Environment, they say, contributes to influence how people behave and consequently how they are motivated to act. I grew up with a passion for health care, attributed largely to my uncle who is a very successful surgeon in the United Kingdom. Growing up as a child and seeing how my uncle cared and empathized for the sick, it was not long before the passion for healthcare caught up with me before my teen years. To this day, the compassion and empathy for the sick still burns in me. To further increase my appetite for healthcare, this renown UK surgeon would always engage me, during my visits, in stimulating discussions about how enriching it was to be a team member in the healthcare. Apart from financial rewards, it was particularly about how much of a fulfilling opportunity it was to be able to impact the lives of patients by helping them get through different health challenges.
Over the years, this childhood passion has grown so much, that, right now, I am greatly inspired in what looks like an unquenchable thirst to explore my full potential, through a career in the health sector. However, my desire to become a pharmacist was not birthed until the period I volunteered at Grady Hospital, Atlanta during my freshman year in college as a biology major. The first-hand encounter with a pharmacist at Grady Hospital made me realize that a pharmacist is an indispensable resource in the healthcare industry. So as it stands today, I will really feel fulfilled when listed as a practitioner in my chosen healthcare field of Pharmacy.
During my four-year pursuit as an undergraduate at Georgia State University, Atlanta, I secured a job as a pharmacy technician at CVS Pharmacy just to keep my pharmacy appetite wet. My work as a pharmacy technician allowed me to observe many of the core aspects of my envisaged career in pharmacy. Having made my intentions known to the attending pharmacists, I was always fully engaged in filling prescriptions quickly and accurately, verifying prescription information, and dosage. Other key aspects learned were the importance of patient confidentiality, strong interpersonal skills to ensure an efficient/effective communication with patients, administration of different drugs, and discussions of possible side effects. The importance of being a team player, showing understanding and empathy while interacting with patients etc. also came into play during my CVS Pharmacy work experience.
Furthermore, I garnered leadership experience during my leadership roles in two Pre-healthcare clubs on the university campus. My role as the director of communications of the Pre-Pharmacy Professional Society (PPPS) at Georgia State University afforded me the opportunity to interact directly with students who were already in various pharmacy schools and as well as some staff members and administrators. There were also great opportunities to tap into the enthusiasm of invited guest speakers for the pharmacy panels and informative sessions during those organized meetings. Having played these roles successfully, I’m convinced of my possession of requisite quality and nature needed to succeed in the pharmacy program of any institution. At the same time, my undergraduate classes (Organic Chemistry, Immunology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Microbiology, Public health, etc.) have also equipped me with a clear understanding of the biological and chemical make-up of the human body, synthesis of different drugs, and the many processes occurring continually in humans. This will help my understanding of medication administration and the various side and adverse effects to share with my patients when I become a pharmacist.
Upon the completion of my biology degree, I got a job as a laboratory associate in the molecular biology department at Q2 Solutions – a leading global clinical trials laboratory services organization in Atlanta. Part of Q2 Solutions’ clientele are biopharmaceutical companies such as Pfizer, GSK, Fibrogen, etc. My role as a lab associate offered a good look into the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and regulatory guidelines for these biopharmaceutical companies. Currently, I work as an assistant scientist in the immunoassay department at Q2 Solutions, where I have a great opportunity to build on essential skills such as good laboratory practices (GLP), good clinical practices (GCP), excellent documentation, and organizational skills. My role as a scientist involves testing out experimental drugs that are being used on patients in various clinical trials. I’m fully involved in immunogenicity tests conducted using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Meso Scale Discovery (MSD) in Pharmacokinetics (PK) assays, Anti-drug antibody assays (ADA), neutralizing antibody assays (Nab), and several other platforms. I also get educated on the different manufacturing processes, which common medications like Aspirin and Ibuprofen have to undergo before being made available for public consumption. This experience has further strengthened my resolve to pursue a career in pharmacy.
My ultimate goal is to be a clinical pharmacist. I relish the opportunity to engage in a dynamic and stimulating career like pharmacy in order to apply clinical skills in dosing medications based on pharmacokinetics, co-occurring medical conditions, side/adverse effects of medications, as well as patient discharge counseling. My special focus as a clinical pharmacist will be on issues relating to antibiotic resistance, child obesity, and substance abuse in our community. While I understand how rapidly expanding the field of pharmacy is, I aim to continue to strive for deeper continuous learning to remain a competent practitioner, to improve the value of the profession through involvement in State and national organizations, and to be an advocate that will better the lot of the sick in our society.