on…Oncology

Two days just flew by – they were spent close on the heels of a vastly experienced oncologist and a clinical pharmacist in a regional cancer treatment center.

I was privileged to observe the profession and get a first hand feel for what practicing in the field of oncology entails. For many months now I’ve been leaning towards, even dreaming of, this obscure and shapeless vision of what I want to be and what I want to use my PharmD for. I envisioned a sharp, intelligent pharmacist whose expertise was focused on cancer treatment, prevention, and research. She would work in a clinic: building relationships with patients, advising doctors, wielding her knowledge in a skillful way that makes others feel at ease. But there was a problem with this vision – does it actually exist? Is there someone, somewhere, doing what I just described? I didn’t know if there was, but the last two days have confirmed it! I can legitimately work towards being an oncology clinic pharmacist – they do exist.

Now that I have something definite to work towards, a plan of action, and a field of combat, I feel much more motivated and capable. It’s not so different a feeling from that of a cancer patient…there is an initial apprehension and fear at having cancer, but once a strategic plan is put in place, the patient’s resolve snaps into place and a resilience evolves in their spirit that is fully capable of withstanding all the tests and treatments and surgeries.

I’d like to shadow a few more oncologists in the coming years, perhaps a few pharmacists, and I’ll start reading everything about cancer I can get my hands on. I need to understand this beast if I’m going to conquer it.

On a tangent, there is the issue of health professional’s health. If we are not healthy, we cannot care for patients adequately, therefore we must keep ourselves functioning well in order to best care for the patient. I am more aware of my health as a result of the past two days. We live in a nation that relies on mass produced eggs, meat, pesticide laden produce, etc etc…products that create nutrient deficiencies, physiological abnormalities, and all manner of economic chaos. I want to work toward being an example and an encouragement to patients.

Over the next couple days I need to decide what my preferences are for summer practice experiences. Where, when , who…we’ll see.

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