In honor of American Heart Month, we’re excited to share some information about the important role pharmacists play in cardiovascular health, as well as a peek behind-the-scenes at a day in the life of a cardiology pharmacist.
The Role of Pharmacists in Heart Health
Cardiology pharmacists play an important role in the heart health of their patients. They’re experts on medications designed for patients with, or at risk for, cardiovascular disease.
As such, they work as an integral part of a healthcare team and are involved in all aspects of cardiac care including heart transplants, artificial heart pumps, and anticoagulation (blood clot prevention).
A Day in the Life of a Cardiology Pharmacist
Now that you know a bit about cardiology pharmacy, we’re excited to introduce you to a working cardiology pharmacist. Meet Dr. Michael Gillette.
He was kind enough to answer our questions about his career in cardiology pharmacy and provide some advice to future pharmacists looking to pursue a similar pathway.
What makes your career path unique?
A career as a cardiology pharmacist is unique because it’s a highly progressive and evolving field. In cardiology, interdisciplinary knowledge and experience is valued; research techniques and topics are very advanced; the scope of practice is often flexible; and the ability to impact patient care is amongst the highest in the pharmacy field.
The field is always changing, and a big part of my role is staying up-to-date on all of it!
What does a typical work day look like for you?
My position can be overwhelming at times, but it’s also very rewarding. Each day, I work to find a balance between my many responsibilities.
While every day is different, a typical day usually involves patient care tasks, a focus on scholarly efforts and research, administrative functions, and teaching.
Describe the most rewarding day of your career.
I think that the most rewarding day of my career will probably be the day I retire.
I feel this way because I know I’ll be ending my time in pharmacy after a long, distinguished career. And, I’ll feel great knowing that I’ve provided optimal patient care and have contributed research that has positively impacted patient care in a lifelong way.
Describe the most challenging day of your career.
The most challenging day of my career thus far was my very first day after completing my post-graduate work.
On this day, I was finally on my own in a coronary care unit, where I was responsible for taking care of patients without any oversight. This was challenging because I felt less experienced than my prior mentors and preceptors, but knew I needed to get the job done. As time went on, my confidence grew.
What most attracted you to pharmacy over other healthcare professions?
Before pursuing this career path, I had a basic understanding that medication knowledge was rapidly expanding and evolving. And, because of this, professionals in this specialty area were in high demand. Additionally, I was aware that medical management with pharmacotherapy was a primary method for treating and managing patients.
I wanted a career that wasn’t very invasive, but was also specialized and valuable. Cardiology fit that bill!
What steps did you take to enter into this career path?
To enter my specific career path as a cardiology pharmacist, I first completed pharmacy school. After pharmacy school, I did one year of hospital practice residency. After my residency, I finished a two-year clinical research fellowship specializing in cardiology.
What advice would you give to future pharmacists?
My advice to pharmacy students would be to remember that pharmacy is unique and impactful but is also extremely competitive.
Also, I’d advise them not to be surprised if a transition from behind the traditional community pharmacy counter and into more into direct patient care areas is something that occurs.
Want to learn more about pharmacy careers?
We’re thankful to Dr. Gillette for his willingness to answer our questions about his career in cardiology pharmacy! If you’re interested in pursuing this career path, you can learn more about it here.
Don’t forget to explore our compilation of pharmacist bios for a peek behind-the-scenes with pharmacists in other career specialties, as well!