More to pharmacy career than counting pills

  • Passionate about healthcare: Hayley Evans, 23, will graduate with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Northeastern University next year (Photograph supplied)

    Passionate about healthcare: Hayley Evans, 23, will graduate with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Northeastern University next year (Photograph supplied)

The reinsurance industry didn’t fit the bill for Hayley Evans.

Law and accounting were similarly unappealing careers.

She was a secondary student at Saltus Grammar School when everything fell into place.

“I was drawn to the sciences and really liked chemistry but was very undecided,” Miss Evans said. “In my [advanced placement] chemistry class the teacher put up a chart. It was like a spider drawing, showing the careers in chemistry, and pharmacy sparked my interest. I researched and it involved everything I wanted: patient care, using chemistry and biology and being able to interact with other healthcare professionals. I thought the process was interesting. It [showed me that] pharmacists are not just counting pills behind the counter.”

Miss Evans will graduate with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Northeastern University next year.

It’s a six-year programme that involves two years of basic science followed by a mix of professional courses and work experience.

She was helped by the $2,500 Dr Kathyann White Memorial Scholarship, offered annually by the Bermuda Pharmaceutical Association. The organisation is hoping to raise its profile with a series of events throughout Pharmacy Week, which begins on Monday.

“I started right out of high school,” said the 2010 Saltus graduate. “Hopefully my winning this award will inspire younger kids. Everyone talks about international business, about law or accounting, but we’re not really steered to pharmacy. In 2012 I worked [in Bermuda with] ten pharmacists; five were Bermudian.”

The 23-year-old spent four months working on rotation here in 2012. Organised by Karen Leseur of Island Health Pharmacy, the internship allowed the pharmacy student to split her time between IHP, Caesar’s Pharmacy in Sandys, Point Finger Road Pharmacy, and Lindo’s Devonshire.

Her rotation at Tufts Medical Centre in Boston ends this week. On Monday she will join Lahey Hospital and Medical Centre in Burlington.

“My journey to becoming a pharmacist began with a focus on retail, however, now I have begun to consider a more clinical role in areas such as consulting or ambulatory care or hospital,” Miss Evans said. “I completed my first co-op position in Bermuda rotating between four different pharmacies of various sizes.

“I received first-hand experience to the different patient populations each pharmacy catered to depending on their location and proximity to medical offices. It was a rewarding experience and I am grateful for all the mentorship I received during the placement.

“What I love most about Bermuda is that it’s a very small place. As a pharmacist you get to see [the same clients] every single day. You get to know them and have that communication with them. It creates a comfort level which makes it easier for them to ask questions.”

Miss Evans is considering a post-graduate degree once she graduates.

The year-long residency is now becoming standard practice in the US for pharmacists hoping to work in hospitals.

Her ultimate goal is work as a consultant for senior citizens here.

“The geriatric population is growing in both the United States and in Bermuda, as baby boomers are entering the next stage and current seniors are living longer,” she said. “Multiple, unnecessary medications and adverse drug events happen all too often and it is the duty of the pharmacist to identify and make interventions in patients’ regimens.

“I believe consulting pharmacy provides the pharmacist with a more active role in patient care, especially in this high-risk, vulnerable population. I hope to utilise the experience and skills [acquired through my rotation abroad] to construct a foundation upon which a consulting pharmacy practice could be built.”

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Published Oct 22, 2015 at 8:00 am (Updated Oct 21, 2015 at 9:27 pm)

More to pharmacy career than counting pills

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