A Million Different Paths

Fourth-year pharmacy student Kim Askren (right) talks wtih a physician during her rotation at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Fourth-year pharmacy student Kim Askren (right) talks wtih a physician during her rotation at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.

Pharmacy student Kim Askren shares her passion for math and science, for Des Moines, and for making a difference.

I’m a fourth-year pharmacy student from Des Moines. I’m currently nearing the end of eight rotations in different areas of pharmacy and applying for residencies.

I’m studying pharmacy because I love math and science and am fascinated with how the human body works. When I was younger, I wanted to play a part in helping to find a cure for cancer. My dream job has been to work at St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee, and I recently completed a rotation there; I worked with pediatric oncology patients. I have a soft spot in my heart for these kids because my mother’s younger brother died of cancer when he was in high school.

Drake taught me how to deal with difficult situations. I’m a sympathetic crier, so sometimes it’s hard for me not to get emotional, especially when dealing with ill children. But my courses and rotation experiences emphasized patient interaction and strategies to focus on the patients’ needs.

I’ll always remember the first time I experienced how my pharmacy studies can make a difference in someone’s life. On one of my rotations, I was asked to counsel a patient who had just been diagnosed with diabetes. I had practiced these scenarios plenty of times with my classmates. But when I walked in, the patient was sobbing. Nothing fully prepares you for facing someone who is dealing with this lifelong disease for the first time. I was able to comfort her and explain that diabetes doesn’t necessarily have to impair her life.

Pharmacists don’t just count pills. In the pharmaceutical industry, I can go down a million different paths. My rotations consist of counseling patients, providing consults for doctors, fine-tuning dosages, and serving as a resource for any questions individuals have about various drugs.

I recently discovered my passion for blogging. My blog is on the Drake website and is meant to show potential students all the great things the University has to offer. While I write about anything and everything, the part I love most is exploring the local shops and restaurants in Des Moines. Drake is not an island, and Des Moines is awesome.

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