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Michael Gillette – Cardiology Pharmacist

What makes your career path unique?

A career as a cardiology pharmacist is unique because it is 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.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

My position can be overwhelming at times, but it is also very rewarding. Each day, I work to find a balance between my many responsibilities, which include patient care, scholarly/research, administration, 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. This is because I will be ending my time in pharmacy after a long, distinguished career knowing that I’ve provided optimal patient care and have contributed research that has positively impacted patient care in a life-long 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 on my own 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.

What most attracted you to pharmacy over other healthcare professions?

I knew that medication knowledge was rapidly expanding and evolving, which caused this specialty to be in high demand. And, I was also aware that medical management with pharmacotherapy was a primary method for treating and managing patients. I wanted a career that was not very invasive, but that 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, I completed pharmacy school and then did one year of hospital practice residency. This was followed by a two-year clinical research fellowship specializing in cardiology.

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

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.