Have you ever been curious as to what a day in the life of an AACP APPE student is like? So have we!
The American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy is proud to announce that they are now accepting applications for APPE students who wish to complete a rotation and find out more about association work. Dr. Jennifer Adams, Senior Director of Strategic Academic Partnerships at AACP, is the primary preceptor for student pharmacists for the duration of their APPE rotation. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you may have about the AACP APPE or related topics.
*For rotations occurring in the fall 2013 and spring 2014 time frame, AACP will accept applications until Nov. 1, 2012. All applicants will be notified by Jan. 30, 2013 of their acceptance status.
This blog will serve as an innovative forum for students to post their weekly reflections about their experiences at AACP and provide unique insight into the great work that the association does for academic pharmacy. Feel free to post your comments/feedback/suggestions and we look forward to sharing our journey with you!
My name is Alexandra Varga and I am a fourth-year student pharmacist from Notre Dame of Maryland University School of Pharmacy. I began my journey of Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs) in May with an open mind knowing that my time was running out to determine what I wanted for my future. After each week in pharmacy school I would experience something new and change my career path. From research, to ambulatory care, to oncology, to academia, to association management, my mind was constantly spinning. As a student pharmacist it often feels like the clock ticks significantly faster and the impending confusion about the future is persistently present. With that being said, one cannot complain about navigating through the seemingly limitless possibilities of career paths. It seems that every day a new opportunity presents itself for pharmacists to make an impact not only on patients but on the healthcare system. In just one week here at AACP I have experienced a multitude of interesting areas of association management ranging from participation in a debriefing regarding trade policy to involvement with the National Council on Patient Information and Education (NCPIE). In addition to learning about the variety of areas of pharmacy involvement, I met with the AACP senior staff to discuss their unique career paths. I spoke with my preceptor, Dr. Jennifer Adams, who worked her way up the career ladder by engaging in each of her positions and creating opportunities for her future. I spoke with Dr. Lynette Bradley-Baker who originally dreamt of working in a community pharmacy until she realized the broader impact she could make through her time serving on the Maryland Board of Pharmacy and as the Vice President of Public Affairs and Engagement at AACP. Dr. Cecilia Plaza is the Senior Director of Academic Affairs and she arrived at her current position through a significant amount of hard work and mentorship. Meeting all of these amazing people, I started to think about how they ended up in their current positions. Walking around the well-kept AACP office building, it is not uncommon to see people working diligently in their offices, meetings taking place in the conference room, a friendly conversation between two coworkers, but the one thing that catches my eye is the personalized list of strengths outside of everyone’s office space. Thinking back to all of my meetings, it occurred to me that each of their career paths have been guided by their personal strengths. Jen is an activator who is not afraid to take action when it is needed; Lynette is an achiever who constantly seeks opportunities to accomplish tasks; Cecilia is very positive allowing her to overcome all challenges with optimism. The strengths of each person are clearly seen in the stories of their lives. Keep in mind; these strengths were not arbitrarily assigned. Each employee at AACP has taken the StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment to determine their individual strengths. I had the privilege of taking this assessment prior to my first day for this rotation. The purpose of StrengthsFinder 2.0 is to allow people to focus on the things that they excel in as opposed perseveration of their weaknesses. According to Tom Rath, after concentrating solely on improving weaknesses, you are only trying to become something that you are not meant to be. My top five strengths recognized by this assessment are learner, individualization, restorative, achiever, and relator in order, with the strongest listed first. So the big question is…what do these strengths mean for my future and how did they get me to where I am today?
With all of this information, I made my decision. I will no longer stress about my future. While I still do not know the exact title of my future career, I know which direction I need to go to get there. Years ago I never would have planned to be sitting in the AACP office writing this blog and yet, here I am. Despite my detailed life plan, deviations are inevitable and necessary.
My challenge to you: Allow yourself to be guided by your interests and your strengths. Don’t be hesitant to sit and think about what your strengths may be. No matter where you are in your life, you have everything you need to succeed. If you are diligent and hard-working today, opportunities will be created for you tomorrow.