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Chicago State University College of Pharmacy
My Journey into the Pharmacy Profession
by Jenifer Leja, P3, Secretary
Choosing to pursue a career as a pharmacist has been very challenging and rewarding. Pharmacy school has helped me grow personally and professionally. Two years ago, I began my journey at Chicago State University College of Pharmacy. I knew that it would be rigorous and challenging, yet necessary in order to mold me into a competent pharmacist. Every day I am motivated to work harder to achieve my goals. My experience in pharmacy school has taught me to be patient, dedicated, and understanding. One thing that was important for me was to gain insight of pharmacy practice outside of the classroom.
This past summer, I was very fortunate to have been accepted to an internship at a large pharmacy benefits manager (PBM) mail order pharmacy. Prior to this experience, I was unaware of exactly how this pharmacy operated aside from mailing prescriptions to patients. After observing the various departments, such as operations and patient counseling, my initial thought was that the pharmacists seemed to have very segregated job functions. Then, I realized that the company functions similar to a puzzle, where every pharmacist had the role of a different piece and each component played an important role in the overall big picture. Everyone worked to ensure that medications were sent to patients quickly, safely, and effectively.
I had the opportunity to take part in a weekly Executive Speaker Series. These were sessions where pharmacists throughout the company met with interns to discuss their roles within the company. I observed pharmacists engaged in patient counseling and prescription verification/monitoring. Additional tasks included clinical accounting, where pharmacists worked in collaboration with insurance companies to create formularies and resolved discrepancies in prescription coverage. Pharmacists involved with expatriate services worked strictly with clients involved in the military or governmental personnel overseas. It was very enlightening to see how dedicated everyone was towards their patients.
Upon completion of this internship, I left with a new understanding of how PBMs operate. During my time there, I was able to easily apply concepts that I have learned from school and share this knowledge with colleagues at my internship, through various projects and presentations where I was involved. I am now able to share my newfound knowledge of PBMs with my fellow Chicago State students and classmates. This internship was invaluable to my professional growth and I am grateful to have been given this opportunity. I was able to see firsthand the importance of teamwork—collaborating with others to achieve one common goal—serving the patient!