Before starting to answer this question, I gave it a lot of thought. It reminded me of the ‘White Coat Ceremony’ back in the first year of pharmacy. The ceremony marks our entrance into faculty and confirms our commitment to the profession of pharmacy. However, back then I did not really take it seriously perhaps because I didn’t really understand the deep meaning. I still had 4 years ahead of me and did not what the journey was going to be like. Conversely, today I believe in the pledge. Here is how and why:
After attending the Networking Night organized by the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists, the amount of knowledge I had about hospital pharmacy and the practitioners working in this setting has expanded. Everyone is so different and has so much to contribute. The stories describing their journey to the world of pharmacy are different; some are here by chance, some wanted to pursue hospital pharmacy since the early days of their high school or post-secondary education but one thing that binds them together is their passion for patient care. They love what they are doing! And that is why they were at the educational sessions, travelled miles to listen to their colleagues, asked questions and engaged in discussions.
Patients come first. When I decided to pursue a career in pharmacy, I knew that there is no room for “9-5” attitude in this profession; I should be available for my patients whenever required. And yes, when I spoke to the practitioners present at the residency networking night, I felt like I didn’t know anything and wondered how I would ever get to that stage and what if I make a mistake. However, at the same time I have to remember that practice makes one perfect and these feelings are normal at the beginning. The more I ask questions to my preceptors, complete the assigned tasks and make the best of the opportunities provided to me, the easier it would be for me on the day when there is no one to watch me and when I will be fully responsible for taking care of my patients myself. In order to become a competent health professional and provide the best care to my patients, I will work hard.
There is no way I will retain everything or know everything about pharmacy but my focus is to make my best efforts to keep myself up to date with current and new knowledge. One of the reasons I decided to pursue pharmacy and then hospital pharmacy is because I enjoy challenges. Change excites me! Browsing through books or internet to find out an answer is what keeps me going! I remember when I was doing my 4th year rotation at Nanaimo Regional General Hospital, I was always looking up information; be it an abbreviation used by the doctor, a drug I had no clue about or any procedure mentioned in the discharge report or a patient’s chart. There were times when I got to the hospital at 7 am in the morning and left at 7 pm at my own will. Not because I was told to be there for so long, but because I enjoyed what I was doing! I have heard numerous stories about residency being intense and then you hit a point where your brain is full and you cannot take it any more. It might be the case with me at the end, however I am going to keep an open mind and try my best to learn as much as I can. I won’t know everything but my focus is to FOCUS ON THE CONTROLLABLES!
As I mentioned in my residency application, after residency I have future plans which will keep me in the student mode. Not sure when yet, but I am interested in doing a PharmD and in the future I would like to be a preceptor for undergraduate students and future Pharmacy Residents. This way I will get an opportunity to give back to the profession and make a difference.
After typing my response to this question, I decided to google what other people have to say about commitment to profession. I stumbled upon this book, Professional nursing: concepts & challenges by Kay Kittrell Chitty. Comparing profession with occupation, she states that professions consider their profession as an integral part of their life. They gain satisfaction from their work which surpasses their desire for money or other materialistic rewards. I remember back in first year when I shadowed a pharmacist at Surrey Memorial Hospital, he told me a similar story. He mentioned that even though his earnings would be higher as a community pharmacy, it is the job satisfaction that encouraged and inspired him to work in the hospital setting.
Therefore, I am looking forward to another year of being a student as a resident and hopefully more to come….