Blog Pharmacy Pharmacy careers

A Day in the Life of an Ambulatory Care Clinical Pharmacist

We’re pleased to introduce you to Laura Challen, PharmD, MBA, BCPS, BCACP!

She’s an assistant professor of pharmacy follow at St. Louis School of Pharmacy, as well as a medical pharmacist at Mercy JFK Clinic at Mercy Hospital in St. Louis.

Read on to study more about how Dr. Challen received involved in the pharmacy business, what a typical day in her life as each an ambulatory care pharmacist and an assistant professor appears like, and her advice for pharmacy students like you!

Why pharmacy?

In highschool, I took a career aptitude check and pharmacy got here again as one of my prime three profession recommendations. At the time, I didn’t know much about the business, so I started doing analysis.

My analysis taught me that a career in pharmacy can be an incredible alternative to assist individuals with out being uncovered to much “blood and guts.” I was thrilled by the concept that my constructive impression on sufferers could possibly be extraordinarily far reaching—in any case, almost everybody will need a prescription sooner or later in their lives.

I was additionally drawn to the work/life stability that a profession in pharmacy might supply, in addition to the incontrovertible fact that pharmacy was a career that might permit me to seek out success in nearly any metropolis in the nation.

What sort of pharmacist are you?

I’m an ambulatory care medical pharmacist. I work in an outpatient clinic and I assist with persistent disease state management.

My work is concentrated on serving to the physicians at our clinic handle drugs for patients with long-term illnesses. I spend my time assembly one-on-one with patients to discuss and modify their continual drugs in between their routine physician appointments.

My apply website is at a well being care clinic for the uninsured and under-insured. At the clinic, I’m part of a bigger health care workforce that includes inner drugs physicians, dietitians, and social staff. We all work in tandem to help obtain profitable health outcomes for our patients.

I spend half of my time working at the clinic and the other half educating the subsequent era of pharmacists as a school member at St. Louis School of Pharmacy.

What makes your career path unique?

I feel what has made my path unique is my journey to landing a dual position as an ambulatory care pharmacist and a pharmacy professor.

While I was in pharmacy faculty at the College of Texas at Austin School of Pharmacy, I discovered that I was really in sure disease states, specifically diabetes. I was also very in getting to know my patients long-term.

In my final yr of pharmacy faculty, I did a rotation in a hospital and I discovered myself asking my mentors so many questions about the households we have been treating. I needed to know what they have been going to do after they have been discharged and what would happen once they got here for follow-up visits. I needed to construct relationships with those sufferers, study them and the communities the place they lived, and see the long-term results of the care they have been receiving. That’s once I realized I needed to serve in an outpatient setting.

After pharmacy faculty, I accomplished a pharmacy follow residency in Boston that was specialised for ambulatory care. That residency helped me acquire a job at a clinic in Houston where I specialized in diabetes and anti-coagulation management. I was in Houston for five years before shifting to St. Louis.

I was drawn to my position at St. Louis School of Pharmacy as a result of it provided the alternative for me to continue pursuing my ardour for medical pharmacy, whereas also taking over a brand new position that might permit me to positively influence a future era of pharmacists.

I’ve discovered that educating students is so incredibly rewarding. Some have reached out to me months, or even years, later to thank me for serving to them discover their career path. I do know not everybody is going to pursue my actual path, however I really like having the probability to assist students find the path that makes the most sense for them!

What do you’re keen on most about your job?

As a healthcare provider, I really like being half of a patient’s journey to improve their health. As a professor, I really like watching the “aha!” moment that occurs when students put the textbook info they’ve discovered to make use of and all of it clicks for them in a real-world, patient care setting.

What does a typical workday seem like for you?

My mornings are sometimes spent in the clinic. I get to work at eight a.m. when the clinic opens. Our patient care workforce begins the day with a 10-minute huddle to rise up to hurry on what’s occurring, after which we begin seeing sufferers.

All through the day, we see a spread of patients with numerous long-term and continual circumstances together with diabetes, bronchial asthma, hypertension, and persistent obstructive pulmonary illness (COPD). In some instances, we see sufferers as a workforce, whereas in other instances, members of the staff will meet with sufferers one-on-one. We additionally make telephone calls to sufferers.

Once I’m at the clinic, I also have the pleasure of working with students on rotations. Annually, I have 14 students who spend 5 weeks at my website turning into absolutely immersed in the clinic setting. Many of these students go on to do residencies after graduating pharmacy faculty.

I spend most of my afternoons at the school. On any given day, I could be discovered conducting or writing lectures and handling numerous elements of course coordination, together with creating and modifying check questions and grading exams. I’m additionally concerned in a couple of research tasks, so a portion of my time on campus is spent accumulating and analyzing knowledge and writing manuscripts for publication.

Describe the most rewarding day of your profession.

During my career, I’ve been fortunate to have many rewarding days on the job.

One current instance that stands out in my mind concerned a affected person that made a 180-degree turn together with his well being. He got here to the clinic in very poor general well being. After assembly with my group and seeing the outcomes of the numerous lab checks we’d performed, he vowed to show his well being around. Actually, I recall him sitting in my workplace and throwing his cigarettes away in my trash can! He promised that he’d never smoke once more, and he meant it.

In addition to giving up smoking, he lost lots of weight. Over time, his mood improved and so did his well being. His story is admittedly rewarding as a result of he stated he was motivated to make these constructive modifications because of our staff.

There have additionally been occasions when my clinic workforce has been capable of catch errors, which has prevented a affected person from getting harm. We’ve additionally ceaselessly served sufferers in pressing situations. In lots of instances, we’ve had sufferers name and attain out for assist, and we’ve been capable of provide them with the actual care they wanted at the actual moment they need it. That’s a really rewarding feeling!

Describe the most difficult day of your profession.

As a well being care supplier, it may be difficult when you understand what way of life modifications a affected person needs to make, but they only aren’t open to creating these modifications. Too typically, I’ve seen sufferers continue to smoke when they need to give up and achieve weight when they should drop extra pounds. In these instances, I would like to have the ability to present further assist outdoors my clinic setting, but I can’t. That may be irritating.

As well as, the clinic I work in serves low-income people and the uninsured and under-insured. It can be very onerous at occasions to see the social conditions our sufferers experience. Some are homeless, while others wrestle as a result of they don’t have enough assets. I work with an ideal staff that helps these people out tremendously, but typically it seems like we will’t help enough.

What most attracted you to pharmacy over different well being care professions?

I used to be finally drawn to pharmacy because I noticed it as the good alternative to work in well being care and make a constructive impression on sufferers. This can be a very rewarding career that gives nice work/life stability, financial stability, and countless alternatives to develop and succeed.

What advice would you give a scholar getting into pharmacy faculty?

My largest piece of advice can be for college kids to commit to setting aside time to review little by little, quite than cramming right earlier than an exam. There is a lot of info for pharmacy students to study, and it’s all info that they may ultimately apply in the real-world whereas caring for sufferers. Because they will be utilizing this info every single day, it’s essential for college kids to commit this info to their long-term memory, and the solely method to try this is to review and study regularly.

I can also’t stress enough the importance of working or shadowing in numerous pharmacy settings while in pharmacy faculty. Once I was a scholar, I worked as a technician in a group pharmacy. I appreciated the work I was doing, but I noticed it wasn’t what I needed to do for my entire life. These experiences supply the probability for college kids to explore totally different paths in pharmacy and work out which path is true for them. I encourage students to use no matter connections they need to get their foot in the door whereas nonetheless in faculty.

What do you would like someone advised you (in highschool or school) because it pertains to your career?

One thing I feel is effective to know is how many profession choices there are within the pharmacy career. I’m very enthusiastic about what I’m at present doing, however I know now that there are different profession paths within pharmacy which will have also been a superb match for me.

There are long-term care pharmacists that go to nursing houses. There’s oncology, pediatrics, inpatient/outpatient care, nuclear pharmacy, insurance coverage, and a lot extra. I want someone would have informed me about all of these options once I was a scholar.

The sky’s the restrict inside the pharmacy business, however pharmacists aren’t all the time knowledgeable about that till afterward in our careers.

What do you consider is the largest false impression about the subject of pharmacy?

I feel the basic group typically thinks pharmacists only rely drugs. Many occasions, my buddies and my own patients have problem understanding that I’m a member of a bigger affected person care group, and that my position is more than merely filling drugs prescribed by a physician.

I typically should clarify that I’m a pharmacist who works with the doctor, and that I’m liable for making suggestions on what drugs the physician ought to prescribe, which includes double-checking for drug interactions and making certain that drugs are dosed appropriately.

I consider we’re making some headway in serving to the public to know our position as pharmacists, however there are nonetheless lots of misconceptions out there that we have to overcome.

For those who’re in learning more about careers like Dr. Challen’s in ambulatory care pharmacy or the many different profession choices out there in the business, visit our Career Paths page.