Featured PILs Ambassador:
Whitney Strong, PharmD, RPh
Community and Transitions of Care Pharmacy Specialist
Who/what inspired you to pursue pharmacy?
The person that inspired me to pursue the field of pharmacy was my father. As a daughter of a former Naval Officer, I was always told to select a profession that would make a difference in someone’s life. My father gave me the idea of pursuing pharmacy when I was in high school and set up for me to shadow a local pharmacist in our community.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your area of pharmacy practice?
The most rewarding aspect of being a community pharmacist is knowing that you play a vital role in impacting a patient’s life. As a community pharmacist I am the last interaction a patient will have after being discharged from the hospital and the most accessible healthcare professional for the treatment of acute illness. I spend a great deal of time recommending over the counter treatments for both the adult and pediatric patient populations. I take pride in making sure each patient is informed and feels comfortable with the medications they are receiving.
At what moment did you realize you were a real pharmacist?
The moment I realized I was a real pharmacist was during the aftermath of hurricane Harvey. I had just received my pharmacist license and was bright eyed and ready to save the world. Thousands of patients were without medications and were looking to me for answers. I spent hours tracking down prescriptions and getting emergency orders from physicians that were lifesaving.
Which prominent figure, past or present, leadership style do you admire and why?
The leadership style I most admire is former first lady Michelle Obama. I admire her ability to command a room with such grace and elegance. Her commitment to education and healthy living is something that I can relate to and something I mirror in myself.
What particular aspect of your field/specialization do you foresee drastically changing in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years, I see the area of community pharmacy transitioning from dispensary focused to more emphasis on patient outcomes. As we speak, law makers are pushing for pharmacist to be able to perform point-of-care diagnosis and treatment for symptoms of flu. With provider status always the topic of conversation, I feel the accessibility of community pharmacist and the trust our patients have in us presents a unique opportunity for advancement in our profession.
Interview by: Onye Ononogbu, PharmD. Dr. Ononogbu is a staff writer for The Package Insert.