When I was in eighth grade, my close friend Rick was diagnosed with a hole in his heart. After repeated attempts to repair it, his doctors just decided that he needed a new one. It took two years to find a donor, but Rick finally got a new heart. A year or two went by, and he started developing the same problem that he had before. His immune system was causing the hole which had by then grown so large that he needed another replacement. Another donor was quickly found, and he was back by the end of junior year. This time his doctors put him on a mix of drugs to suppress his immune system, so that another hole would not form in his heart. The combination of medications that prevented his immune system from ruining his heart also weakened his ability to keep the cancer cells in his body from proliferating. He often told me that there had to be a better way, and I agreed. Unfortunately, I had no idea what the better way was. Unfortunately, the suppression of his immune system led to Rick developing various types of cancer, the last being lymphatic cancer, which eventually took his life in September of 2007. One of my closest friends for 15 years was gone.
It was then that I began thinking about studying to be a pharmacist. The idea bounced around in my head, but I never acted on it. After I was married, one day my wife was going through my phone and found Rick’s number in it. I shared the story about Rick, and she encouraged me to continue on pursuing my goal, so that I could keep his fate from happening to other people.
In my current position as Store Manager of a retail drug store, I spend a third of my time in the pharmacy. I have firsthand experience in serving patients and preparing prescriptions. I have great relationships with past and current pharmacists that I have worked with, and continue to build those relationships.
My long term goal is to work in Research and Development, managing clinical trials for a new class of experimental drugs that will prevent the kind of auto-immune diseases that took Rick. I believe that my undergraduate work in economics and data analysis, will make me ideally positioned after graduation, to enter this field of research and make a contribution in bringing to market new drugs that are more effective than current ones – and saving lives.
Creighton is a Jesuit institution, founded on Ignatian values. Please identify at least one of these values and describe how it relates to you and your future practice of pharmacy.
The Ignatian virtue magis (Latin for "the greater good"), is the value that most relates to myself and would continue to influence me in my future as a pharmacist. I believe this value can be best utilized as a type of filter with which a person can make the best decision, even in difficult situations.
In my current capacity as a Store Manager, I have had to deal with several types of these situations. I remember a patient who was abusing a controlled narcotic medication, but had a valid prescription from their doctor to receive more. The pharmacist on duty, whom I know well, felt that it was dangerous to fill the medication, given the amount this person had already received in the last thirty days. After viewing the profile, and the condition the patient was in, I decided not authorize the sale of the prescription, and informed the patient that we would be contacting her doctor. The patient was extremely upset with this decision, and contacted my district pharmacy supervisor. My pharmacy supervisor informed me that it was my job to fill prescriptions, not question them, and if the patient came back, that we should fill the prescription immediately. In the interim, the doctor’s office had called us back. In our discussion, we determined that the patient was abusing the medication, and the doctor’s assistant informed us that they would require an office visit before giving this patient a new prescription.
When in a position of authority, whether it be as a store manager or a pharmacist, making difficult decisions is an integral part of the job. Some decisions need to be made quickly, and some you are permitted more time with. I do my best to make sure that each decision I make, while it may not be apparent to the other person at the time, is in their best interests. Many times the harder decisions, the ones that upset people the most (at least at first), are the ones that benefit them the most in the end. A policy of appeasement may be a quick fix, but it can have long lasting and negative repercussions.
As many other parents are aware, appeasement to children, especially in the formative years, will make for an onerous life as they continue to grow. Others often will not be as accommodating as their parents – I know that I am not. Teaching children that life has a set of morals, values, behaviors that are expected will prepare them for what life has in store for them. Sometimes difficult decisions need to be made, and when they do, the Ignatian value of magis is an excellent maxim against which to weigh the options.
2)What personal qualities do you possess that would make you a successful student at Creighton and a successful pharmacist? As you have selected to apply to the distance pathway, please describe why you have chosen to apply to the distance pathway as opposed to a traditional campus pathway. Please address what characteristics you possess that make you a good candidate for a distance-based pathway and how you plan to adjust your personal and professional schedules to be successful.
Creighton offers a unique opportunity with the Distance Pathway option, which is the program I desire to be a part of. My personal situation prevents me from enrolling in a traditional, classroom-based pharmacy program. Acceptance into a typical program would force me to leave my career and put an undue financial burden on my family. While this scenario has been discussed, my family and I have not reached a conclusion. My hope is to apply and hopefully be accepted to the Distance Pathway program. I will be able to adjust the number of hours that I work much more easily in this sort of schedule than I would in a traditional program.
The qualities and skills that make a successful online candidate are some that I already possess. My position by its nature is one of self-reliance. My supervisor visits my store for a total of roughly twenty hours a year, mainly to check its condition and speak with my employees. Otherwise, it is up to me to manage the entire location. My supervisor and I exchange phone calls and emails, but that only happens when one of us needs something from the other. Stores are largely monitored by their KPI's, or Key Performance Indicators.
I believe the qualities that lead me to effectively manage a retail drug store will continue to serve me as a student and future pharmacist. Qualities such as being highly organized, analytical, and versatile have allowed me to create systematic approaches to effectively manage my store. My attention to detail and commitment to high standards receive compliments from my boss as well as customers. When dealing with employee and customer issues, I am observant to their demeanor and attentive to what they have to say. With employees, I show compassion with their issues and patience with their learning curve. My store is known for having employees with skills that are above and beyond their positions, because I encourage an environment of constant growth. I will rarely hire someone who is not in college or going to college in the near future.
A major part of my job is handling complaints and dealing with tough situations. Whether it is in the pharmacy or on the general sales floor, I never want a customer to leave until he feels completely comfortable with his experience in my store.