Meet Eddie Mueller, a 2020 grad from Drake's Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. In his last year at Drake, Eddie was offered a Pediatric Pharmacy Residency at Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri.
Drake prepared me for my professional career as a pediatric pharmacy resident in several different aspects, including teaching me clinical knowledge, interpersonal skills, and the ability to balance multiple obligations in order to be successful. Drake’s program challenges its students in the areas they will need after college and I can confidently say my transition into the practice setting has been significantly less stressful because of the training that has been implemented in their pharmacy curriculum. Drake also utilized every opportunity in the years that I was a pre-pharmacy and pharmacy student to expose me to different opportunities within the profession so I felt educated upon graduation that I was going into the right field for my interests.
When I started school at Drake, I envisioned myself working in a hospital after graduation. How I was going to get to that position and what it would exactly look like are both areas that I developed over the course of the pharmacy program. I learned more about how the role of a pharmacist within a hospital or health system can be very different depending upon what you may be interested in or the level of interaction that you want to have with patients or other healthcare team members. Each year that I was at Drake, I shadowed and completed pharmacy practice experiences that are built into the curriculum that allowed me to see what pharmacy was like outside of the classroom in numerous different settings. The professors/faculty/staff also each have their own experience with various areas of the profession of pharmacy and are always willing to give their insight on the profession.
I think the concept that a pharmacist is never done learning is what surprised me the most. The extensive knowledge that we now have about our own health has created complexity to the profession of pharmacy that allows for specialization and the ability to constantly learn from one another. It’s exciting to know that as a pharmacist, I will continue to see new advancements, therapies, and treatments that will continue to develop over the course of my career.
As a part of an inpatient healthcare team that cares for sick children, I never realized how crucial a pharmacist’s knowledge is to the successful outcome of every single patient case. I never thought that as a pharmacist, I would have the importance to a healthcare team both for my clinical knowledge for making medication therapy recommendations, but also how I translate that information to my patients. A patient’s medication therapy is only successful when both the healthcare team and the patient are knowledgeable. It’s my role to complete this task.
As the knowledge of medication therapy advances, pharmacists will be called upon more to know how to utilize individualized medication to help treat patients with varying disease states. Even while at Drake for only six years, new medications, treatment guidelines, and protocols were released and established and the pharmacy program made sure to adapt and educate me and my classmates on the current standards of practice so that we could be best prepared after graduation.
My favorite rotation was at the Children’s Hospital of Colorado – Colorado Springs. I already had an interest in pediatric pharmacy but this solidified my pursuit in this career after graduation. This rotation site challenged me to learn the differences that are present in pediatric medicine in a setting that puts new meaning into the term “community”. The motto of Children’s Hospital Colorado is “here, it’s different” and this truly was shown by everyone during the five weeks. My favorite memory from this rotation was getting to taste-test different medications and learn about the importance of palatability in when determining the optimum medication for a pediatric patient.
I would say that just like every profession has its unfavorable aspects, not every moment of being a pharmacist (or a pharmacy student) is glamorous. During school and now in the professional world, I have made sure to recognize that everything I am doing is contributing to the positive outcome of a patient, which is why I entered the profession initially.
I think students should take into consideration several factors. Drake was the right choice for me because it has a strong pharmacy program at a university that offers other majors to facilitate diversity in a city that creates opportunity. I would not have had the educational experience today without the individuals that I interacted with in the pharmacy program, at the university level, or in Des Moines. My advice to any prospective students reading this is to pick the school that meets your expectations in these areas. Also never be afraid to ask any questions that you might have prior to committing to a school. The willingness that Drake showed me in providing as much information as possible prior to choosing to attend their pharmacy school was reflective of their willingness to help me succeed while I was in their program.