I recently completed a pediatric oncology rotation. I learned about chemotherapy regimens in children, how pharmacists can assist in managing the side effects of these therapies, and I even spoke with patients and their families to learn about the medications they were taking before coming to the hospital! My day consisted of working up patients, rounding with the pediatric hematology and oncology team, providing drug therapy recommendations to the team, and participating in topic discussions with my preceptor and other student pharmacists.
Even though I did not have any prior experience with this specific patient population, Drake equipped me with the strong communication and drug information skills needed. Through the Pharmacy Skills and Applications course series throughout pharmacy school, I was able to practice and enhance my skills in simulated clinical scenarios that prepared me for clinical encounters during rotations.
My biggest lesson from this experience is to ask questions! I didn’t have prior experience in pediatric oncology, but I was able to utilize resources to familiarize myself with chemotherapy medications. I also participated in different topic discussions with my preceptor that allowed me to ask questions and hone in on my knowledge.
One of my favorite memories from this experience was connecting with a medical student on the team. We took time to collaborate with one another and were able to offer knowledge in our areas of expertise to facilitate our learning. The interprofessional collaboration process is extremely valuable as it is important to gain knowledge and perspective from other health care professionals as we work towards providing the best patient care.
One of the things I’ve liked the most during my time at Drake is getting involved in different student organizations. At the College of Pharmacy and Health Science, there were so many organizations that I could choose to get involved in. I chose to give my time and energy to Phi Lambda Sigma, the Pharmacy Leadership Society, and the American Pharmacists Association – Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA-ASP). I was able to meet and connect with colleagues, faculty advisors, and pharmacists, advocate for the pharmacy profession at the Iowa State Capitol, perform health screenings, and volunteer throughout the community. My experience in pharmacy school was extended beyond the classroom, and I was able to learn about the pharmacy profession through my involvement.
Take time to connect with your advisor, professors, and other faculty and staff members! They want you to see you succeed and are prepared to guide you along the way. I have been able to create lifelong relationships with my mentors, and turn to them for advice and guidance throughout pharmacy school, and as I make the transition into my pharmacy career.