September 2018 OPA Extern Profile: Jessica Ward
Pharmacy School: Cedarville University School of Pharmacy
Undergraduate degree/institution: Bachelor of Science, Pharmaceutical Sciences from Cedarville University 2016
Rotation Month at OPA: September 2018
How did you get interested in the profession of pharmacy?
Healthcare was an early determination. From elementary school, I wanted to spend my life helping people. The job title fluctuated widely from neurosurgeon to drug research and development. What ultimately sparked my passion for pharmacy was an interaction I witnessed between my cousin-in-law, in her final year of pharmacy school at the time, and my grandmother who had an extensive medication regimen. I watched the pharmacist-to-be perform, what I now know to be, Medication Reconciliation and within a few minutes determine changes that could simplify my grandmother’s regimen and relieve several medication-related side effects. My cousin-in-law had not yet completed school, but was already able to mobilize a highly specialized knowledge base to change a life. Needless to say, I was sold then and have been since! My passion for pharmacy has only grown through my years of training as I have seen the amazing ways pharmacists impact people, communities, education, legislation and each other.
Why did you choose OPA as a rotation site?
Advocacy is an essential element of professionalism, in my view. I wanted to take the opportunity during APPEs to solidify this as a “rhythm” of practice for myself. From a management perspective, I wanted to see all that goes on behind the scenes to mobilize the diverse group of pharmacists in Ohio toward common aims. Navigating the legislative realm was not something I had felt confident in but this rotation was a great opportunity to get up-close and personal with the legislative process and helped build my confidence. Last, but very far from least, was the chance to work alongside and learn from such influential people in our profession.
What was the most significant or surprising experience at OPA?
There were two significantly empowering experiences during the rotation: teaching medication safety to third graders in my hometown and engaging my senator about two bills I had researched and passionately support. These were powerful opportunities because they allowed me to take ownership of my knowledge and my place within the profession of pharmacy in a new way. I intend these experiences to spur me on to service in areas of which I might not initially consider. One thing that surprised me was how slowly pharmacists are coming to see themselves as public health professionals. It is exciting to hear public health popping up more frequently in conversation, but I wish pharmacists were more aware of their opportunities to serve their communities! The most wonderful part of the rotation was the people. The Ohio Pharmacists Association staff is family. They welcomed me in with open arms and I am especially grateful to come out of the rotation knowing them.
Why I think it’s important to maintain my OPA membership after graduation.
Ohio is a truly excellent state for pharmacy. We have wonderful organizations advocating for us, a wise Board who support sustainable progress, and pharmacists who work vigorously to develop our profession to ensure optimal care. The Ohio Pharmacists Association supports and unites every pharmacist in Ohio. No issue is outside of their purview; no niche is too small for their consideration. They bring everything together to advance our common goals. OPA supports and collaborates with all Ohio pharmacy organizations. No matter the practice site, we are one team- one “pharmily.” Not only this, but there are many things that go on behind the scenes to support and grow pharmacy practice from a legislative and regulatory perspective. It can be easy to disengage from these areas of our profession, but OPA makes it easy to plug into every part. Remaining an active member of OPA will keep me connected to the heart of pharmacy practice in this state.
What other pharmacy associations/organizations do you belong to?
- The American College of Clinical Pharmacy and Ohio College of Clinical Pharmacy
- The American Pharmacists Association and Ohio Pharmacists Association
- The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and Ohio Society of Health-System Pharmacists
Listening to music; cooking and baking; hiking; exploring (near or far); discussing anything and everything with friends; spending time with family; reading; and anything coffee related.