Confidence will come
Chance Hall is a second-year PharmD and a master of management in health care candidate at Lipscomb University College of Pharmacy.
As a student pharmacist, you may possess a desire to know and understand every medication and disease state. This passion for knowledge is imperative within the ever-changing field of medicine. Like all medical professionals, you must keep up with constant changes in treatment guidelines, research, and laws to do your job appropriately.
The possession of knowledge comes with an aura of confidence. You naturally feel more prepared and confident when you believe that your knowledge and understanding align with faculty and patient expectations. You may feel inadequate at times due to your current lack of knowledge and experience, but I assure you that this is a normal part of progressing into a professional. You are referred to as a “student” for a reason. Your education would be unnecessary if you already held all the knowledge you will need.
Experience is the best teacher
Confidence is not something you simply possess—it is gained through repetition, mistakes, feedback, and experience. Like many others, you may have little practice experience, and that is not unexpected. Before pharmacy school, I had never held a job within a pharmacy. This lack of experience often left me feeling inadequate or insufficient. However, I have learned to use this feeling of inadequacy as fuel that motivates me to continue working hard and to look for ways to get ahead in my classes and on rotations.
The most difficult moments have allowed me to learn and grow the most. I have had rotations where I was overwhelmed by questions that I was unable to answer. An innumerable number of times, I have failed at performing tasks I had never performed before. These experiences are the ones that I can now look back on and think, “Wow, I’ve come such a long way.” I have learned to be grateful for these learning opportunities. Through my self-perceived shortcomings, I have identified areas that I can develop to be a better practitioner for my future patients.
You are not alone
You will have moments in the classroom and on rotations that will make you question your intelligence and possibly whether you belong in your program. You will take exams that make you question whether you even studied the correct subject the night before. You will face many obstacles along the way that make you doubt yourself and your ability.
But it is important to remember that without this opposition, your growth would be minimal or even nonexistent. To grow, you must be challenged. You are forged into the best version of yourself through these difficult circumstances. Remember that you are not alone in the journey to becoming a pharmacist. A countless number of students before you have felt just as you are feeling now, and many students in your current program are also feeling this way. Those before you have overcome, and so will you.
I would like to recognize my mentor, Dr. Robin Parker, for her assistance with this article.