The CoP’s got talent

I cannot believe we are back in class already. Christmas break went way too fast for me. Hopefully all of you were able to enjoy some much needed rest and time with friends and family. I always enjoy the beginning of second semester, there are so many activities the first week back! We start off the first day back with the annual College of Pharmacy Talent Show!!! The night starts out with appetizers and a silent auction.I came so close to winning a food truck experience with Dr. B and a beer growler from the Bent Paddle. Unfortunately some third year girls out bid me. Then the show starts! We had some truly talented people this year.

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Ajay and Meena doing a Bollywood dance.

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Mario on a mission to save Princess Peach

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Then the first weekend back is the annual College of Pharmacy Bonspiel!!! For those of you who don’t know what a bonspiel is I’ll explain. A bonspiel is a big curling competition. If you’ve never heard of curling before, by the time you leave the CoP in Duluth you will love curling!! Everyone looks forward to this event! We cross the bridge to the Superior Curling Club for a weekend of some great curling competition. This year the theme was curling with the classics. We all got to dress up as our favorite book, author, or character. My team chose to do The Great Gatsby. Once again the pharmacy students were able to show their creativity with amazing costumes. We had a Harry Potter team, Lord of the Flies team, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs team, Peter Pan team, and a Hunger Games team to name a few. And to make the event even better there are door prizes at the end. I won a gift card to Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth!!!



This is a picture of the second years that competed this year.

If you will be joining us on the Duluth campus next year get ready for these fun events!!

3 day week?!

2 cold days?! Why I don’t mind if I do! The semester has only just started and classes have been cancelled twice because of extreme cold! While I would much rather have sunny skies and warm weather, I won’t say no to a couple of relaxing days!

It has actually been a very weird couple of days. After last semester, I’m used to constantly having something to do. And while I’m not fully in the swing of school yet, I’ve still been feeling like I should be more productive. Of course there are plenty of things I could be doing to get ahead and on top of things, but I think for now, I’m just going to enjoy lounging. I’m going to call it practice for Orlando.

The colder it gets outside, the more I’m looking forward to going to Orlando for APhA annual conference! Although I’m sure it’s going to be a busy weekend of meetings and networking, I’ll definitely be making some time for fun in the sun and I cannot wait. But until then, I’ll have to brace myself for the potential of more -60 degree temperatures. (PS. How does one measure -60?! Doesn’t the thermometer just read “-17, -18, -19, -20, DON’T LEAVE YOUR HOME!” ?)

Stay warm all! Hope you enjoy your days off as much as I’m enjoying mine!

And we’re back!

I keep having to remind myself that we’re back in school. I’m still in winter break mode and very reluctant to get back into the swing of things. However, it was a fun beginning of the semester. The talent show was so wonderful, I loved dancing with Meena, and I loved seeing all of the other great acts! And of course, there’s nothing like seeing your pharm-ily after a long vacation and catching up on everything that’s happened.

I’m particularly excited at the assurances of the PD3’s that this semester should be much less stressful than last semester! So far, we’re off to a good start! And apparently, our whole class is off to a good start at being healthy in the new year. I finally went to the gym (and for those of you who know me, yes I did actually go! Hopefully I can keep that up). It was actually quite refreshing and productive. I got some exercise in along with some studying!

And this weekend is the Bonspiel, and although I’m not actually curling (Ajay and ice don’t mix very well), it’s guaranteed to be a good time. Despite the fact that it’s ridiculously cold outside, and I really enjoyed being home in the cities during break, I’m still glad to be here in Duluth and looking forward to yet another exciting semester!

4th Annual CoP Talent Show

I had the pleasure of attending the 4th Annual CoP Talent Show today at the Weber Music Hall today. It is organized and performed by our professors and students at Duluth campus. Starting off with the Traveling “Pill”burys, there were a variety of performances that were laugh-inducing, thought-provoking, and all-around enjoyable. For instance, I was really inspired by Meena and Ajay’s Tarangam, a traditional South Indian classical dance. The dress was gorgeous and it went so well with the way she moved her hands, seamlessly and flawlessly.


Meena and Ajay performing Tarangam

I also was quiet amazed by the “Pharmacy Love Song” featuring lyrics like “Keep you close like my Epi-Pen,” “You are my prescription for Love, directed to take everyday” that ironically but so accurately captured the medication information and love a perfectly comical, educational (and sweet) manner. In addition, Mario & Luigi : The Rescue of Princess Peach was so much fun and enjoyable. All in all, I was so impressed by how the whole talent show was prepared and executed. There were poems, violin and piano performance, singing, acapella, xylophone, and many many more. I realized that pharmacy school is not just about studying and focusing on science, but is also about discovering and supporting the artistic talents of peers’. It gave me the opportunity to discover a new world within pharmacy.

Pharmacy Love Song written and sung by Taylor Hill (warning: it is tilted mid-way)

Pharm.D. Paper and Seminar, check!

I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders!  I am now completely finished with my Pharm.D. Paper and Seminar!  There are only 3 rotations and one portfolio submission that stand between me and walking across that stage on May 10th for graduation!!

My classmates and I spent today and yesterday in our old classrooms, Life Science 163 and 165,  presenting the results of our hard work over the past year or more.  Each student had 20 minutes total: 15 minutes to present, followed by a 5 minutes of questions.

It was the first time most of us have been back in the classroom since May 2013!

It was fun to see my classmates and learn from them about topics they’ve been studying for the past year.  It was also fun catching up over a good meal – about a third of our class was at Burrito Union for lunch today – so delicious!


Next rotation starts Tuesday.  I’m planning to review some of my notes from the transplant unit of therapy before then…it’s been awhile since I learned about anti-rejection therapy!




Goodbye Winter Break, Hello Fairview!!

I have a little over one more week left to my LAST winter vacation EVER.

Let’s just let that sink in for a minute.




Ok, so it is sad, but the good news is: I am really excited to get started on my final three rotations!!

My last three rotations will all be at the University of Minnesota Medical Center – Fairview, located on the Minneapolis Campus.  There are 14 students assigned to this facility for blocks 7-9, and we all submitted our top choices for 2 acute care blocks and 1 elective block.  Recently, we found out what areas of the hospital we will be in!

Block 7: Transplant, Floor East 7A
Block 8: Cardiovascular ICU/Cardiology, Floor East 4E
Block 9: Infectious Disease Stewardship

I am really excited as I got all of my top picks!!  Also, my sister, Michelle, works as a nurse on the transplant floor, so I am excited to spend some time with her and learn more about the hard work she does.


PharmD IV Presentations will be happening this week, on Monday and Tuesday in Duluth. (The Twin Cities occurs over three days, because they have more students, but students are still only required to be there for two total days).  I present on Wednesday at 10:10 AM, and then after that, there are only those three rotations and a portfolio submission that stand between me and graduation!  🙂

I am excited for the presentations to see my classmates and hear what they have been working on for the past year.  My presentation is titled (just like my paper), “How Pharmacists Can Best Help People With Celiac Disease; A Literature Review.”


Here’s a random picture I took (Instagrammed of course)….





Last few weeks in Deer River!



Happy New Year!!  With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season I have been neglecting my blogging duties!  Today I am stuck indoors, as the Duluth Police have ordered all unnecessary travel to be avoided due to very very icy roads.  I have already watched a few people struggle to make it to their cars in the parking lot without falling, so I am going to wait it out, watch some football, and blog for all you readers out there 🙂

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Pictured above is the Deer River HealthCare Center, or Deer River Hospital.  Most mornings on my drive in I saw some gorgeous views and sunrises.

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Unit-dosing is pretty standard for most hospitals.   Single doses are packaged in the hospital pharmacy when they are not available commercially, or are too expensive to buy pre-packaged.  I helped out a little bit with this….

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…..or was I just showing off my engagement ring?!!?  The world will never know.


As you can tell, it’s pretty hard work to get those labels to stick! ;-P




I love photographing auxiliary labels, and then instagraming them.  I also believe this makes me more of a pharmacy nerd than I am already.


This is a photo of my workstation, complete with the festive Merry Christmas sign I made.  I was usually busy working on something, but one day I had a few minutes of free time and was excited for Christmas!


I also celebrated my birthday on my 2nd to last day of rotations in Deer River.  My wonderful fiance, Ryan, sent me flowers and a balloon that were delivered to the pharmacy!  The pharmacy staff organized a walking taco bar for lunch, and one of the housekeepers made me a gluten-free cake!  I miss everyone in Deer River, they were all so friendly and fun to work with!

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During my last few weeks I had the incredible opportunity to watch surgeries!  I saw two total knee replacements, one partial knee (unilateral) replacement, a shoulder ligament repair, and colon resection/colostomy.  All the surgeries were extremely interesting to watch from inside the OR, but the colon resection/colostomy made me a little light headed and I had to sit down a few times to keep from fainting.  I had never seen the contents of the abdominal cavity of a living person before, nor had I seen a diseased colon.

The orthopedic surgeries were so interesting!  To replace a whole knee, the surgeon shaves off the bottom of the femur, the top of the fibula, and the back of the knee cap; and then cements the correctly sized metal piece to replace the elements removed!  There is always a product representative in the OR helping the surgeon to pick the correctly sized replacement parts, and I spent a while talking with one of the reps.  I had never knew such a job existed!


I also spent time with each of the four surgeons and went over my proposals for updating the antimicrobial prophylaxis prior to/after surgical procedures, according to the 2013 guidelines.  Although I have to admit I was nervous to talk to surgeons, and tell them what they should be doing according to the most recent guidelines, I was thankful for the experience as it greatly improved my communication skills, and confidence in speaking with other healthcare providers.


I am super excited for my roommate, Tessa, who has this rotation next year!!  🙂


Hope everyone stays safe on the roads out there today!!

– Heather

Second Semester Begins Tomorrow

Hello everyone,

I am sitting here and writing a blog post back in my dorm in duluth. The winter break seemed long enough, but not long enough. It went by pretty fast, but I am glad that I am back recharged and ready to start classes. The past two weeks were filled with a lot of family time, trip to Arizona, movies and books (for classes too) and some pharmacy related things, like checking emails and reading articles on updated drug informations. Looking back on the last semester, I am glad that I was able to make new friends, participate in meetings and organizations like Kappa Psi and MPSO, and make a sense of what pharmacy school is like. I am developing myself personally as well as professionally. Tomorrow, we start transitioning into second semester classes with a class called “Professional Development and Assessment.” It is a 3-day-long class designed to help us with, well, developing professionally. We had an assignment called “APhA Career Pathways Program,” which is a series of questions designed to find out about one’s interests, goals, and other factors that led one to the profession of pharmacy. It is designed to help me understand which areas of pharmacy (ex. academia, community, consulting, industry, institution..) suits me the best. Completing the online APhA Career Pathway self-assessment revealed that I am suited for the following careers in the field of pharmacy:

1. Long Term Care / Geriatric

2. Pharma – Medical Liaison

3. Pharmacy Law/ Reg Affairs/ Public Policy

4. Pharmacy Benefit Management

5. Office Based Med Management

I think it is because I preferred to travel a lot with the exception of Long Term Care, which I think may be due to my preference in interacting with patients and building a long-term relationship (I kind of contradicted myself there,). But with professions like Medical Liaison, which is educating drug information to other health professionals, they enable me to have opportunities to travel as well as build a solid, foundational relationships with other health professionals. Pharmacy Benefit Management is a job “responsible for developing and maintaining the formulary, contracting with pharmacies, negotiating discounts and rebates with drug manufacturers, and processing and paying prescription drug claims.” They help with controlling prescription drug costs by offering less expensive management alternatives such as medication therapy management, mail order services, and other clinical programs. It is a unique practice environment where they require a fair amount of working with teams, thinking innovatively, and writing. As for the Pharmacy Law, there is a lot of problem-solving and being the advocate for fixing unfit or unjust treatments/laws for the patients, which is something I would be interested in doing. The self-assessment can be found on the website :