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Why I Chose to Become a Pharmacist

Meet your Pharmacist, Deanna McDanel, PharmD, BCPS, BCACP! Dr. McDanel is an Ambulatory Care Clinical Specialist and Clinical Associate Professor. We spoke with her to better understand, why become a pharmacist?

Why pharmacy?

I chose pharmacy because my grandmother was ill when I was growing up. I was a teenager when she suffered her last debilitating stroke. When she was moved from her apartment into the nursing home, we uncovered she had a shoebox full of medications. At that time, I wanted to be able to help other patients like her by knowing everything about these medications—I made it my personal dedication. Thus, the field of pharmacy was a perfect fit for me as I was able to gain this knowledge, provide direct patient care, and become the first in my family to practice in healthcare.

What type of pharmacist are you and what makes your career path unique?

I am an Ambulatory Care Clinical Pharmacy Specialist and a Clinical Associate Professor. Having a joint funded faculty and specialist position allows me to actively practice within patient care, while also allowing me to bring this knowledge and training back to my teaching at the collegiate level. I also have been afforded the opportunity to become a Residency Program Director for a PGY2 Ambulatory Care Residency.

What does your work/life balance look like?

Having a joint funded position does take extra time and effort and is never a 100% effort. However, I signed up for this type of position and would never change it for the world.

What do you love most about your job?

I love gaining relationships with patients and seeing the success of our interventions. I also have a passion for teaching and giving back to the profession, all of which I get to do in my current career.

Describe the most rewarding day of your career.

In general, having a patient thank me for something I did for them or when I see the progression and success of a resident or student I have been working with.

What most attracted you to pharmacy over other healthcare professions?

Honestly, I think it was just seeing how respected pharmacists are by patients. In healthcare, all disciplines are involved in direct patient care, but pharmacists have a true devotion to the safe and effective treatment for optimal outcomes of the patient.  

What do you wish someone told you in high school or college, as it pertains to your career?

Pharmacy is not just “counting by fives”! There are hundreds of career paths within pharmacy and thus whatever you want to do, you can do it!

What’s the best advice you were given as it pertains to your career?

Take every opportunity you are given and jump in, never looking back.

What do you believe to be the biggest misconception about the field of pharmacy and how have you worked around it?

That there is only one type of pharmacist. I work around this by taking the best care of my patients every day. Not a week goes by without a patient being surprised by seeing a pharmacist in a clinical setting. However, at the end of the appointment, I can tell I’ve completely changed their perception of what a clinical pharmacist can do for them. When they tell me how grateful they are, it solidifies that I made the right choice in my career!

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