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Pharmacy Residency Podcast

Feb 12, 2018

In this episode, Jackie Boyle of ThePharmacyGirl hosts Laura Nice, 2018 PharmD Candidate at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED). Laura discusses being involved in professional organizations and is a member of the Pharmacy Student Forum Executive Committee through the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. She also discusses the importance of time management contributing to her success as a student leader including her role as past president of the NEOMED Student Society of Health-System Pharmacists. Her desire and involvement in leadership positions have been fostered by mentors she has had along the way, but also her intrinsic motivation to give back to the profession. Laura is in the midst of interviewing for PGY1 pharmacy residency positions and plans on practicing in ambulatory care while contributing to work that advances pharmacy practice.

Full Transcript:


Welcome to the Pharmacy Leaders Podcast with your host Tony Guerra. The Pharmacy Leaders Podcast is a member of the Pharmacy Podcast Network with interviews and advice on building your professional network, brand and a purposeful second income from students, residents and innovative professionals.

Thank you everyone for joining us today on the Pharmacy Leaders Podcast. My name's Jackie Boyle from the Pharmacy Girl and today I have with me Laura Nice. She is a fourth year pharmacy student in Northeast Ohio Medical University, a friend and a future colleague. So excited to have you Laura on the Pharmacy Leaders Podcast.

Thanks for having me Jackie, I'm excited.

Excited for you to be here, so Laura I know you're highly involved in professional organizations of the students and you also balance your academic work. So can you tell us a little bit about what your professional life looks like?

Yeah so as you said I'm currently a fourth year student pharmacist at Northeast Ohio Medical University. We like to call it Neo-med. So I'm on my Appys right now, getting ready to graduate in a few months. So it's been a really fun to be at Neo-med and be a student and have so many great mentors around who inspire us all to get involved and we have access to a lot of different student organizations.

Yes it's hard maybe sometimes to balance all of that. Do you have any strategies that you make it all work? Like how does it happen and walk us through maybe some of your time management strategies because I got to imagine that you've got some skills?

Yeah, so I live by my planner. So I like to write everything down in that way I know what's coming up for the week or even for the month. I also, you know, I find that I make things fun. So the things that I'm doing whether it's going to meetings or setting up time to work with other people on projects, you know, we try to make them fun so it doesn't feel like work especially as students and I know being in school it was nice because there would be days where we'd only have classes for maybe four hours and then we would have the rest of the day. And I found that having student organization and professional involvement work to do actually helps break up my day a little bit. So I wasn't just going home and studying for 12 hours a day but it made for a nice break.

Yeah sometimes the non-studying time is the most rewarding at times, break from the action. Tell us how you got involved in leadership, what's your leadership journey been as a student?

Yeah, so for me at least for pharmacy professional organizations it began my first year of school going to the professional organization fair on our campus which they hold every fall for incoming pharmacy and medical students. I was fortunate to know some of the older students who advised me to join a couple of the major organizations one of which was SSHP or the Student Society of Health System Pharmacist. From there I just went ahead and applied to be the P-1 class representative and I was fortunate to get that role where I got to know the Executive Board better and the other members of SSHP. And then from there I ran for president elect and I was fortunate to be elected to that position which ended up being like a three year term from president elect, president and now immediate president. So this student involvement really kick-started my involvement at the state and national level, I've been fortunate again, we have a great relationship with the Ohio Society of Health System Pharmacists, you have current president and also, you know, attending the state meetings and getting involved on the divisions, has been really great to get to know the pharmacist and fellow students and then also the national level. I'm fortunate to serve on the ASHP pharmacy student form Executive Committee which my mentors and advisors so you and Dr. Chris Back and Dale English, kind of pushed me along to apply for those. I was nervous, you know, applying for national position but I did it and now I'm doing it, so a lot of fun.

Yeah, it sounds like the importance of mentorship and finding those mentors was really a natural connection once you started getting involved with pharmacy organizations. I know that that was my experience as a student as well and commonly Dale English did push me to get more involved. So Dale if you're listening thank you for spurring us into actions.

Yes the I remember is you I heard that pharmacy to inform Executive Committee it was due on a Monday and the Thursday before you were like, did you apply for that yet. No I'm like, I don't think I'm good and he said you need to apply and then I got it. So thank you.

No problem, sometimes the short deadlines well get everyone. Yes, exactly, all right so you've been involved as a student leader really extensively obviously at the local state and national level. Through your leadership journey what misconceptions do you think are out there about leadership and what makes a good leader?

Yeah, so I think sometimes people think that the loudest person in the room or the person who's in charge is be leader and the one who's making all the decisions. You know, I don't find that to be true at all I think you can have the quiet people in the room who are equally as great leaders as the people who are loud. I know for me I'm an introvert, people will say I'm not but I am but I found that, you know, setting an example of being that hard worker and, you know, being a follower is just as important, so yeah.

That's great I think that, you know, sometimes there might be expectations of what a good leader is but hearing about different perspectives and having experiences in leadership certainly brings other things into consideration as well. So throughout your leadership experiences I'm guessing you may have faced some challenges, what do you think are the biggest challenges for holding leadership positions while you're, you know, pursuing your doctor pharmacy?

So yeah, I think the biggest thing with that is time. It is a challenging like academic load balancing that with internships and rotation hours and just trying to also be a human and enjoy life. It is a challenge but I think there are definitely ways to use time management skills to develop those. I think also for students there's this fear of commitment, fear of if I sign up for this today am I going to be doing this like every day for the next year but I think if you again learn those time management skills and I remember starting as president of SSHP, sitting down the first school being like I'm not sure how this is going to work I think I even walked into Dr. English's office and I was like I don't know how I'm going to balance all of this and, you know, and I also talked to the president who are, Angel Goodheart who was the president before me and she said, you know, block off that time during the day and that's when you're going to do it and other than that don't reply to those emails, nothing's urgent. So making that time and then also for students that imposter syndrome I was like who am I to be a leader and who am I like I don't know anything about pharmacy but I think that's something we need to not worry about and step out there.

Yeah that's actually funny that you bring that up when I talked with Molina on the last episode we also talked about faster complex. So I have a sense that we might be diving into that topic in the future as well. So having those challenges you've obviously overcome and have done it very well. Where do you think there are opportunities for student leaders in your opinion?

I think there's lots of opportunities, you know, it's in the classroom where you're setting an example of how to work hard or on those group projects that we all love, you know, working, learning how to work with different personalities and you can learn a lot through that and then also for students reading books and reading blogs and listening to podcasts, you know, it makes for a great downtime activity. I know with the Pharmacy Girl we did, I had a book club only read grit and so, you know, when you spread it out over enough time to only read a chapter to a week it's really not a lot and it gives you a really great perspective and kind of fun to read something that's not a text book. And then also, you know, professional organizations are obviously really great and important to be involved in but I think there's also opportunity to get involved in your church or other community groups. So whatever really you're interested in, in that way, you know, you are taking time to do things other than pharmacy.

Yeah that brings up a good point about, you know, community service. We might not immediately think of that as leadership but I read a great but well I know you read the great book Total Leadership.


Talking about the four domains of leadership including leading yourself, your community at work, at home as well, so are there any other leadership books that you would recommend? Or some of your favorites that you wanted to share?

So one that I think really inspired me, I don't know if it's exactly a leadership book but the Energy Bus by said Jon Gordon right, yes maybe Josh Gordon. Anyway it's that short, he writes a lot of little short stories and, you know, this book really focused on being around people that are negative energy and how they kind of sucks the energy out, they're called like energy vampires and so, you know, I think being a leader part of that is being excited about things and bringing that energy to the table. So it's always my little reminder of myself of like if I'm getting down like don't bring down the energy of the room. And then I'm going to start reading Emotional Intelligence soon. I'm actually really excited I'm starting my leadership Appy next week. So I'll be reading that I look forward to that, yeah.

That's a good one. I haven't read the Energy Bus and I think you've told me about this before. So I need to get on that. I have read Emotional Intelligence though and I really like that one. Okay, so thinking back let's go back to young Laura before pharmacy school, I don't know high school sometime in past. If you can talk to yourself at that point and advise yourself about leadership or getting into professional associations what do you think you would have told yourself at that point?

Yes so younger Laura was very shy and very worried about how other people perceived me. And I think that's a common thing, you know, we all worry what other people think of us but, you know, don't be afraid to step up and don't be afraid to do the things you want to be doing and meet people and walk up, you know, if you're at a meeting walk up to someone and say hi, I'm Laura, I'm a student at Neo-med or, you know, it can be scary but if you pull that courage for 10 seconds and do something you wouldn't normally do it can lead to something great.

And sometimes it's not as bad as we envisioned it. Maybe that introduction is not as intimidating as we perceive it to be.

Right, yes, exactly.

So as you got into your leadership journey was there something that was driving you or was it just those few interactions that you had during the professional organization fair. What was it that was motivating you to become more involved?

So I think the first thing that motivated me was wanting to learn more about pharmacy, you know, stepping into this profession specially as a first-year student you're really not sure what pharmacists do, you don't know anything about drugs. So I took it as an opportunity to learn about the profession and where it's going, what the top leaders are doing and then also building that professional network I knew I would need a job after school. So I wanted to get involved to meet people and see what people across the, I mean I didn't realize at the time but I would see what people across the country are doing and then some of these people became some of my really great friends through the process.

Yeah I know that networking sometimes goes underrated but starting to get involved with organizations early you've obviously been able to build a large network which is certainly helped open up new opportunities. So one other question recognizing that time management's important you figured out a system to do it. Was there ever a time that you felt overwhelmed? Perhaps there was a lot going on academically and you have all these professional organization commitments, was there ever a time when you felt like oh my gosh, I've gotten into too much here and how did you manage that?

Yeah so, you know, that happens every once in a while. I mean even last week it happened when I had like a journal club I was doing the next day and I was preparing to do some residency interviews and also told someone I'd write them a letter of recommendation all in the same night and said I would do some help updates and therapeutics cards. So sitting down and like looking at like what's essential, what do I need to do today and what can I put off till tomorrow or later in the week and then also like taking a step away, you know, I like to swim, I grew up swimming so for me going down to the pool for an hour to kind of clear everything out and be alone in the water has been really good for me.

Great so self-care has kind of balanced you back out when in those times you're feeling like a little bit overwhelming.

Yeah I even remember at school when I was like, you know, going to school full-time and we were taking exam, the first place I'd go afterwards is the pool just to release all that , you know, you build up that adrenaline and get all excited for the exam, you didn't sleep for however long, so yeah I'm really great.

Oh good, so how do you think, you know, you've interacted with a lot of student leaders. How do you think student leaders can help support each other?

So I think we don't really focus a lot on mentorship and sponsorship among students. I know we're encouraged to find mentors who are already pharmacists but I think there's a huge opportunity to find mentors whether that's someone who's a few classes ahead of you or even in your own class. And then also the sponsorship component, you know, I don't think we're always quick to talk other people up as students and, you know, I mean fortunately a new matter I haven't experienced this but I would imagine at some programs it's competitive and people are, you know, dying to be at the top of their class but I think we really all need to support each other because at the end of the day we're all going to be pharmacists caring for patients and so we should all help each other become the best pharmacists. And then also just being present, you know, so when other students are hosting events be present at those meetings and support those students with huge.

Yeah that network that you're already building while you're in school certainly will continue into your professional life so supporting each other now can certainly help you in the future. One last question, because I know you're in the midst of residency interviews. So how do you think, you know, given all your leadership experience as a student, how do you think that that has benefited you as you've experienced, you know, at least one interview at this point, how do you think that those outside of the academic wall experiences have helped you in your residency search and application and interview process?

Oh my gosh, so much, you know, obviously school is important and we all learn the necessary knowledge to be pharmacist but for me I think I've been very fortunate to gain this bigger broader perspective of pharmacy practice. Especially through my involvement with like ASHP, OSHP and SSHP. I was fortunate to go on a rotation, an Appy rotation to ASHP headquarters where I had the opportunity to meet a lot of really great pharmacists who work there but then also attended their policy week. And so to hear what these people are doing across the country and make those connections and then also attending med-year was huge I had some really great conversations both in the showcase and out of the showcase with some of my potential programs that I'm now interviewing for. So I think it's so important to make those connections, you know, even starting late P-3 years if not, you know, by mid, like you should, I think you should like meet the program before med-year and that was some advice I was given to me and I'm very glad people said that because by med-year it's too late.

Yes, well good luck with all of your interviews Laura and thank you so much for spending some time with us on the Pharmacy Leaders Podcast.

Thank you so much for having me.

Support for this episode comes from the audio book Memorizing Pharmacology. A relaxed approach with over 9,000 sales in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia, it's the go-to resource to ease the pharmacology challenge. Available on Audible, iTunes and in print eBook and audio book. Thank you for listening to the Pharmacy Leaders Podcast with your host Tony Guerra. Be sure to share the show with the hash tag hash pharmacy leaders.