It’s Summer!

Hello Blog Readers!
Sorry that is has been forever that I have updated my blog as usual.  I thought summer would be a little bit less crazy and I would have time to write more- not the case.  I have been been pretty swamped with rotation, work, projects and travel for the past month or so.  That said, I definitely prefer this kind of busy compared to ‘school busy’- which entails  assignments, tests, quizzes and studying; I feel that was an entirety ago . So what have I been doing this whole time I haven’t been writing on the godogblog? Well I’m sitting on an airplane right now to go to California and have all the time in the world (more like another 4 hours) to tell you all about it. I’ll start with once we got out of school;

After a fairly draining finals week to cap off an in general fairly draining semester (that is PD2 year for yah!), I had a nice week where I was able to get my life back together and do normal people things such as get a haircut, work a few 8 hour shifts, and lay around watching TV. Well needed break!

Starting on May 23rd, I did my IPPE rotation at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.  I work at the University of Minnesota Medical Center on the East Bank, where I spent about half of my time throughout my three-week rotation.  It was a little strange walking around my worksite NOT in scrubs (but also not getting paid either…sad life). That said, I got to shadow all sorts of cool clinical specialties on the east/west banks such as the neonatal ICU, psychiatry, cardiovascular ICU, Pediatric ICU and surgery which is totally different from what I see when I work and an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.  I loved talking to all the pharmacists in these areas, hearing what types of patients they care for, and learning about different drugs for these unique patient populations. Overall, it was a great rotation and I am so grateful I was able to get into Block 1 into this site last moment to accommodate the CTSI Advanced Pathways research program I will participate in later in the summer to accompany the research I will be conducting at Regions Hospital on Bupropion toxicity for my Melendy Scholarship.

Throughout this entire time, I was also fairly busy preparing for a class a teach called “Preparing for the PCAT” at the College of Continuing Education.  This is a six week course that helps aspiring pharmacy students prepare for surprise surprise, the PCAT. This is my second year teaching the class so it has been exciting to help further develop with the insight I gained from last summer. For instance, this year we rolled out a Moodle site (and I know understand why so many Moodle issues come up in class!) and also created interactive clicker questions for our slides to help reinforce topics.  While a ton of work , I am lucky to have a rock-star co-instructor, Karen, and a great group of students to help keep me motivated! It is crazy to believe that my last class is this next Wednesday.  Teaching this class has definitely been one of the most challenging experiences I’ve had in pharmacy school but I have learned a ton and it will definitely will help me with any teaching I hope to do in my future.

The day after my rotation ended, I hopped on a plane to go to the ASHP (American Society of Health System Pharmacists) annual meeting in Baltimore.  You know when you have one of those spontaneous YOLO moments and drop several hundred dollars on something you hope will be worth it? (or maybe you are financially responsible and don’t know as well as I do). Well,  that was exactly how me deciding to attend this conference was.  I’m pretty sure I was in the trenches of second semester, probably deep in the kidney or Fick’s law, when I decided that I was going to go to Baltimore for the ASHP summer meeting.  Usually a lot of my classmates attend the ASHP midyear meeting in December but the summer meeting, which is a little (actually a lot) bit smaller and is focused on the specialties of ambulatory care, medication safety, informtatics & technology and pharmacy,practice& policy, is usually less attended.  However, I am very interested in pharmacy informatics so decided I would likely benefit greatly from attending this meeting this year since I can’t say for certain when the meeting rolls around next June (actually in Minneapolis!) that I won’t be in International Falls on 4th year rotation.

LITERALLY the best choice I could have ever made.  Three of my classmates and I were the only students from Minnesota attending, but we were sure living the dream in Pharmacy world (which is very small, in case you haven’t hear before). We have amazing pharmacy leaders from Minnesota such as faculty member and immediate past president Chris Jolowsky, and new ASHP president Lisa Gersema who is the director at United Hospital.  A whole host of other hospital pharmacy directors and managers from the area attended the conference as well so we got wine and dine with all these leaders in Pharamcy as we all enjoyed the sessions, receptions and hearing Lisa Gersema’s inaguaral speech! I was able to meet several informatics pharmacists on both a local and national level and have a few shadowing experiences lined up as a result.   I also had never been to Baltimore so had no idea what to expect- however, it was a beautiful city with great restaurants and scenery. I left the conference with so much inspiration and pride for my profession, and so much excitement for my future Can’t really put a dollar sign on that.  Moral of the story…. When you have a choice to go to a conference or not…. Just do it. Because of conferences I also have valid excuses to go to Florida, Vegas and San Francisco in the next year.  What else are loans for?

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My classmates and I, with new ASHP President Lisa Gersema who is the pharmacy director at United Hospital in St.Paul

As I mentioned the impetus for my decision to go to Baltimore was my interest in pharmacy informatics.  While I am not sure exactly what I want to do with it yet, I think whatever career path I take I will be able to apply my knowledge of the area.  I just applied for the Masters of Health Informatics Program at the U of M that I’ll ideally finish within the next year, before I get my PharmD degree.  I took a few of the classes last semester and despite adding to my course-load to make everything a bit more stressful, the classes, which are conveniently all online, are very interesting and have great faculty that were very supportive and helpful in my studies.   There are are few formal dual degree programs such as the MPh/PharmD and MBA/PharmD.  This is not one of the formal dual degree programs so I’m sort of going rouge on this, but luckily a few of my PD3/PD4 colleagues have taken this path and can give me guidance.

The most… uh… questionable admission requirement for me has been that all applicants must having coding experience. As a pharmacy student and biology-nerd for life, I may be able to tell you all about side-effects or pharmacodynamics of codeine, but coding? Who do they think I am?   But despite never in my life ever thinking I would have to learn to code, here I am, trying to learn to code. Since getting off of school I’ve taken on a few projects at work and the Phillips Neighborhood Clinic that allow me to have practical applications for my struggle-bus ride into the world of programming, and I must say it has actually been pretty fun (in the nerdiest way possible) despite the fact I usually don’t ever know exactly what I’m doing until I look at least three different online help-forums and get at least 10 error messages.  But that moment when your code works is pretty awesome and it’s a good way to help exercise my brain during the summer so it doesn’t turn to mush.  I also realize the infinite possible applications for knowing how to do this in literally any job I could have in the future so I’m not complaining.   Hopefully come time for my MHI coursework in the fall I’ll be a PROgrammer.

A few days after I went to Baltimore I drove up to Duluth with two of my good friends for Grandma’s half marathon…. This has been quite the worldwind of a last few weeks!   One of my favorite parts of summer is that I can make running fairly high up on my priority list and not feel bad about it. During the school year I wouldn’t be able to sustainably run 50 miles a week and “lift” (in quotes because I don’t lift much) 3 times a week without some serious damage to either school, work or sleep so I relish summer time in that I can run to my heart’s desire.  Despite having pretty low expectations for the race since I hadn’t had enough weeks of good training under my belt as I would like, I nearly matched my fastest time ever that I did almost two years ago.  I’m running the Twin Cities marathon in the fall so my fitness now definitely bodes well for October 9th!  Even though pharmacy school sometimes makes it hard to train as much, or as high-quality, as I want due to not having enough time or feeling sleep deprived, I’m proud of myself for doing a good enough job of maintaining fitness during the year so I can still approach peak shape when I want to for specific races. I credit much of my motivation to work-out during the school year to all of my classmates that I see at the gym doing the same thing! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that feels that the 1 hour of exercise I lose to my day I gain back in the fact I am a 49014209842190814 times better and happier person because of it.

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Proud half-marathon finishers on a very warm and sunny day in Duluth (yes, Duluth can get warm)

So that is what I’ve been up to. Fun stuff.   I’m so glad I have 2 months of summer remaining.  After I get back from California, I’ll be doing research at Regions Hospital and participating in the CTSI Advanced Research Program.  I’ll also be training for the Twin Cities Marathon with the goals of 1) 2:59:59 or bust 2) recover full function of my lower extremities in 50% less time than last time (so 3 days vs. a week!). Overall, looking forward to the rest of the summer and definitely will be sad when it ends- but looking forward to meet the new PD1s and the fact this will be my LAST classroom year ever… so crazy.

Go Class of 2018!

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