Four other pharmacy students from other pharmacy schools in the United States and I had many different roles at Peking Union Medical College. We got to experience the clinical roles of a pharmacist in different wards in the hospital including geriatrics, endocrinology, infectious disease and at an Afib clinic. We spent time with the compounding pharmacists learning how they make different creams, ointments and suspensions for patients in the hospital. My favorite part was when we got to travel to the Traditional Chinese Medicine hospital to learn about and experience cupping, acupuncture, blood-letting and learned about the benefits of different herbs and supplements used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Drake did a wonderful job of preparing me for this rotation. The Experiential Office was able to answer any questions I had about the visa process and helped me get in touch with my preceptor in Beijing. Dr. Welty, who is the faculty member that has relationships with the pharmacy team at PUMCH, met with the other students and I for dinner before we left and answered any questions that we had. There was always someone I could go to with any questions that I had during the preparation process.
I try to live by the motto, “if I want to have an impact on this world, I first need to experience it.” This rotation definitely got me out of my comfort zone, but ended up being one of the greatest experiences of my life. I now have a better understanding of the Chinese healthcare system, have made great friends and have memories that will last me a lifetime. If I had not become comfortable with the uncomfortable, then I would not have this experience in my life to look back on. I will not grow as a pharmacist or a person if I stay in my comfort zone, so I push myself to have those experiences that will make me a better healthcare provider.
I don’t think I can narrow it down to just one favorite memory because I enjoyed the whole experience so much. From a healthcare perspective, I enjoyed getting to learn more about Traditional Chinese Medicine and the benefits it can provide. I did not have much knowledge in this area prior to my experience in China, but I now have a better understanding of TCM and the importance it holds in healthcare in the Chinese culture. From a tourist perspective, my favorite parts were the Great Wall and the Summer Palace. China is a country that is filled with so much history and wonder, and I just touched the surface while I was there. I also will cherish the relationships I made with the other pharmacy students and medical students, many of whom I am still in touch with.
My time at Drake has been amazing. My most memorable experiences while in pharmacy school have been the TA position I held, my TBL group throughout therapeutics, and the friends I have made along the way.
I attended the APhA conference on Drug and Alcohol Dependency in Salt Lake City after my P1 year. I also completed the SLDS program during my P3 year and I held a TA position in the College of Health Sciences during my P3 year. In addition, I am a dual degree student enrolled in the MSLD (Master of Science in Leadership Development) program.
Follow your passions and find a good work/life balance. I have passions that are associated with pharmacy, but also have passions that are not pharmacy related. I think being involved in pharmacy school and in organizations outside of pharmacy school made me a more well-rounded student.