By: Yufan (Frank) Liu, Pharm.D. Candidate c/o 2013
“This is the worst day of my life!” These words kept echoing in my head as I approached my rotation at the North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center clinic one hour late. Getting lost was not how I envisioned starting my first day and that helpless feeling lingered as I drove aimlessly around Long Island. Luckily, the rest of my month did not go like my first day. Upon completing this rotation, my perspective on what I want to do with my career have changed.
Before starting rotations, I had already been working for four years at Rite Aid© pharmacy and one year in a hospital, and had an internship in the pharmaceutical industry. I felt I had seen it all. To my surprise, after just one day, I found myself thrilled to be working together with different types of health care professionals to help patients. From doctors to social workers to nurses, I was able to get multiple perspectives on how to help every patient I encounter. I found that working in an ambulatory care setting resonated deeply with me compared to the other jobs I had been working.
Working at the clinic has allowed me to realize how much I love interacting with patients and trying to make their lives easier. I always keep a positive smile on my face to cheer patients up whenever I can. Seeing a patient smile after counseling them and making them laugh always brings me a great deal of happiness. Although the community and hospital settings are great places to work, each with their own merits, the ambulatory care setting has allowed me to realize how much more time I can be spending with each patient. I have always operated under the golden rule that caring for the patient is the number one priority. Thus, I spent extra time in each counseling session making sure the patient completely understood his or her therapeutic regimen. If this understanding is lacking, I truly believe I have done a disservice to both the patient and my profession. When the doctors did not have enough time to go through everything with a patient, I was there to step up and help.
It was a blessing to have Dr. Nissa Mazzola, Associate Clinical Professor of St. John’s University, guide me in the right direction at the site as I still had a lot to learn clinically. At the end of the rotation, I asked her about the number of opportunities to become an ambulatory care pharmacist. When she replied that there are not that many, I was a bit disappointed; I feel that such pharmacists can really help improve patient outcomes as disease management counseling specialists. When I graduate, I will advocate for increasing the number of ambulatory care pharmacist positions. This rotation has inspired me to apply my pharmaceutical knowledge to assist patients in managing their disease states in every way I possibly can. By doing so, I have no doubt that I am helping make the world a better place.