This month's faculty highlight features Shari Allen, PharmD, BCPP, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy Practice.
Since being in pharmacy school, I've always loved giving presentations. When I had the opportunity on rotations to do patient education groups or give presentations to my classmates, preceptors, or faculty it was something I enjoyed. I enjoy giving information to people. I also knew that I loved psychiatry. So, when trying to decide on a career path, I wanted to do something that would allow me to do the thing that I enjoy most, teach. I sought out residencies that had a focus in psychiatry and were also associated with a college/school of pharmacy. From there I started my career in academia at PCOM. Since being in this career for six years I've discovered that I still love teaching. I'm a self proclaimed nerd. I like when students ask thought provoking questions, I like preparing lectures, although it's incredibly time consuming, it helps me to stay knowledgeable on the topic. Academia also has provided me many opportunities both in and outside of the classroom.
I've learned so many lessons since being in academia. My best advice would be 1.) work life balance and 2.) know what the job entails. When in academia, ideally your priority is to give your students the tools they need to be the best pharmacist they can be. As a result of that you spend a lot of time both during work and outside of work preparing material for them. Academia is not a 9 to 5 job. There are times when you're working much longer than that and/or on the weekends to prepare material, make it better, and enhance the learning process. While this career can be rewarding it can take over your life if you let it. You will need to learn when to turn it off. There's always work to be done in this field, but if managed appropriately it doesn't have to take over.
I always stress to people considering academia to understand what this career entails. Academia is not simply making a lecture, delivering it, giving a test, and going home. There are many components (i.e. research, service, clinical site responsibilities) that are also involved. Again, the career has its many upsides but make sure you have a clear picture of what is entailed and what will be expected of you.
Vanilla! I like vanilla with sprinkles or Oreos, I don't normally stray away from that