Growing your grit to emerge as a leader
Amidst a pandemic, student pharmacists are enduring the challenges of learning and applying clinical knowledge in an environment unlike anything anyone has experienced before. The current situation has presented an uprooting of all previous plans that has resulted in the questioning of how to move forward with intended goals. The ability to grow through this time of uncertainty may be the exact adaptive factor that will mold you into the exceptional clinician you have yearned to become. This is the year to grow your grit.
In an April 2013 TED talk, author and researcher Angela Duckworth describes grit as: “Passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina … grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” According to a May 2017 American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education (AJPE) article,
higher scores on the Grit-S scale also coincide with student pharmacists who attain postgraduate training positions. So, what kind of qualities does the gritty pharmacist focus on?
1. Critical thinking. As described in a March 2019 AJPE article, this involves a progressive approach of effortful thinking, model behavior, scaffolding of activities, and challenging of assumptions. Developing this skill in online or face-to-face courses, and on rotations, gives you an opportunity to become a better clinician.
2. Self-awareness and reflection. It is imperative to know yourself so that you can explain your motives and passions to others. Take pauses in your journey to assess where you are and where you want to be. The ability to identify your own dreams will help you to genuinely exude that passion around others in your work and life.
3. A growth mindset. The view that skill and intelligence are built by one’s ability to advance through adversity and remain devoted to goals through both victories and defeats. Whether in the classroom or navigating through rotations, this mindset will augment your resilience factor and allow you to learn in any environment.
4. Gratitude. Building a pattern of thankfulness can alleviate the burnout you feel in times of stress or rejection of goals. Focusing on what makes you grateful to be in pursuit of this profession will help you persevere through obstacles. The ability to transform a chaotic and uncertain situation into a beneficial one will be a driving force for continued success.
Riley O’Donnell Turner and Jovin Lezeau are final-year PharmD candidates at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, Orlando, and Morgan Leavins is a final-year PharmD candidate at the University of Florida College of Pharmacy, Jacksonville. The authors would like to acknowledge Stacey Curtis, PharmD; Shannon Miller, PharmD, BCACP; and Erin St. Onge, PharmD, for their assistance with the article.