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Nancy Rodriguez – Geriatric Pharmacist

Nancy Rodriguez
What makes your career path unique?

My career path is unique in that I first began my practice as a clinical pharmacist in a pediatric setting. At the same time, I also worked part-time as a retail pharmacist in a Hispanic community, where I filled prescriptions in Spanish.

Throughout my career, I’ve also had the opportunity to work as a home infusion pharmacist and in administrative pharmacy. But, after being introduced to consulting pharmacy by a friend who needed assistance with his new business venture in a long-term care pharmacy setting, this style of pharmacy quickly became my passion.

I now own a pharmacy consulting business where I provide my clinical expertise to nursing homes and assisted living facilities. In addition to my pharmacy consulting business, I also work as an assistant professor. In this capacity, I provide future pharmacists with exposure to consulting pharmacy as a possible career path.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

My typical day is very busy! I normally start by answering emails and phone calls from peers and pharmacy students.

After this administrative portion of my day, I take pharmacy students to different nursing home sites and introduce them to what their roles would be as consultant pharmacists. Through this process, they learn how to review medication lists, medical history, and medical data to provide recommendations to clinical staff to optimize therapeutic goals for each older adult.

I end a typical day by completing physical inspections and/or providing education to clinical staff.

Describe the most rewarding day of your career.

There have been many rewarding days throughout my career, but there’s one that stands out to me.

One day, I sat down next to a 91-year-old nursing home resident who seemed distraught and depressed. After talking to her about many things, she mentioned that she had not been sleeping well for several weeks. She complained about having to get up in the middle of the night with assistance to go to the bathroom, and said she wasn’t able to get back to sleep after.

After our conversation, I reviewed her chart and made several recommendations to change her medication regimen.

One month later, I came back to see the same resident. She was smiling and happy to see me. She gave me a huge hug and thanked me for encouraging her physician to change her medications. She was now sleeping through the night.

While this change was minor, the impact on the resident was huge. I feel blessed to have the expertise to make this happen!

Describe the most challenging day of your career.

The most challenging day of my career occurred when I discovered a change in a resident’s medical condition. As a result of this change, I recommended that the physician adjust the patient’s medication regimen. The physician didn’t agree. And, ultimately, the resident’s condition became worse.

While this was frustrating and disheartening, it was also a learning experience. It forced me to think of a creative way to get my point across and solve the problem.

What most attracted you to pharmacy over other healthcare professions?

Pharmacy is a career where you become a patient advocate; especially when it comes to patients that are older adults.

There is an art in being able to communicate with your patient, listen to their needs, be empathetic, and then provide helpful solutions and advice that the patient will adhere to.

These are the things that attracted me to pharmacy.

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

Throughout my career, I’ve established a rapport with my peers as a responsible, timely, and caring clinician. Additionally, I’ve been lucky enough to attend several conferences that have allowed me to keep up with the ever-changing therapeutic treatments and goals of many disease states. And finally, I’ve networked and sought assistance from my colleagues when necessary to enhance my career.

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

My advice to students entering pharmacy school is to pursue their passions as they relate to pharmacy. There are many different roles available to a pharmacist today, but finding your passion is the most important.

Pharmacy can be a stressful career. We work long hours and face challenging situations. But, if you love what you do, you won’t mind doing it each and every day!