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Students in pharmacy lab

Undergraduate Students Tackle Pre-Pharmacy Boot Camp

What better way to decide on a career in pharmacy than by spending a day immersed in the field?

Undergraduate students from near and far visited Northeast Ohio Medical University for the College of Pharmacy’s inaugural Pre-Pharmacy Boot Camp, held Saturday, Nov. 10.

From NEOMED student and career panels to hands-on sessions learning to compound lip balms and measure a patient’s vital signs, the undergraduates got a glimpse of the many different lives a pharmacist may lead, depending on the path they choose.

Many career paths in the field

Ten local pharmacists, all with different backgrounds and career paths, joined students to explain the wide-ranging possibilities within the pharmacy field.

Representatives included pharmacists completing residencies, hospital pharmacists, transition of care pharmacists, independent pharmacists, emergency medicine pharmacists and pediatric pharmacists.

Not all of the titles were self-explanatory — all the more reason for this session. For example, Alexandra Dimit, Pharm.D., an assistant professor of pharmacy practice, explained what is meant by the category ‘’transition of care pharmacy.’’

The idea is to provide continuity for the patient when they go from one care setting to another. “Pharmacists have been doing transition of care for a while; they’re just finally putting a name to it. There are a lot of medication errors between moving hospitals and sending patients home, so as pharmacists, our goal is to make that transition smoother,” said Dr. Dimit.

Carving out yet another couple of career choices were recent graduates Taylor Engelhart, Pharm.D. (’18), and Rebecca Berg, Pharm.D. (’18). Now residents, they split their time between treating underserved patients at AxessPointe Community Health Center – a Federally Qualified Health Center — and serving as clinical instructors of pharmacy practice at NEOMED.

It’ll all be worth it

Who better to relate to undergraduate students than those who were in their shoes a few years ago?

A group of first- through fourth-year College of Pharmacy students reflected on their experiences through pharmacy school so far.

The program has its challenges, but those difficulties are matched by many rewarding moments, they agreed.

“It was very telling the first time when I had a patient look at me and say, ‘Thank you,’” said David Hudoba, a fourth-year College of Pharmacy student.

Take it from us

The students left their mentees with several pieces of advice, some of it going beyond pharmacy school.

“Find things you enjoy. Don’t just focus on applying and getting into pharmacy school,” says Lauren Mills, a fourth-year College of Pharmacy student.

First-year College of Pharmacy student Raneem Alayoubi encouraged students: “Believe in yourself – even if your grades don’t reflect who you are. That’s what the interview and admission process is for. You are all good enough.”