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Pharmacy Spotlight

Meet Sharmi Patel, a 2020 dual-degree grad from Drake's Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program. Before graduating, Sharmi accepted an Executive Fellowship with the Iowa Pharmacy Association.

Name:    Sharmi Patel
Hometown:    Carol Stream, IL
Degree Program:    Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), MBA, May 2020
Current Position:    Executive Fellow, Iowa Pharmacy Association
Location:    Des Moines, IA
How did Drake prepare you for what you're doing now?

Drake’s curriculum largely impacted how prepared I felt when beginning this role. Understanding the science of medications, how to communicate with patients, participating in group-based discussions, among the other concepts that were incorporated into our learning, allowed me to be more confident with my understanding and undertaking of the ongoing issues that I help to address each day. Along with this, having been exposed to a variety of pharmacy settings through IPPE’s and APPE’s led me to become more aware of the different priorities and management styles that allow each practice to be successful. Drake also provided numerous opportunities to interact with professionals which prepared me to better network with others I meet throughout my current role.

How did your career goals change as you progressed through the pharmacy program at Drake?

Prior to attending Drake, I had always known I wanted to pursue a non-traditional career. I wanted to obtain an MBA degree along with my PharmD to work in a setting where I could mesh clinical thinking with management practices. There were often IPPEs and APPEs that I enjoyed so much that I questioned how far I wanted to stray away from clinical practice, but towards the end of my rotations, I was able to confirm that working in a setting where I could get a birds’ eye view of pharmacy practice was where I knew I would be the most satisfied with my contributions.

What is something about the field of pharmacy that might surprise people? 

It does not come as a surprise to many when people say that pharmacy is a small world, but I was continuously surprised by that when I discovered that attending Drake allowed me to create countless connections with people, all because of common professors, preceptors, alumni, or a special memory that somebody had involving Drake!

Where do you see the future of pharmacy going and how did Drake prepare you for that?

The future of pharmacy may inevitably be more focused on metrics-driven approaches rather than putting the patient at the forefront. It is easy within practice to get caught up in day-to-day responsibilities, but Drake pushed us to always remember the underlying theme of our profession: improving the lives of patients.

What were you involved in as a student at Drake?

Besides working at Walgreens and Methodist West Hospital, I served as a member of the Executive Committees on DRxUGs, SNPhA, and SASA (South Asian Student Association). I was also a member of Kappa Alpha Theta, Phi Lambda Sigma, CIPA (Central Iowa Pharmacy Association), APhA, and Phi Delta Chi.

What was your favorite rotation while in the professional program at Drake?

I had two favorite rotations: Ann and Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and Eli Lilly and Company. At Lurie, I spent my rotation working in their NICU which was incredibly challenging and emotional but forced me to become more adaptable and responsive to problem-solving. I enjoyed Lilly because it showed me a unique perspective to healthcare, it went against my expectations of “big pharma” and it reaffirmed my pursuit for a nontraditional career in pharmacy.

What advice do you have for someone interested in pursuing pharmacy?

Keep an open mind and remember that pharmacists do more than just put pills into a bottle. I am grateful for the doors that my pharmacy education has opened for me and I would highly recommend pharmacy to anyone if they looking to be a valuable member of the healthcare team!

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