Print This Article
Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy
How Working in a Hospital Pharmacy Changed my Perspective as a Student
by Breanna Failla, PS-2, ICHP Member, Midwestern University Chicago College of Pharmacy
Working in a hospital pharmacy has changed my perspective on my career and has given me so many opportunities. I’m still not used to not hearing the phone ring every few minutes and I still expect a line of patients when I walk into an early shift. I’m surprised when I walk by someone and they don’t ask me what aisle the Claritin is in. I have traded my business casual attire for scrubs and I haven’t looked back. Now I work alongside technicians, pharmacists, and even nurses and doctors. As a student, it has been a great experience getting to work in both the community and hospital environments.
Being able to compare the two environments helped guide me to where I want to be when I graduate. I have been able to learn what I enjoy about both experiences. As exciting as it is to work in a hospital pharmacy, I still reflect on my time as a community pharmacy technician. For example, while working in community, my experiences with counselling patients were all really positive. Being able to describe different side effects and answer questions was really meaningful to me. On the other hand, working in a hospital is providing a chance to learn therapeutic knowledge and I have been able to make connections between the drugs I am filling with the content that we are learning in class. I have been able to grow having had the chance to work in both settings.
Every time I am working, I notice a drug that I happened to learn about in my classes that week. This makes everything come full circle for me. Seeing “Precedex™” print out of the label machine automatically makes me think of all of the reasons that it can be used and helps me to remember the reasons when it appears on exams. Seeing these drugs “in real life” makes me realize that what I am learning is so much more than passing an exam. I will need to have this knowledge with me for the remainder of my career. Whether it is compounding an IV drug or loading tablets into a dispensing cabinet, I am able to make a much stronger connection to what I am learning at school. I am also getting experience with drugs that I hadn’t seen before in the community setting.
Getting to work alongside hospital pharmacists has made me realize that I could see myself in a hospital setting. Yes, it is true we can take all the pharmacy career tests our classes assign us, but you get the best picture of yourself in a career when you have actually been in that setting. Getting exposure to hospital pharmacy has been a great way to narrow down my career choices after pharmacy school and has given me comfort knowing that there is a setting in which I fit well. Getting to hear the endeavors that current pharmacists I work with go through is such a great way to learn about the career and they are always so willing to educate on what they do every day. The pharmacists I work with also make it a point to ask what I am currently learning about in class and try to tie in questions or comments that are relevant to our current patients.
Overall, I have enjoyed my experience so far working in the hospital and I look forward to even more opportunities as a student pharmacist and to my career as a pharmacist. Being able to work in hospital pharmacy has given me more confidence and has made me so excited for my future.