Hi everyone, my name is Mai Pham. I'm a student at UC Davis applying to pharm school. Please provide comments or help revise my personal statement below. I look forward to receiving your help. Thank you.
"Everything will be okay, Father."
I stood by my father's bedside, embraced his hand and shared with him a few words of comfort. He laid there unresponsive, and time seemed to freeze in the last twenty-four hours. My father had suffered a severe heart attack the night before and was recovering from bypass surgery at O'Connor Hospital. His life changed significantly since the operation, and so was mine.
Outside of our family doctor, I was my father's main caregiver and therefore was driven to learn about his medical condition and treatment. As my father's health steadily improved, he had to cope with a different set of problems, in particular the side effects from his laundry list of medications. It was disheartening to see the growing frustration on my father's face. He blamed the drugs for his muscle aches and frequent bleeding without understanding that the drugs kept his heart healthy to this day. "Surgery was the solution," he argued, "not drugs." Part of this problem stemmed from a lack of communication with his pharmacist due to language barriers. A recipe of motivation and patience was key to getting my father to adhere to his medical regimen and make healthy lifestyle changes. As I became increasingly involved with my father's health, I gained a deeper appreciation for how much pharmacology had touched my life and those around me. In caring for my father, I had planted and slowly nourished the "seed of pharmacy" in me.
While studying at Chabot College, I began to explore my interest in pharmacy by enrolling in the Pharmacy Technician Program at Boston Reed College. I found learning pharmacology to be practical and stimulating and therefore did not mind the trouble of balancing schoolwork between two different campuses. At Boston Reed, I fell in love with the science of pharmacy; the way in which each drug interacts with the human body at the molecular level is truly beautiful. I also had the opportunity to practice the art of pharmacy during a summer internship with Dr. Pransanthi at Target Pharmacy, where I prepared and dispensed drugs to patients to help alleviate their illnesses while getting a taste of what the field of pharmacy entails. Watching Dr. Pransanthi in practice helped me appreciate how important the pharmacist is to a health care team. The pharmacist not only educates patients about drug use, safety and side effects but also maintains close communication with primary care physicians to ensure the best care. As a pharmacy technician, I cherished every patient interaction but wished I were more directly involved in patient care and education on a daily basis. This was my inspiration to continue my training and pursue the Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
I often reflect on my experience caring for my father to see how I would shape my future career. Fortunately, for most patients medication is a straightforward solution. For patients with complicated illnesses like my father, however, drug therapy can present a new battle dealing with adverse side effects, costs and non-adherence. This is when the science and art of pharmacy come to life. It will take great interpersonal communication skills from me to motivate patients and gain their trust. It will also require that I collaborate with other health care providers to find the appropriate course of treatment to manage the disease without compromising quality of life. This is the heart and soul of being a pharmacist and is something I look forward to in my career. I strongly believe effective communication translates to quality care. In my practice, I will devote my time talking to patients because I care whether they are taking their medications appropriately, using alternative medicines, or exercising and dieting. There are other reasons that excite me for a career in pharmacy. Research and pharmaceutical development is evolving at a fast rate, with drugs coming in and out of the market, thus highlighting my role as a future pharmacist to keep patients and physicians informed. Finally, as the medical community pushes in the direction of personalized medicine, teamwork between pharmacists and other interdisciplinary professionals cannot be overemphasized.
Looking back, I have taken very small steps in nurturing my dream of becoming a pharmacist, from the moment when it was just a seed of interest to now preparing to bear fruits and flowers. A career in pharmacy would allow me to continue learning and exploring what I love most-the science of pharmacy-while making a positive impact on the lives of my patients-the art of pharmacy.