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Amy Holmes – Pediatric Pharmacist

What makes your career path unique?

I was always interested in pharmacy, but I was a bit confused about some of the prerequisite requirements. Specifically, I didn’t want to commit to many years in pharmacy school and I definitely didn’t want to take Latin classes!

Ultimately, I realized that being in school was something that I enjoyed, so the extra years were no longer an issue. And, after doing a bit of research about the real pharmacy school prerequisites, I found out I didn’t have to take Latin! So, I decided to pursue a career in pharmacy!

As an older pharmacist, I was able to graduate with a Bachelor of Science in pharmacy and go to work right away. After working for about a year, I went back to school at night to obtain my Doctor of Pharmacy degree through a nontraditional program.

I’ve spent most of my career working in hospital pharmacy, but I have done other things along the way including working for Costco as their pharmacist in two different warehouses. I was able to open both warehouses which was a very neat experience.

I was several years into my career before I specialized, which is another unique aspect of my journey.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

One thing I love about pharmacy is that every day has the potential to be different. This makes it hard to define a typical workday.

I do usually spend several hours in the morning rounding with the medical team in the neonatal intensive care unit, where I monitor drug therapy and make recommendations to improve medication regimens.

I also answer drug information questions throughout the day from other pharmacists, doctors, nurses, lactation consultants, social workers, or anyone else involved in the care of babies.

I have projects that I work on in the afternoons, like creating or updating policies or order sets. And, lastly, education is a big part of my job—whether that’s educating other health care professionals on new drugs (or new uses for old drugs) or educating pharmacy students and residents.

Describe the most rewarding day of your career.

My most rewarding days are typically the ones where I have made a significant catch or a recommendation that I know has had an impact on the well-being of a patient.

The sense of accomplishment that comes from knowing that I’ve made someone’s life better because of something I’ve done makes up for all of the challenging days!

Describe the most challenging day of your career.

The days that are the most challenging in my career are typically those that involve dealing with internal resistance to recommendations. Sometimes in these scenarios, responses from health care professionals can be rude or short. But, I’m happy to see that this happens less often now because health care has begun to emphasize a more interprofessional approach.

Additionally, it’s always a very challenging day when dealing with the loss of a patient that I’ve cared for directly.

What most attracted you to pharmacy over other healthcare professions?

How medications work has always been very fascinating to me. It’s powerful to think about how taking a tiny tablet by mouth can help to fix a problem in some other part of the body.

As I learned more about the profession, I saw what a valuable role I could play as part of the health care team using that specialized knowledge about medications.

What steps did you take to enter into this career path?

I worked as a pharmacy technician before I was accepted into pharmacy school. This was a great way for me to learn more about the profession and to gain experience, as well.

What advice would you give to a student entering pharmacy school?

Pharmacy is a career that requires life-long learning. I try not to think about pharmacy school as a set number of years of training before being finished. Instead, I focus on the mindset that there will always be more to learn. My advice would be to adapt this mindset.

Also, it’s important to remember that pharmacy is a career focused on caring for patients. Even if you don’t speak to a patient directly, the care you provide will impact them directly. Don’t ever lose that focus!