” Lisa looks forward to graduation and leaves her colleagues with the following point to consider, “be involved, try new things, even if it makes you uncomfortable as you can’t go back in time and may end up wishing you had done something.”