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Patricia Kienle – Hospital Pharmacist

Patricia Kienle
What makes your career path unique?

While I was a student, I worked in a community pharmacy in my hometown. After graduation from pharmacy school, I worked in a hospital pharmacy setting. My career grew from there—as a staff pharmacist, inpatient manager, assistant director of pharmacy, director of pharmacy, and then a system director of pharmacy.

As my career advanced, I became involved in local, state, and national pharmacy organizations, which put me in touch with other pharmacy leaders. I then took a position at a pharmacy management company in a new medication safety role. I’m now with the same company, Cardinal Health, as director of accreditation and medication safety.

What does a typical workday look like for you?

There is no typical day in my career! That said, my time is usually split among traveling to health-system sites to help them comply with regulatory and accreditation standards, writing, presenting talks to professional pharmacy and other medical societies, and working with national standard-setting organizations such as USP.

One thing is for certain, though—I spend a great deal of time traveling. In fact, I travel almost every week to at least one site.

Describe the most rewarding day of your career.

When I think of rewarding days in my career, there are two that stick out in my memory. The first was when I coordinated pharmacy services during a disaster which involved evacuation of a city and surrounding areas. The second was when I presented testimony to Congress concerning health care.

Those days were hugely prominent in my career, but I truly love every day of my work. I’ve always had the opportunity to work with people who challenge the norm and have patients’ needs in mind. I see that as very rewarding!

Describe the most challenging day of your career.

The most challenging days in my career are typically when I must deal with an employee who is facing a difficult personal situation.

To be successful in a career like mine, you need experience, knowledge, and a way to work the system. These skills are only gained by earning trust from the people you work with.

What most attracted you to pharmacy over other healthcare professions?

The hometown community pharmacist seemed to be well-thought of by everyone in town. A job that was well-respected was attractive to me.

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

Throughout my career, I’ve worked my way up the administrative ladder. This has occurred because I was always willing to accept challenging roles in the health-system. These continuous advancements and experiences have landed me in the position I am in today.

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

My advice for students entering pharmacy school is to ensure that their science backgrounds are solid, of course. But, to also remember that pharmacy is a “people” profession.

To be successful in the field, they’ll need to be able to communicate well and meld their science knowledge with people skills.