Lauren Silus

Major: Natural Science
Year of Graduation: 2003
Graduate School/Program: University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy (Pharm.D)
Current Job Title: Clinical Pharmacist

Please give a brief description of your current position. 
I am a clinical pharmacist at a large teaching hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I work in the Intensive Care Units, rotating through Medical ICU, surgical ICU and trauma/burn ICU.  I am a drug specialist for the fellows, residents and medical students.  I spend my days rounding with the physicians, reviewing patients' medication profiles, verifying medication orders, monitoring patient's laboratory values and response to medications.  I am available for questions from physicians, nurses or patients and their family members.  I also am asked to search the literature for current recommendations on drug therapies.  Because we are a teaching hospital, I am a preceptor for pharmacy students and pharmacy residents.  I teach the students about being a hospital pharmacist and review topics relevant to the critical care pharmacy. 

What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
I started pharmacy school after completing my degree at St. Ben's.  I graduated after 4 years at the University of Minnesota College of Pharmacy and wanted additional training to work in a hospital setting.  I was accepted to the University of Minnesota Medical Center (UMMC) hospital pharmacy practice residency program.  This is a one year program that provided additional training and opportunities important for a pharmacist who wants to work in a hospital setting.  I decided to pursue an additional specialty residency in cardiovascular pharmacotherapy.  My second residency was at the University of New Mexico Health Science Center and College of Pharmacy.  My second year included both inpatient and outpatient opportunities for learning, including seeing patients in a heart failure clinic.

What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Pharmacy is a great career if you are interested in healthcare and want more flexibility that some of the other healthcare professions don't allow.  Pharmacy is an ever changing career, whose role in the healthcare team is evolving.  A hospital pharmacist has the ability to interact with physicians, nurses, physician assistants and patients, while being challenged every day.

Choose the profession because you want to educate people on medications.  You will receive a thorough education in physiology, chemistry, critical thinking and people skills.  Study your chemistry, biochemistry, physiology and public speaking while an undergraduate!!  These subjects are critical to being a good pharmacy student! Shadow a pharmacist if you are wondering what we do.  A hospital pharmacist is much different from a retail pharmacist that is different from an ambulatory care pharmacist.  So check it out!

What skills are important in your field?
Attention to detail, communication, compassion, desire for continual education and learning

What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career? The classes required for completing my BA degree prepared me well for pharmacy school.  At St. Ben's and St John's, take every advantage of healthcare associated events so you can see the many opportunities in healthcare to see where you best fit.  I would also recommend shadowing pharmacists in different settings to see what their days are like.

What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
Making recommendations or answering questions that help a physician make the best medication decision for a patient.  Teaching patients about their medications so they understand why it is so important to take them.  The variety in my day keeps me challenged and excited about my job.