The value of leadership in pharmacy school and beyond
Matthew A. Rozic is a final-year PharmD candidate at Duquesne University School of Pharmacy. In the photo, Matt (on the right) visits the Pennsylvania State Capitol.
Like most students who get accepted to pharmacy school, you probably had some experience in leadership throughout high school and your years as an undergraduate student. There is great value in any leadership position or experience you had previously, but your leadership should not stop once you start pharmacy school. In fact, your time as a leader is just beginning. Whether you are a community pharmacist, clinical pharmacist, or any other type of pharmacist, you are a leader in your workforce.
Step out of your comfort zone
You will find great value in getting involved early in your pharmacy school career, even if it makes you uncomfortable. Not only do you learn and grow the most by being uncomfortable, but you will flourish over the years as you step outside your comfort zone and learn how to become an efficient and effective leader. You will also see improvement in your public speaking and presenting skills by talking to fellow members of your organization or other students within your school of pharmacy. As a result, you will become much stronger in your ability to counsel patients and give presentations during coursework, while on APPEs, or during residency.
These are intangibles you learn only through leadership experience. Putting yourself in uncomfortable situations that help you grow and improve will make the difference between being an “okay” pharmacist and a “great” pharmacist.
Becoming a leader within pharmacy school or outside organizations will allow you to surround yourself with people who share the same motivation and end goals: to maximize themselves as student pharmacists who continually look for ways to grow and to encourage growth in their fellow student pharmacists, however they can. Surrounding yourself with other leaders will take you great places personally, scholastically, and professionally.
Opportunities beyond pharmacy school
Leadership does not stop at your school or college of pharmacy. For example, there are numerous opportunities to get involved as a leader who gives back within local community service and inspires other student pharmacists to follow suit. Moreover, you can learn valuable leadership qualities by attending and being active at state or national meetings where you will see firsthand leadership embodied in the individuals or students hosting the events and how they carry themselves. Many state and national organizations have leadership positions and are constantly looking for students to get involved in various ways. It may seem like a lot of work at first, but the benefits and takeaways from the leadership experiences and lessons learned are worth the time.
Most important, these leadership positions open you up to meeting many new people and making lifelong connections with those you work alongside. I have met some of my best friends through organizations I am involved in and the leadership positions that I have held, and I look forward to continuing the relationships formed throughout my professional career. I urge others to get involved for the same reasons I did. You will not regret it.