James Ferrell can point to the time when it seemed that he had to choose between a career in pharmacy or biomedical sciences. Spoiler alert: Even though he first chose the biomedical science route, Ferrell eventually returned to pharmacy, but he didn’t give up on his other pursuits. Since enrolling in the College of Pharmacy at Northeast Ohio Medical University, Ferrell has found a way to explore all of his wide-ranging interests — from infectious disease to long-term disease management – within the field of pharmacy.
Now, as a rising fourth-year College of Pharmacy student, Ferrell is looking forward to his month-long Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience (APPE) rotations, especially his first rotation in ambulatory care and an upcoming rotation that will focus on the endocrine system and diabetes management.
Ambulatory care has been a point of interest for Ferrell throughout his training at NEOMED. It involves patients that aren’t exactly sick enough to be admitted to the hospital, but struggle with heart failure, diabetes, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and so on.
“Treating patients who have diabetes combined with heart failure is one of my main interests,” says Ferrell. “Heart failure, diabetes and even kidney function — they’re all kind of linked together. There can be long-term problems for patients if those disease states are not managed appropriately. Many times patients can have one if not all of those issues at the same time. “I believe that providers can really help improve these patients’ heart function, and in return their kidneys, to where they can have a longer, healthier life.”
He credits two special faculty members — Patrick Gallegos, Pharm.D., and John Moorman, Pharm.D., both associate professors of pharmacy practice – with building his interest in these specialties.
Ferrell noted, “Both teachers really gave me a lot of valuable information in class and made the material interesting. They’re both part of the reason why I picked their locations for some of my APPE rotations.”
Even though he admires the two, Ferrell is expecting to be challenged during the rotations so he can see if those areas are truly what he wants to make a career of. “I want to be the best pharmacist that I can be,” he noted.
As he looks forward, Ferrell has also taken time to reflect back on the past three years at NEOMED. Speaking from experience, he encourages rising College of Pharmacy students to stay steady.
“The third year is challenging. Never get too high or too low, because there’s always something else to learn or a different way to look at something. With all of the information out there, it can seem daunting, but don’t let it overwhelm you. If you have a tough day or something seems difficult, keep it in perspective. Focus on how to be better the next time. Always feel like you can lean back for help from anybody — whether it’s your peers, Student Services, or the Center for Student Wellness and Counseling.”
“I was fortunate to have a terrific group of friends and mentors along the way who continue to inspire and encourage me to do my best.”