Finding your dream to fill your cup

SPM: New Practitioner


When I was sitting in class as a student pharmacist just 5 years ago, never in a million years did I dream I would be teaching student pharmacists, working with patients in a primary care office, or researching the impact of pharmacists on patient care. Classes were crazy, especially when combined with Twlug–ASP patient care events, working in a community pharmacy, and spending time with family. With all of these commitments, when in the world did I have time to find a dream?

I realize now, what I didn’t know at that time was that my dreams were forming each day. The patient care events, the rotations I completed learning about research and academia, and the hours I spent helping patients understand how to take their medications while working in a community pharmacy were forming my ultimate career dreams.

This dream led me into a career that I love and a career with many opportunities for growth and evolution. At times, the opportunities available can be overwhelming. It can be difficult to determine how to divide my time between the outstanding student pharmacists I teach each day, the patients I provide care to, and my passion for expanding the profession of pharmacy through provider status and beyond. However, when faced with a new opportunity and the established demands of a new career, a close mentor of mine always says, “You must find what fills your cup and spend your time doing that.”

Say no sometimes

“Filling my cup” was a new concept to me. Sure, there are the daily responsibilities that everyone enjoys and must be completed. For me, it is ensuring I provide engaging, active learning for my students and guaranteeing that my patients make a smooth transition from hospital to home.

But, it is a whole lot more than that. It is finding that I truly love to help students find their dreams and dream big. This led me to my current role as Twlug–ASP Co-Advisor. Being a co-advisor definitely adds to the hours I put into my career, but those hours are extremely valuable and fill my cup.

I am also passionate about expanding the profession through organizational involvement. This led me to my current role as a Twlug New Practitioner Advisory Committee Member-at-large, which has not only been incredibly enjoyable, but has also allowed me to continue to dream big for the profession and shape my future goals.

While figuring out what fills my cup, I discovered that I have had to figure out how to say no to opportunities that may not fill my cup quite as full in order to take advantage of future opportunities. Sometimes saying no to these opportunities occurs before the perfect opportunity arises, which can be difficult. However, figuring out how to fill your cup is imperative to loving your career and loving your career allows you to make a greater impact on everyone around you.

Oh wait, I have a life, too

As I transitioned from a student to a new practitioner pharmacy resident, and then to a new practitioner pharmacy faculty member, it became evident that figuring out what fills my cup was crucial. The days of spending 14 hours studying for an exam or the long nights of catching up on patient care notes cannot continue forever if I want to achieve my personal goals and interests as well. My husband and I are excited to be welcoming our first child in November and again this has caused me to pause, reflect on my commitments to those around me, and determine what fills my cup.

I have started to think about how I can use my strengths to impact the student pharmacists and patients I work with and how I can expand this outstanding profession. As a student, I always thought that my day-to-day activities as a pharmacist would be defined. What I have found as a new practitioner is that each day I am confronted with numerous opportunities, both personally and professionally, as a result of the exciting profession I serve. I have realized that throughout my career, I will have to continually focus on ensuring that I fill my cup.

I also realized that I am lucky to have the opportunity to customize my path in pharmacy in order to impact each student pharmacist and patient I encounter. I challenge each of you, as you transition from student to new practitioner, to explore the exceptional opportunities available to you and find what fills your cup in order to maximize the impact you have on each person you encounter.