October 2022 OPA Extern Profile: Nicole Gula
Name: Nicole Gula
Pharmacy School: University of Cincinnati
Undergraduate degree/institution: Kent State University
Rotation Month at OPA: October 2022
How did you get interested in the profession of pharmacy?
When I was growing up, I was always spending time with my grandpa, and he would always take me to the local family-owned pharmacy in Howland Township. The pharmacists all knew him and me by name because of helping with my grandpas’ various blood pressure medications. Those trips then led to me growing up and my grandpa receiving more medications to help his disease states. As I grew, I valued the knowledge of the local family pharmacy and the care they provided to not only my grandpa as a patient, but also me as a care provider for him. From that moment on, I grew a true interest and passion for pharmacy. I then began researching all the opportunities it provides and how to make that my future. Every day since, my interests and passions have grown for pharmacy, and I am so excited to provide to my community what they had to my family and me for all those early days in my life.
Why did you choose OPA as a rotation site?
I have been involved in OPA and APhA-ASP through all 4 years of my pharmacy school career and I have enjoyed having such a strong association to represent us as student pharmacists and throughout the career. With all my experiences and being chairs on the associations during school, it is so empowering to advocate for this career, and for OPA to always be rooting for us. I applied to have a rotation at OPA without much background of the rotation, but knowing the experience I would receive would strengthen my knowledge in pharmacy policy, advocacy and skill sets different than any normal rotation would. This is a unique rotation and I have enjoyed the opportunity to network, learn and build amazing connections day by day.
What was the most significant or surprising experience at OPA?
I had the opportunity to experience a pharmacy visit to Essentra Pharmacy, an independent pharmacy in Morrow County, where the Ohio Department of Medicaid team to view the Single Pharmacy Benefit Manager (SPBM) integration into practice after October 1st, 2022. As this is the first SPBM to be implemented in the nation, this was a very unique experience to hear the teams of OPA and ODM come together to work on this SPBM to be the best it can be. I also had the opportunity to attend the Ohio State University Pharmacy Advocacy Symposium, an Ohio Board of Pharmacy meeting, and present to a local 1st grade class on Medication Safety.
Why I think it’s important to maintain my OPA membership after graduation.
I believe it is important to maintain my membership after graduation because of how much OPA does for our profession. Between many committees, the executive board, and the new practitioner experience committee, there are so many ways to get involved in advocating for all areas pharmacy. OPA serves as a middle ground to all areas of the profession, and they serve to advocate for us and what experiences we are going through and how it can advance.
What other pharmacy associations/organizations do you belong to?
Aside from Ohio Pharmacists Association, I am a member of American Pharmacists Association, American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Phi Lambda Sigma and Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity.
In my free time I love to golf! I have been playing since I was in 5th grade, and it is also something that my grandpa got me interested in. I enjoy going to cycling workout classes and when I am not busy with school/ rotations, going home to Warren, OH to see and play with my two nieces.