I currently work as a coverage pharmacist for an oncology group, which has in house pharmacies in their clinics all over the state of Texas. I do travel a lot for work, which makes it hard for my social life. But, I love the perks that come with the traveling, I meet with interesting new people at each site that I cover, and I have learned so many new techniques and information at each site. I really do love my job.

I have been asked to take over a site, and stop traveling. I would be in charge of that pharmacy. It would get me off the road, which will improve my social life (supposedly), and I can have a normal routine. However, I would give up the travel perks (goodbye, points, and elite status!)

As a coverage pharmacist, all I had to do was complete the duties of a pharmacist, not of a manager. I was basically there to keep the pharmacy doors open. I didn’t have (as many) responsibilities as a manager.

Deep down, I am scared of taking this position. I would be the pharmacy manager. I would be supervising technicians, and make sure the pharmacy follows all the rules and regulations. I had to organize and make sure all the paperwork was in check. If anything wrong happens at the pharmacy, it would be on me. Would I be able to do all that?

My regional managers all think I would do well at the site they want me to take over, but yes, I do have a lot of self doubt. I’m sure many of you have the same self doubt when given a new opportunity, whether it is a promotion with your current employer, or something new altogether. Tell me, what did you do when you had a new opportunity come your way?

 

 

Heartfelt Thank You

So many people have reached out to me, or shared my story about life in pharmacy school. Words cannot describe how wonderful I feel. I really hope that my story inspired pharmacy students and new pharmacists, as well as those practicing for a while, to speak up about the trials and tribulations that they are going through. And if needed, seek help.

Mental health is still a strong social stigma in today’s society, especially in the healthcare field. We always have to do more, with less. It is very easy to get overwhelmed, and feel like you’re drowning. I didn’t get the help I needed while in pharmacy school, and it is tough for friends and family to fully understand what depression is like, unless they have gone through it themselves. But, just reaching out to someone will guide anyone who needs help to the person that CAN help them.

I am available to share more of my story, and give guidance if I can. Until then, I will keep encouraging everyone to share their stories with me.

Thank you again.

Two Lives Intertwined

Last weekend I went on a date with a guy that I thought was cool. He was attentive, and seemed to really be into me. He had just moved to my town, and is here on a long term assignment. Well, he had told me he had never been married, and since he hadn’t given me a reason to suspect him, I believed him. While I was on my walk with my friend’s dog, he called and told me that he lied and that he was married, but he hasn’t been with his wife for 3 years. We have mutual friends and acquaintances. It turns out that he had told that that he was married, and no interest in meeting anyone other than as friends.  When my friends told me that he had told them he was married, I blocked him from all forms of contact. It had confirmed my suspicions about him. He seemed like a classic cheater, blaming me for his behavior, and not remembering which lies he told.

I bring this up on my pharmacy blog, because what he did affected my mood, and my work professionally. I wasn’t as attentive as I should have been, I was constantly looking at my phone, waiting for a response from him, even though I wouldn’t get one since I had blocked him. I wasn’t as cheery as I was before. But in the end, whatever happened with this guy didn’t matter. I had a job to do, I had patients to take care of, and I had technicians, nurses and physicians counting on me to be the pharmacist. My problems with this guy had nothing to do with my job, and no one in the pharmacy or clinic cared.

We all have good days and bad days. Our personal and professional lives are linked, and often one will leak into the other. Whenever we are going through something difficult in our personal lives, it comes out in our professional lives. I was lied to and betrayed by this guy, and so I had my guard up at work. I wasn’t as open and friendly as before. have a coworker who feels like she has no control in her marriage, so she micromanages at work. It isn’t just the negative feelings that cross over into our professional lives; our positive feelings cross over as well. When I was first asked by this guy, before knowing his marital status, I was giddy like a teenage girl, and everyone at work saw it. Whenever my favorite technician told me she got into pharmacy school, her excitement was contagious. Everyone in the clinic was as excited as she was, and we all wanted her to succeed in school.

The opposite is also true. Whatever happens at work leaks into our personal life. Whenever we are frustrated or stressed at work, it seeps into our personal lives. Sometimes we take it out on our loved ones; sometimes we just hide in our own shells (this is what I do. I become a social hermit). Sometimes we drink more than we should.

In the end, we can control only so much that goes on in our lives, either professionally or personally. However, we can control what we allow in our other lives. However, this is very hard to do. And it is unhealthy to compartmentalize and shut down our feelings. So, what can we do? For starters, we can minimize our negative emotions. When I realized that I deserve better than that lying cheater, it was easier for me to get a better grip on my emotions. Then I was able to focus on the patients and the pharmacy. It also helped that I felt love and gratitude from everyone in the clinic. Whenever I’m frustrated with work, I exercise or go for a walk (although it has been harder to do this summer, with the temps being over 100). I have my friend’s dog Gri to help me as well. She loves me, and allows me to take her to the nature preserve near her house. Friends are great diffusers, both animal and human.

This weekend, I’m going to forget about the lying cheater, and make new, happy memories with people that love and respect me. And of course, get lots of hugs and kisses from this girl.

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I know she will never lie to me, or cheat on me 🙂

Grateful for My … Failures?

Over my 10 year pharmacy career (thank you Facebook for the lovely reminder), I have had a lot of failures. Anyone who has seen my LinkedIn profile knows I have held A LOT of positions over the last 10 years (coming up on 2 years in my latest position). I knew I wasn’t the right fit in those positions, yet I kept trying …. and kept failing.

In my spiritual center, we are taught to be grateful, even for our mistakes and failures. And even though I had thought that each nonlasting position was a failure, I realized that each position was just a stepping stone to further my career. I have learned so many skills at each position, as well as made lifelong friends (as well as enemies) along the way. Many of them have helped get to the next position.

Walgreens taught me how grueling retail pharmacy can be. It gave me a better understanding about how insurances and PBMs (pharmacy benefit managers) work, how to deal with irate patients and frustrated coworkers. I learned conflict resolution at Walgreens; and no, I DON’T give gift cards. Through my mistakes made at Walgreens, I learned that accuracy is WAY more important than speed, to check ALL DUR (drug utilization review) and drug-drug interactions, and how to look up information for the vast amount of dietary supplements out there (“how could it be harmful to me? it’s natural!” Yes, but so it is poison ivy)

My time in West Texas taught me how much I hate sand storms! But that was my first real hospital experience. I learned how to handle NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) orders, CCU (cardiac care unit) and ICU (intensive care unit) orders, how to look at antibiotics and be a part of the stewardship, how to interpret labs and which are clinically significant vs statistically significant, and the flow of hospital pharmacy. I had a clinical coordinator that treated me more like a student than a licensed pharmacist, but even though I hated her at the time, right now I am truly grateful.  I gave presentations in front of other pharmacists, which I hated at the time. It gave me the confidence to speak in front of small crowds and other healthcare professionals. I also learned how to look up different information for physicians, and how to present case studies.

My time in Sherman (North Texas) taught me that racism and discrimination is alive and well. Although most of the pharmacy was happy that I was there, there were a few that didn’t like that I was the only non-white and non-Christian person in the entire pharmacy department. I was able to enhance my clinical skills with the antibiotic dosing, and I got my first taste of oncology pharmacy. Even though my time there was miserable because of the blatant discrimination I experienced there, I did have the greatest pleasure of meeting my close friend and mentor, JS. She is the one who got me the position that I hold currently.

My time at CMC has definitely opened my eyes to a new field of pharmacy. I had never worked in the ICU full time before, let alone dealing with children in the ICU. Most people found find this extremely scary, and I was also extremely scared when I first started. Pediatric pharmacy was incredibly different from what I was used to practicing. But, I learned how to be calm during a code situation, which has helped me calm during high stress environments. I can work more comfortably with pediatric patients, especially in my current position. I realized that no matter how much I did, or how many extra shifts I took, it will never be enough to satisfy my coworkers. In that case, I just realized that I need to do what’s best for ME and my body, which was to leave. It broke my heart to do so, as I thoroughly enjoyed working there.

Currently I work as a coverage pharmacist for an oncology group. I travel all over the state. I have learned different management styles, different ways of doing the same thing (which can be extremely difficult to remember as a coverage pharmacist), how to deal with different personalities, and of course, the world of oncology. There are so many components to oncology pharmacy; and we hit on almost every other medical specialties as well. Yes, it does suck to be away from home, and I feel like I miss out on having a social life (which is very important when you’re single like me), but I have met so many fantastic people in many areas of the state. I also got to see different parks, attractions, cities, etc that most people in Texas have not experienced. I love what I do.

I would have called those previous positions failures in my life, mainly because I couldn’t keep the positions long enough. However, looking back, I am so grateful for those opportunities, as I would not have been the amazing pharmacist that I am today. Sometimes you just have to look back and say, THANK YOU.

So, my challenge for you is to find 5 things that you are grateful for in your current position. If you do not have a position, find 3 things that you are grateful for because you don’t have a current position. And … GO!