Wenjing Zan submitted 2020-06-03

Like most of high school graduates, the struggle of coming up with a decision about one’s professional path is unavoidable. Similar to my peers, I had been masked in confusion prior to finally deciding on pharmacy to be my career goal as I enter college. Various reasons contributed to this decision, however, the definitive reason for my choice is a personal willingness to be of service to the community.

In my college years, I found an unparalleled interest in the sciences, thereby, affecting my decision to pursue a medicine-related career. After completing all my prerequisites at Mount San Antonio College, I transferred to the University of California, Irvine as a chemistry major since I believe that obtaining a degree in this area would provide me with sufficient knowledge base as an aspiring pharmacist. The reason I choose pharmacist over physician is because I want to provide long-term personal treatment and guide patients as they complete their physician visit. Likewise, the alarming statistics stating that medical error, including prescription errors, is the third leading cause of death in the United States factored in my decision to become a licensed pharmacist. I recognize that pharmacists assume the responsibility to ensure that all patients get the proper treatment and medication. I still remember the first time I put on my white lab coat for my chemistry lab. Even though it is not technically a white coat for pharmacists, I still felt proud and responsible.

Becoming a pharmacist entails a diverse skill set as I learned from my visit to inpatient and outpatient pharmacies in Kaiser Permanente when I was a sophomore. This experience gave me a better understanding of the duties of pharmacist and makes me more certain to become a pharmacist. Having observed the long queue of patients waiting for their prescriptions, I understood that pharmacists are responsible for the provision of accurate and safe medication for patients who long to feel relief from their pains and ills. It is amazing to see the pharmacists discuss medication interactions and side effects without hesitating. I understand the path to become a pharmacist is tough and long, however, my passion for pharmacy has helped me overcome many obstacles and pursue the PharmD program. During the junior year at UCI, I self-studied for PTCB exam and obtained the pharmacy technician license while taking 16 units classes in order to obtain a deeper understanding on pharmacist.

In addition, a pharmacist possesses effective communication and leadership skills in order to provide high-quality service. This is where my previous experience in the fast food and retail industry could be one of advantages, as these industries give high attentions to customer service. Forgetting the mayonnaise on a burger is devastating. In the same way, delivering an incorrect medication to a patient is equally distressing. Since the mission of pharmacists is to serve the community, the importance of maintaining a good relationship with patients is a priority. This would not be possible if pharmacists have zero appreciation for excellence in service quality. As such, customer service in pharmacy is equivalent to genuine care for patients, especially those who have chronic diseases. During my experience at the Prime Formula Pharmacy, I saw firsthand how depressing it is to see the passing of lives. It was then that I gathered that pharmacists could offer help in order to make families who lose their loved ones stronger. Furthermore, leadership and teamwork are required in the practice of pharmacy. I learned this through the URS Pharmacy where I currently work, as they require us to read a book about leadership and present what we learned in a weekly meeting. Because of this task, I understood how teamwork is critical in upholding an efficient working environment in a pharmacy.

In essence, my past experiences working in and out of this industry strengthened my desire to pursue pharmacy as a profession. I believe that with proper training, I would be able to acquire the credibility, confidence, and other skills required to become a pharmacist who could be of service to the community. The PharmD program is the stepping stone as I reach for my aspiration to help patients and the general community enjoy healthy lives. Ultimately, I believe that my passion, experience, and academic rigor have inevitably led me to this path.