Meet two alumni of Touro College of Pharmacy, Emmanuel Knight, PharmD, BCPS, BCGP, and Lendelle Raymond, PharmD, MS, BCIDP. Dive into what they do for work and what they gained from attending pharmacy school.
How did you become interested in a career in pharmacy?
Emmanuel Knight: I was always curious about how medications work, but it wasn’t until I worked at a neighborhood grocery store as a teenager that I considered a career in pharmacy. While working the register one day, I learned that the pharmacy department in the store was short-staffed and looking for volunteers to help with pharmacy technician duties. I agreed to help, and that opportunity ended up being life-changing. I was fascinated by the complexities of the medications, the expertise of the pharmacists, and the interactions the pharmacy staff had with patients. Now, I can’t imagine doing anything else as a career.
Lendelle Raymond: Initially, I was on the path to obtaining my PhD in Medicinal Chemistry. I graduated from Adelphi University with a BS in Biochemistry and went on to graduate school at St. John’s University, where I obtained an MS in Medicinal Chemistry. The plan was to continue for my PhD, but I decided to volunteer in the pharmacy department at my local hospital, NYU Winthrop. I really enjoyed my time there. It was a great opportunity to help my community while also learning all about the pharmacy world. I decided to pursue the PharmD route mainly because it had all the components of a career that I sought, including research, clinical practice, and teaching.
What is your current position, and can you describe a day in your life on the job?
Emmanuel Knight: I am a Geriatric Clinical Pharmacist at UCLA Medical Center, which was recently ranked the #1 hospital in California and the #4 hospital in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. My typical day includes attending patient care rounds for the hospital’s geriatric service, providing medication recommendations to the care team, verifying medication orders, performing pharmacy-driven dosing and monitoring protocols, ensuring appropriate medication-related transitions of care on admission and discharge, and attending committee meetings.
Lendelle Raymond: I am an infectious disease and antimicrobial stewardship clinical pharmacist at BronxCare Health System. My day usually begins by replying to any urgent emails related to antimicrobials. Then, I use our clinical decision support system to run reports for positive cultures of discharged patients and review them to assess whether the patients received the appropriate antibiotic, dose, and the frequency, and duration. If there are any issues, I ensure that a physician will follow up with the appropriate antimicrobial. After running these reports, I start auditing selected antimicrobial agents. I review patients’ charts to assess the appropriateness of their antimicrobial therapy. Then, I go to the floors or units for stewardship “handshake” rounds, providing feedback or recommendations to optimize antimicrobial use in face-to-face meetings with the doctors. That is the bulk of my day, but I could be working on infectious diseases order-sets any day of the week, attending meetings, tracking and reporting outcomes stewardship data, reviewing resistant pathogen culture and susceptibility result alerts with the lab, and assessing those patients for appropriate therapy. I also precept both PGY-2 and PGY-1 residents on Infectious Diseases/Antimicrobial Stewardship rotations and sometimes pharmacy students.
What are some of the challenges, and what do you like about them?
Emmanuel Knight: Some of the challenges include determining how to provide the best patient care with, at times, limited resources. Other examples include finding appropriate therapy alternatives during drug shortages, expanding clinical pharmacy services with limited pharmacy staff, and ensuring the communication between the entire care team is effective. These challenges help keep things exciting, though, and there’s never a dull day.
Lendelle Raymond: Infectious disease is an ever-evolving field, so you have to keep up with the literature, especially in this age of so many types of resistant pathogens. I like it because of that and because it’s a field that crosses all other disciplines. This keeps the cases interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever had a dull day at my job; there’s always something to do and learn or something interesting to review. Some of the challenges we face in the world of infectious diseases include worldwide emerging and reemerging infections that continue to threaten prevention and control strategies, and of course, the growing problem of antimicrobial resistance, which demands constant and urgent action.
How did pharmacy school prepare you for your professional role?
Emmanuel Knight: TCOP taught me the value of planning effectively while adapting to changes that may occur. Also, each professor and preceptor had their own unique teaching style, which offered many opportunities to interact with different professionals, enhancing my abilities to perform as part of a team.
Lendelle Raymond: TCOP prepared me for my professional role by offering a variety of rotations. Through these experiences, I learned key skills, including communication, leadership, and research skills. Many of my professors were my preceptors off-site for these rotations, and they helped enhance my skills by providing dedicated time and effort into each learning experience.