Meet Brandon Boelts, a P4 student in Drake's Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. Brandon just completed two clinical rotations at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The first rotation was in pediatrics, and the second was in cardiology, in which he was the first student to ever participate.
I completed two clinical rotations at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. The first rotation was pediatrics, and the second, cardiology, was a new rotation, in which I was the first student to ever participate. For both rotations I was responsible for a group of patients’ medication therapy. This involved analyzing patients' charts in the morning to assess the appropriateness of their medication regimens, reviewing my recommendations with my preceptor, and then participating in rounds with the care team. It was my job to present my interventions to the team and then monitor therapy throughout the course of the patients' admission.
My time at Drake prepared me very well for my experience at Mayo Clinic. While completing my rotations, I encountered some of the most complex disease states I will ever see. I had a solid foundation of knowledge through my didactic (in-class) coursework that allowed me to work through challenges and contribute to patient care. I also worked with some of the leading minds in medicine, and my time at Drake taught me how to maintain professionalism and represent my college at a prestigious medical center in a positive way.
My biggest lesson was realizing that the workplace that I thrive in is an academic medical center. I learned that I want to pursue a residency at an institution like Mayo Clinic, where I will have the opportunity to positively impact patient outcomes and the learning of future pharmacists. Not only did I learn the environment in which I want to work, but I also learned that my time at Drake made me well equipped to make that goal a reality.
I have two experiences that stick out in my memory. I was able to observe an open-heart surgery, which is an opportunity few pharmacy students can say they have had. I also had the opportunity to be the primary author of a manuscript that was recently submitted for publication. All my previous research experience had been bits and pieces of bigger projects, but this allowed me the opportunity to create a manuscript on my own that will likely be published in a national journal.
The pharmacy program at Drake encourages individuals to get involved both inside and outside the world of pharmacy. I had the opportunity to be a member of one of the touring choirs as well as an A Capella group on campus. I also couldn’t speak more highly of the pharmacy faculty; the small class sizes ensure that almost every professor will know you by name, and it opens more opportunities to work closely with faculty on research or projects.
In total, I was able to contribute to six different manuscripts during my time in the professional program, two of which have been published at the state level, two are in submission at the national level, and the remaining two are still in process. I also was able to present a poster of the findings of one of the publications to faculty and fellow students at Drake’s Pharmacy and Health Sciences Day. Finally, I was able to participate in regional, national, and international tours as a member of the Drake Choir and an A Cappella group while in the professional program.
My advice to future pharmacy students is to not lose sight of what makes you unique while tackling the challenges of pharmacy school. Completing the professional program is no small feat, and it can be all too easy to get sucked into the routine of going to class, coming home, studying, sleeping, and doing it all again the next day. I would encourage future students to get involved in things that interest, challenge, and inspire them, both inside and outside the world of pharmacy. Everyone who goes through the program at Drake University will be a great pharmacist someday, but it is our experiences outside of the classroom that make us unique.