MPA | Pharmacy News

By Raymond Phung, Pharm.D., pharmacy resident, St. John Hospital and Medical Center, Southfield

Career pathways as a new pharmacy practitioner are ever changing. As a student, we were usually only exposed to what was offered during school. These ideas envelop an individual early on and take on the form of what is believed to be his or her future. I found my niche early on in hospital pharmacy; however, as a recent graduate of 2016 and a new practitioner, I had never been exposed to other pharmacy opportunities aside from hospital and community practice. This all changed when I began exploring organizations and pushing myself to get involved, and it started with Michigan Pharmacists Association (MPA) and Michigan Society of Health-System Pharmacists (MSHP). 

During pharmacy school, it is typically expected that by the end of fourth year, everyone will have an idea of what their career will look like. This can be difficult with a limited introduction to the multiple pharmacy career options, which include hospital, community, managed care, specialty, nuclear, independent community, ambulatory, legislative, academic and many other positions. It is even more difficult to decide on a career without knowing the daily tasks involved. I developed a deeper appreciation for pharmacy as a new practitioner following my involvement with MSHP/MPA. I had the opportunity to meet with many pharmacists and gain valuable insight regarding pharmacy as a profession. They enlightened me about their responsibilities as a pharmacist and encouraged me to explore different opportunities in the field. In addition to my passion as a hospital practitioner, I developed an interest in teaching and learning more about pharmacy in academia through networking with other professors as well as professors at Wayne State University. Additionally, staying involved with MSHP/MPA, I had the chance to stay current with the constant changes and challenges with legislation and how the changes affect pharmacists as practitioners. Furthermore, MSHP/MPA offer valuable resources and educational in-services that continue to help me grow as a clinical pharmacist.

When one door closes, a new one opens. Following the end of my pharmacy school education, I thought I was not going to grow any further, as this was the end of a chapter. However, it also marks the beginning of a new chapter, one as a new practitioner. I stay up-to-date by remaining involved, and I establish stronger bonds with my pharmacy career by networking through MSHP/MPA and continue to grow tremendously as an individual, establishing leadership skills, expanding my network and learning about the many pharmacy career options available. Pharmacy is a small world, and it starts with taking the first step into a network to get involved and becoming a member of a rich association to access it. Students, new practitioners and many generation of pharmacists are ready to share valuable wisdom and help advance the practice of pharmacy and encourage growth in the future of the profession. It is evident that I grew with MSHP/MPS, and like all growth, it is characterized by the investment an individual is willing to put forth. There are many benefits to being involved in MSHP/MPA if one is not afraid to risk a little time and effort in a growing association.

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