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PharmDigest Fall 2020

December 3, 2020
PharmDigest is published by the PCOM School of Pharmacy Student Council. 

A Message From Pharmacy Student Council President Amanda Aid

A photo of Amanda Aiad, the PCOM School of Pharmacy Council President for 2020.Greetings, My name is Amanda Aiad and I am in my third-year at PCOM Georgia currently serving as President of Pharmacy Council. On behalf of Pharmacy Student Council, I would like to officially congratulate and welcome the first-year class, as well as returning students, on completing this term in unprecedented times. Pharmacy Council serves to act as an advocate for the student body of PCOM School of Pharmacy. The Council works to ensure cohesion and unity between students, organizations, administrators and faculty. Pharmacy Student Council is composed of students elected from various classes uniting together for one common cause—to empower the profession of pharmacy. 

Despite being in tough times right now, I would like to share some words of encouragement. Remember, we are all here to serve a specific purpose by choice rather than by chance. We all got accepted into pharmacy school because there is something unique about us that made us stand out among other applicants. We are capable of becoming the future providers of the healthcare profession that we all desire to be. Now is the time to showcase those qualities and potential that makes us exceptional. In the process, we also must not forget to take care of ourselves and our mental health as well as rewarding ourselves along the way.

I wish everyone great success this academic year!

A Message From Andrew Wilson, Class Representative

A photo of Andrew Wilson, class representative for the PCOM School of Pharmacy council.My name is Andrew Wilson and I am the representative for the Class of 2024. I was born and raised in Alpharetta, Georgia and have worked for 15 years as a pharmacy technician and compounding technician nearby at Dunwoody Pharmacy. In my time at Dunwoody Pharmacy, I have found a passion for both sterile and nonsterile compounding. My favorite thing about compounding is the wide variety of patients we service. It is amazing to have the ability to customize medications that meet the specific needs of everyone ranging from minor illnesses to cancer patients, cats/dogs, or even a Rhinoceros. Outside of pharmacy, I am a drummer and played on the drumline at both Centennial High School and at the University of South Carolina. I received a Bachelor of Science in General Biology from Kennesaw State University. I am an eagle scout. I enjoy hiking, nature photography, latin dancing, and playing on a tennis team. 

My goal as representative is to see everyone in the Class of 2024 succeed. We face obstacles never before seen due to the coronavirus, and navigating these difficult times requires teamwork and making sure our voices are heard so that we receive equal opportunities as previous classes. As class representative, I am here to voice any and all concerns that arise from the class, promptly deliver important information from teachers and administration, and provide direction so that nobody is left behind as we experience pharmacy school together. I feel that success in pharmacy school is a collaborative effort and I will do my best to foster unity and communication among the class of 2024. I could not be more proud of the ability of the class of 2024 to come together through media and shared resources despite our lack of face to face communication and I am honored to be the voice of this amazing group of people.

Congratulations to All Pharmacy Students
From Lawrence Uwaeke PharmD '20, Former Council President

A photo of Lawrence Uwaeke, PharmD '20, former student council president for the PCOM School of Pharmacy in Suwanee, Georgia.Congratulations to everyone for making it to this point in your respective educational careers. You have worked hard to reach your current level and deserve a moment of applause for your efforts. However, it is important to not take too long breathing in that sigh of relief, because there is still more work to be done. Remember that your goal was not to make it into pharmacy school, it’s to become an actual pharmacist. To do that it’s important to continue demanding more of yourself, and the fact that you’re reading this right now means you’re capable of doing so. However, what’s different from what you may be accustomed to is that simply demanding more of yourself in the classroom is no longer enough. You’re now in professional school, which means that you will be faced with professional realities, and part of that reality is that your network determines your net worth as much as your education does. Having knowledge without the network or network without the knowledge limits the potential of your future, and thus why I am giving you this advice now. Understanding the options you’re now privy to (there are many), choosing your path, and developing your network are now concepts equally important as grades. Luckily, you’ve chosen to attend a pharmacy school that has the faculty, staff, and alumni equipped to assist you in these endeavors. That doesn’t mean you won’t experience your highs and lows, but it does mean that for every low you experience there’s a hand ready to reach out and pull you up. Hopefully, when you leave this institution, you’ll be able to see the beauty in the struggle.

Congratulations and good luck!

Words of Encouragement to Pharmacy Students
By Lawrence Uwaeke PharmD '20, Former Council President

I remember greeting the new students two years ago as Pharmacy Council President and saying that the starting begins upon entrance to pharmacy school. While that still holds true, the fact of the matter is that even I didn’t understand the gravity of what that meant. The world of pharmacy is currently at an impasse due to our roles as healthcare providers evolving and a saturated market where 300 people compete for one open position (not an exaggeration). It is to a point where conversation is about whether the PharmD is simply an introductory level certificate now. While that may sound grimacing, rest assured that I am not painting a picture of hopelessness. It is Dr. Ghilzai’s job to scare you, not mine (Sorry, Dr. Ghilzai). Instead, my job with this article is to tell you that with clarity and adaptability; you will be able to be where you want to be despite everything I said. As a pharmacist there are numerous fields for you to work in; that means it is important early on in your pharmacy school career to gain clarity in what avenue(s) to pursue. Adaptability comes after clarity because once you figure out the places where you want to go, you start planning how to get there. 

Unfortunately, the path of least resistance to gain both clarity and adaptability is to increase your workload. As I mentioned, obtaining your PharmD is now introductory level. That means using it to create the type of living for yourself you want, or to work in a space where you desire requires more than simply graduating. This is true even for the students who want to pursue a job in general such as retail pharmacy and thought that simply doing the minimum would be enough. Grades and what occur inside of the classroom are important, but just as important are the steps you take outside of the classroom to build your understanding and network.

As a P1 and P2, you should spend some of your free time researching the various roles a pharmacist can have and narrowing down your choices of fields to go into. Gaining your clarity early-on affords you time to talk with professors and your advisor on how to navigate your future easier. Start figuring out requirements, certifications, internships, fellowships, and everything in between earlier rather than later. If you do this now, it will put you into a position where your PharmD means more than the other 15,000 students who graduated with the same degree applying for the same positions.

As a P3, it’s not too late to start leveraging your position but the clock is ticking. Ideally, you’ve already begun to flesh out your network and developed your plan. However, if you haven’t; then it becomes even more important for you to utilize your resources within the school (i.e. faculty, staff, clubs, etc.) to accelerate your development. The goal I would recommend is to get to a point where you’re able to choose 4th year rotations with a purpose in mind of what you want to accomplish.

Lastly, for the current P4 students, if for some reason you’re still struggling putting things together; then the age-old rule of “It’s who you know, more than what you know” means even more in your case. Develop good relationships with your preceptors, reach out to alumni from the class before, and that can help bridge some of that gap. Pharmacy is evolving, hopefully the advice I gave will help prepare you to stay ahead of the curve.

Regards, Lawrence Uwaeke, PharmD Class of 2020

Summer Internship With the NCPA Organization
By Ganiat Asuni, Class Representative of 2022

A photo of Ganiat Asuni (PharmD '22), pharmacy class representative at the PCOM School of Pharmacy.I was super excited when I realized I will be moving to Arlington, VA for about two months of the summer but unfortunately COVID had it’s part to play. Gratefully, my internship wasn’t canceled rather it became a remote internship. I worked with lots of great pharmacists learned a lot about research, policy, and more about NCPA as an organization. It opened lots of doors for me to network with the pharmacist and the CEO of NCPA.

I decided to apply for a internship with NCPA because my friend from a different school told me it will help me see a different side of pharmacy. I was never in a office setting apart from the usual hospital, clinic, and retail setting. I also wanted to put my name out there. Starting my second year of pharmacy school, I started becoming unsure of the area of pharmacy I wanted to go into at that point I felt it will be a great opportunity to help me see another aspect of Pharmacy. My main goal, before pharmacy school was to start my own pharmacy. My internship opened lots of knowledge like finally knowing NCPA can help create a business plan for my business, look for business partners with same interest as me, and they have different seminars to help in the process of opening my pharmacy.

One of my best pharmacy experiences I have come across so far! I was on the NCPA E-board on campus last year and I told myself I will do something different during the summer as a student pharmacist. I love to challenge myself in anything I do and I never give up in anything I do. I was discouraged by few people because no one from PCOM ever got the summer internship. If you know me you know I love to prove people wrong and put in the work so I can make it.

I can’t wait to join the NCPA team at some point of my career after pharmacy school. My internship opened so many opportunities. I am thankful to the PCOM NCPA organization for opening doors for me to have such a thrilling experience. I encourage those who are interested in a Pharmacy ownership to apply to join NCPA and apply for their summer internship!

Also in the Fall 2020 Edition: