(Pre Thanksgiving) Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is definitely on the mind.. a short break to spend time with family and recharge. But we second years just couldn’t wait so we had the second annual Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving (aka PTT), a great time to relax and spend some quality time with our “pharmily” and eat great food! Plus, we had to celebrate the end of another exam (I think we only have 8 more to go including our finals.. we’re almost done!)

And boy, there was SO MUCH FOOD! Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, and my favorite, PIE (3 different types too!). During the festivities we took a moment to share what we were all thankful for. This year, as always I’m thankful for my family/pharmily and friends (the family I chose).. without them I would have never made it through this year. 

I encourage you all to take a moment to remind yourselves what you’re all thankful for, the big and the small. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday! And remember, pants with elastic waists may be your best friend!

Take care readers and if you’re traveling this holiday, safe travels!

Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving!!!

It’s the week of Thanksgiving which means it’s time for the second annual Pre-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving or PTT as we like to call it! Monday night the second years gathered together for our phamily Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve gotta say we have some amazing chefs in our class! We had so much amazing food to choose from! We had a full Thanksgiving feast…turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, three kinds of pie and so much more!

I have been looking forward to this event since last year! During school on Monday I could even smell PTT! I was a little worried it wouldn’t be able to happen this year since we are all so busy. However, everyone else had such an amazing time last year we made time for it (after the therapy exam!)! It was so much fun to take some time off from studying and enjoy celebrating such a wonderful holiday with my amazing pharmacy phamily! Anytime we can have class bonding time is a great time!

We did the usual Thanksgiving tradition and went around the room telling everyone what we’re thankful for. Even with all of the stress of studying this past semester, there is so much to be thankful for. I’m so thankful I have such supportive classmates that keep me motivated and in such a happy mood even during insanely stressful weeks. It’s so nice to know I have my own phamily with me to help make it through second year! I could not have asked for better classmates!

Here are some pictures of the wonderful evening!

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Laser Tag Fun!!

This past week as a fun midweek stress relief activity Kappa Psi decided to go to Adventure Zone together! Now if you’ve driven by Adventure Zone in Canal Park and thought the place looks like a cheesy place just for kids you are mistaken! I discovered Adventure Zone last year with my fellow first year classmates. It is a blast! With coupons handed out at school it is cheaper than going to a movie and 100 times more fun! Unlimited laser tag, unlimited mini golf, batting cages, arcade games, rock climbing, you name it Adventure Zone has it!

The second year Kappa Psi-ers took on the first years for laser tag and as it should be the second years won!! I got to watch brothers try the batting cages for the first time, which is always enjoyable! And as an added bonus we got prizes at the end of the night!!


Here are some pictures of all of the brother bonding!!

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Yeah that’s right we got pirate tattoos and fangs as prizes! We were pretty excited! You gotta be excited about the little things in life right?!!


After all that fun I have to get back to studying for tomorrow’s therapy exam. Wish me luck!!


Baby Fever?!

There have been three adorable babies born recently at the Deer River Memorial Hospital 🙂

I’ve had a chance to see them all, either while walking by the nursery where they preform the hearing test, or while doing discharge medication counseling for the new mommies before they leave the hospital.  One of the pharmacists at the hospital is convinced I have “baby fever” because I always talk about how adorable the babies are, and how it makes me excited to have my own.  Trust me, not ready for that, but excited for it in at least a couple years.


Medication counseling is done by the pharmacist for all patients prior to discharge from the hospital.  This is to ensure that patients are aware of the changes made to their medications, the proper way to take their medications, and side effects that may occur.  For new mothers, their medication lists usually include iron supplements and multivitamins, which are pretty straightforward to counsel on.  Iron supplements can cause stomach upset, discolor the stool, and cause constipation – which is a significantly bigger issue for new mothers, as it can be much more painful in the few months immediately post-partum.  This is an important counseling point, so that new mothers can take steps to prevent iron-induced constipation such as drinking plenty of fluids and getting fiber in their diet.


Medication counseling for other patients is usually more extensive, and the medication changes can either be minimal, or extensive.  It is nice that the pharmacist is able to provide this counseling while the patient is still in the hospital, where they are usually comfortable in their hospital bed, and willing to talk about their medications.  Sometimes, when patients just get out of the hospital and pick up their medications from a community pharmacy, they are tired, or their pain medications have worn off and they are in pain again, making them less likely to want to talk to a pharmacist about any changes or additions to their medication therapy.

I really enjoy talking with patients, especially the new mommies, so I can see their cute bundles of joy.


In other news, I spoke to one of the orthopedic surgeons today about updating the pre-op antimicrobial prophylaxis order set to reflect the current guidelines.  He was very receptive to making the changes, which was basically a dosage increase.  Current guidelines recommend cefazolin 2 grams IV within 60 minutes prior to orthopedic procedures involving implants, and the use of 3 grams if the patient weights more than 120 kg.  Prior to this, the pre-op orders called for cefazolin 1 gram IV for patients less than 80 kg, and 2 grams for those who weigh more than 80 kg.  I presented all of my recommended updates to the Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee earlier this week, and I need to talk with a few more surgeons and then the physicians at the clinic, before making the changes on the order sets.  It is exciting to be leading this effort!

T-6 days before Turkey Day!! WHOO HOOO


– Heather




Rural Rotation Life

Hello my lovely blog readers, long time no see!!  It’s been a while since I’ve written, I’ve been busy getting engaged and starting to plan my wedding 🙂  I will graduate May 10th, and get married on June 7th, and I couldn’t be more excited!!

So where am I at now? I’m in Deer River.  What’s that you say?!! you don’t know where Deer River is??  How could you not know Deer River….it’s the home of the World’s Largest Wild Rice Festival!!  Come on now people, this is Minnesota!

Just kidding.  According to the 2010 census, only 930 people live here, so you probably have never heard of it.  And of course, these facts are completely accurate, as they’re from the reputable source of Wikipedia!  😉  (if I had a dollar for every time I wished I could use wikipedia as a source for something in pharmacy school….)

I asked a nurse at the hospital today how many people live in Deer River, and she said about 1000.  Deer River is about 15 miles west of Grand Rapids, or about 90 miles northwest of Duluth.  It is the site of my one required Rural Rotation.  The rotation I am doing right now is an “Elective – Institutional” and I am still really learning what that means; a mixture of hospital pharmacy and hospital pharmacy administration.

This is my second of five weeks at Deer River Memorial Hospital.  It’s definitely the smallest hospital I’ve seen, but they still do a lot, including total knee and hip replacements.  From what I’ve seen, there has been a hospital census ranging between 2-7 patients.

I have been helping with warfarin dosing, providing warfarin and discharge education to patients, and attending daily discharge planning rounds.  Most of my time so far has gone to looking at pre-operative orders for antimicrobial prophylaxis and making a presentation to propose changes to these orders in order to conform to the most current practice guidelines:

CPG antibiotics for surg

This paper is the biggest source of my information.

I have also learned the proper way to dispose of an expired bag of Lactated Ringers….

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Stab it with some scissors and pour it down the drain!! Awwwwww yeahhh.

My hours are 8-430, with the occasional 7am meeting.  This means I am either on my way to, or at the hospital by sunrise, and just leaving the hospital by sunset.  So although my vitamin D levels are plummeting, I sure am getting some good photo-ops:


This one has the sunset and the moon in the same frame, and was taken on Hwy 2 between Deer River and Grand Rapids, aka “G*Rock.”

I am staying with my great aunt and uncle, who have provided me with what I think may be the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in, and delicious home-cooked meals and desserts 🙂  I am really enjoying their company and hospitality, and I’m thankful for the rural rotation experience for the opportunity to visit with them for five weeks 🙂

Alrighty, time to get back to my second draft of my PharmD 4 Paper….or updating my Pinterest wedding board….

– Heather

PDX Initiation

It’s November and that means it’s time for initiation! This year we have 32 (yup) amazing new pledges joining PDX and they are now officially active brothers! BROTHERS FOR LIFE!!!  😀

Here are some of the pictures from initiation weekend:




pdx1With my fellow PD2 ladies.

Women Impacting Healthcare Conference


Dr. Fierke and I

Last weekend, I attended Women Impacting Health Care at McNamara Alumni Center in the Twin Cities campus. Speakers included Cindy Kant, 3M Vice President, Mary Brainerd, president and CEO of HealthPartners, Julie Johnson, an associate dean at the U of M College of Pharmacy, Dan Pesut, from the nursing education and public service sector, and Dr. Fierke, an assistant professor at U of M College of Pharmacy Duluth with over fifteen years of experience in teaching leadership and communication courses. Their presentations reflected on the outstanding impact of women in the society and the importance of having women leaders in minimizing the gender discrepancy in organizations. Overall, there were over 80 attendees from different health care professions including pharmacy, dentistry, medicine, veterinary, public health, and nursing.

The first speaker, Cindy Kant, talked about the importance of the presence of women on the top position as CEOs and managers to instill hope and inspire other women to take more proactive steps in becoming leaders. However, this is difficult because women are often, since young age, socialized to be agreeable, quiet, and “lady-like.” Cindy Kant gave an example of two resumes with the same content but with different names, one with a female name and another with a male name written on it. How were they perceived by the employers? The male in the resume received responses such as “a leader” and a “go-getter.” However, the one with the female’s name written on it was seen as “too aggressive.”


“Well, she is TOO aggressive and hard to work with.” -Patrick Bateman

I believe that trying new things, stepping outside of comfort zone are important to fuel my creativity and desire to learn. It’s an epiphany of how myself fits into the rest of the society. It’s an opportunity for personal development.

One of the women I sat with was a manager at Fairview and a leadership development planner. She mentioned the younger generation is overly confident and bold sometimes. I agree that our generation is perhaps more sheltered than any other previous generations. In order to grow empathy and capacity to work well with others, I think it is important to humble ourselves and respect others who may have years and years of experience at real-world problem solving. There were a lot of older audience who came to sit with me at the conference, and it was a good experience to hear about their work and what they do in healthcare to get some examples.

It also gave me a chance to speculate ways to improve and grow as a person and understand some of the personal struggles I am experiencing since moving to Minnesota. Cindy Kant, the first speaker, talked about how she was often asked if she was from East Coast because she was very outspoken, bold, and used a lot of dramatic hand gestures. She mentioned leaning in closely or using a lot of hand gestures could be interpreted as intimidation and intrusion. When I approached her about this issue after her speech, she gave me a few advice along the lines of : step back, listen first, and always stay true to yourself, don’t be someone else and don’t lose your core. She also advised me to keep meeting new people and getting myself involved, and attending meetings and conferences to acquire various social situations.

Other key highlights of the conference included : the importance of feedback,  having somebody tell you about your “blindspots”: things that are unknown to you but known to others then you can tailor your actions and be courteous to others, the importance of having a mentor to guide you and foster you, asking for help, and consistently reflecting on your limits and strengths to raise self-awareness. All in all, I really enjoyed today, even the 6 hour driving from Duluth (I actually very much enjoyed the night drive!), because I had time to reflect and get to know about myself and others around me, as well as many insights on becoming the leader of the healthcare system.

“Those who mind does not matter and those who matter does not mind” –Dr. Seuss

I would like to share this song as it was on repeat to accompany my drive back to Duluth. 🙂

Children Museum Fun!

This past weekend the College of Pharmacy held the first activity fair for kids at the Children’s Museum in St. Paul. We created 8 different booths with activities for kids to learn about pharmacy and health in general. We had activities on hand washing, determining if something is candy or medicine, compounding with frosting, first aid, and filling prescriptions to name a few. We had a good turn out as it was a busy day at the museum. I think we had more fun than the kids did! Hopefully we can continue the fun next year!

Here are some pictures of the activities!

children's museum compounding fun! children's museum info table photo children's museum handwashing photo children's museum group photo 11:10:13 children's museum first aid stand children's museum candy:medication photo


And I couldn’t resist this..

children's museum fun!


As promised I got pictures of our puppets for the APHA video we are making. We needed to re-film some things today and I remembered to get a picture!



It’s that time again in the COP… Movember!! It’s gonna start to get pretty creepy in COP! In case any of you don’t know what Movember is I’ll explain a little. During the month of November men grow their mustaches/beards throughout the entire month to raise money to support awareness for different men’s health issues.

This year UMD PharmD has created a new type of competition out of it. Each contestant has a jar for money donations. At the end of each week, the person with the worst/creepiest/least favorite mustache will be voted on by the amount of money in their jar. That person will then be asked to shave and leave the competition-Auf Wiedersehen. However, that individual can donate $10 to remain in the competition. Hopefully we can raise money to help support a great cause!

Last year the mustaches/beards got a little creepy. I didn’t even recognize some of my classmates by the end of the month! It will be fun to see what happens this year. I’m sure by mid Movember I will be ready for December!photo 1400215_556026527802856_456228920_o


If you would like to donate to the cause you can click on the link below!




Happy Year 2070!

Hello readers,

Happy New Year! What?! Yes, that’s right. This past Monday was the New Year for many (but not all) Hindus. We follow several different calendars so there are multiple Hindu New Years. People from the state of Gujarat who follow the Vikram Samvant calendar ushered in the year 2070 on Monday.

As usual, I went home for the festivities that last five days and includes Diwali, in case any of you have ever seen the episode of the Office or heard President Obama wishing Hindus a happy Diwali. (check out this wikipedia article for more info:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diwali) The most enjoyable part of the festival is the food mountains! Yes, mountains of delicious, delectable sweet and savory foods. The New Year marks the end of the harvest, and traditionally the new grains were used to make dishes that are then offered in the temples before being shared amongst the community. This weekend, we had two food mountains, at my house and at my cousins house on Saturday and Monday.


Looks delicious right? Too bad I can’t eat it all and hibernate for the winter! Now that our busy time of year is over, I find myself playing catch up in school. (However, I must say our professors are quite considerate and flexible with allowing me to make things up when I missed classes on Monday). People have mentioned that we only have about 6 weeks of school left which sounds crazy. I can’t believe I’m this far into the semester, but we still have so much left to get through- exams, papers, lab practicals, finals, and registering for spring semester classes!

I’m rather excited to take some electives; the two I have my eye on are the diabetes elective and an online obesity course. I spent about an hour looking through the electives last night instead of studying for Friday’s pharmacology exam.. which I should probably get back to!  So until next time, take care, and stay warm!