A prescription for writing as a student pharmacist
Write every day, and make it a point to read daily, too. Why? The answer is simple: to fill up on knowledge is humbling. It is necessary for aspiring student pharmacists to adopt such an approach to daily living. You have been told countless times that lifelong learning awaits. Regardless of practice setting, you can expect to be called upon for the latest in medication therapy. But there will come a time when there are no classrooms or required readings—you will be a self-sufficient pharmacist.
Much like journalists are accountable for following developing stories, so too are pharmacists. Recognize that pharmacists are only as well-equipped to champion their causes as these health care heroes are up to date on the latest advances. Otherwise, the pharmacist’s availability provides patients with access to what, exactly? It should be the goal of every pharmacist to empower patients, for it is only then that patients are able to take responsibility for, and control of, their health. One way to look after patients is to read daily and write regularly.
Make your voice heard
The written word sparks conversation. Not only that, but it stands as an accountability check outside of university and college walls. Much-needed reflection on the ever-evolving world of health care is yet another benefit. Through writing, one may reach health professionals far and wide. Be mindful of how you write—grammar, style, and tone should all be kept in mind. You never know who might read your work.
Join existing conversations, as you need not always start your own. Embrace the opportunity for your voice to be heard—especially by those who might not otherwise listen. Know that it is never too early in your career to write and be published. Publication opportunities are even available to near-graduated, action-taking go-getters. A prescription for writing need not be one for published work; however, it has long been argued that published student pharmacists graduate better prepared to tackle a variety of responsibilities, ranging from patient education to public health advocacy, in contrast to their nonpublished counterparts.
Be a disseminator of information
To learn to read well is to learn to write well, and to learn to write well is to become a better communicator—a disseminator of information. With better communication the quality of patient care improves, and that is always the ultimate goal of the engaged pharmacist. Consider that it is writing that often serves as a catalyst for action and progress in health care.
Whether or not you plan to pursue a career in medical writing, graduating as a published author will open countless doors. Know that you, too, can adopt these healthy reading and writing habits, practiced by the best of pharmacists. So, do as prescribed, or file this prescription away for later use: If you have long been putting pen to paper ... write on!
You can get started on your journey by submitting an article to Student Pharmacist. Contact Editor Tom English at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Aisa Mrkulic is a third-year PharmD candidate at the St. John’s University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.