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Why I Chose Pharmacy: How This Student is Making the Transition from Pharmacy Technician to Pharmacist

How This Student is Making the Transition from Pharmacy Technician to Pharmacist

We’re excited to introduce you to Nicolle Silverstein! Nicolle is a third-year student pharmacist at West Coast University in Los Angeles, California. 

A cashier job at her local pharmacy introduced Nicolle to the field of pharmacy. After realizing her passion, she worked hard to become a pharmacy technician. Now, she’s well on her way to earning her PharmD! Here’s her story.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in pharmacy?

I chose to pursue a career in pharmacy because I’ve always admired the important work pharmacists do—from catching dangerous drug interactions to counseling patients on the correct way to take their medications.

Additionally, with new drugs and pharmaceutical interventions coming to the market every day, I knew it would be a very promising career path! I find learning about these new drugs and interventions to be fascinating, and it’s very rewarding to be the person that educates patients on their uses so they can meet their health goals.

What did your pathway to pharmacy school look like?

My desire to become a pharmacist began when I was working at CVS Pharmacy at just sixteen years old. In this work setting, I had a behind-the-scenes look at the work pharmacists do each day. I realized that a career in the field was my passion and made it my mission to become a pharmacist.

So, I worked hard to climb the ranks at CVS. I started as a cashier, then was promoted to shift supervisor. After that, I earned my Pharmacy Technician’s license so I would be able to work in the pharmacy and eventually became an inventory specialist in the pharmacy. Now, as I complete pharmacy school, I am working as a pharmacist intern.

How did you choose your school of pharmacy?

I chose to pursue my PharmD degree at West Coast University because their pharmacy program was very dynamic and they placed an emphasis on experiential curriculum.

At West Coast University, student pharmacists are always given ample opportunities to serve our communities through various outreach events and rotation sites. This means that I’ve been able to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom to real patient situations, which makes me feel very prepared to take on my future career as a pharmacist.

Did you have any mentors that helped you as you explored possible career paths?

During my time at CVS, I’ve had the opportunity to work with pharmacists who became wonderful mentors. They’ve helped me to realize I have what it takes to be a pharmacist in the future and have given me great examples of efficient communication between doctors and patients.

In addition to my mentors at CVS, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet and work with amazing preceptors through my PharmD program at West Coast University. These preceptors have shown me what it’s like to work in a variety of unique pharmacy career settings like home-infusion pharmacy, ICU hospital pharmacy, and more!

Every experience with my pharmacy mentors from both CVS and my rotation sites has demonstrated how versatile the role of a pharmacist can be in patient care.

What’s your favorite part of pharmacy school?

My favorite part of pharmacy school is being given the opportunity to apply my what I’ve learned as a student pharmacist to real-life situations.

Through my work as a community pharmacist intern, I’ve had the chance to counsel patients on safe and effective medication use, catch dangerous drug interactions, consult with doctors on changing a therapy that may be more beneficial to a patient, monitor patients’ adherence to their drug therapies, and much more. All of this is very rewarding!

What do you find most challenging about pharmacy school?

The most challenging part about pharmacy school is staying on top of current disease guidelines and standards of care. The pharmaceutical industry is always changing and improving for the better and it’s imperative that pharmacists and future pharmacists stay on top of new guidelines and recommendation protocols.

As I graduate pharmacy school in the next year, I know my education will not end. Being a pharmacist requires you to be a lifelong student and accept a lifelong obligation to improve both professional knowledge and competence.

What advice would you give to students interested in attending pharmacy school?

My advice for students interested in attending pharmacy school would be to shadow pharmacists working in different career settings, such as community pharmacy or hospital pharmacy.

You can do this by reaching out to people in the field or by becoming a pharmacy technician. I believe it’s best to experience working in the pharmacy environment to see if the industry is something you’d enjoy before making any major decisions.

Want to read more student pharmacist stories?

Nicolle’s story about her pathway to pharmacy is so inspiring! If you enjoyed this post, you might also enjoy these student pharmacist stories:

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