Week #3 Challenge: Eat the Rainbow

Obviously with Gatlinburg and sickness, I haven't been able to do this AT ALL, so I'll try to double up challenges next week (if possible).

Will you try, too?


It's been a while since the last post... or at least it seems like it!

This past MLK weekend, I went to Gatlinburg, TN with my pharmacy fraternity: Phi Delta Chi. We had an amazing time with about 30 of us in a HUGE 3-story wooden cabin. It was complete with 2 hot tubs, a HUGE kitchen (it reminds me of Pioneer Woman's), pinball and arcade machines, movie theater room, and pool table. I could seriously live there.

Every night there was a huge party in the cabin with Brothers from other chapters (it was a Phi Delta Chi retreat) and it was cool to meet a lot of people, plus bond with our own chapter Brothers.

Unfortunately, after many nights of drinking, bad nutrition, and not enough sleep, I got sick. It's the first time i've gotten sick all year though so I guess I'll take it now and not during a whole bunch of exams. At least half of us got sick, so we have dubbed it: Gatlinburgitis.

Totally worth it though :)

And now this is my first (and probably only) free weekend where I don't have any big assignments, exams, etc. to study for. And no CVS!

But it really is the silence before the storm because after this coming week, all hell breaks loose.

Keep you posted :)


Pharm Care Lab

Today was my first day of lab, and I'm excited about the group we have and our TA. As I mentioned before, this lab is nothing like the chemistry or biology labs from undergrad. Here, we learn practical skills, medical terminology, top 200 drugs, compounding, etc.

Today, we did the usual ice breakers (even though we already knew each other pretty much). We also did an exercise in gathering information with a paper chart (practice for our hospital rotations this summer), reviewed how to take blood pressure with the sphygmomanometer, and did our first practice getting a patient's medical history.

It was short and sweet (2.5 hours instead of 4), so I was very happy about that.

Tonight is the first Phi Delta Chi meeting of the semester! We will be discussing the trip to Gatlinburg this weekend. So much fun!!!


Blogilates Weekly Challenge

Since I moved to Chapel Hill, I have been a pretty avid follower of Blogilates. I admit I haven't been keeping up with her workouts lately, but when I do, they are GREAT for those cold days I don't want to go to the gym.

At the beginning of the new year, she started a weekly challenge that I thought I would try to keep up with. I mean, just one task a week? Sounds doable! (She's a little cheesy, but you have to hand it to for committing!)

Last week's was "Clean Up and Tone Up!":

So what I did was cleaned up the lonely corner in our apartment that still had 3 boxes filled with crap we were just too lazy to unpack. Since it had been 4 months, I figured I didn't need them and threw most of them away.

When I cleaned that space, it was amazing how much better the apartment looked, and my mood improved too!

This week's challenge is "Wake Up. Drink Up":

I didn't see this video within 10 minutes of getting up, but I did see it within an hour. Will do it right when I wake up in the morning before school for the rest of this week!

Do you accept the challenge?


Make the Most of Your Internship

One of the student forums on the American Society of Health Systems Pharmacists had a post that said this:

"I was so grateful when I was chosen to be a retail Intern for a large retail store in my area.  I have a limited pharmacy background and thought this would enhance my Pharmacy education.  I spent two summers primarily counting pills and cashing out customers.  When I arrived in the morning, all the techs scattered and the Pharmacist told me to count for a while.  Eight hours later, I was still counting.  On my last day, a temporary pharmacist arrived.  She was amazed I had not done some basic pharmacist's duties.  It is very obvious how frustrated I became during this time.

I agree an Internship should have specific goals for both the Intern and the Pharmacist.  Both should be accountable for what the Intern is learning or not learning."

Having been a pharmacy technician for just over 2 years before being promoted to intern, I felt I had to respond with my 2 cents. I think it's a very important lesson as a professional to make the most of your situation.

When you're in community pharmacy, it's [mostly] all about pushing scripts, making budget, meeting metrics. And while most people feel that in a retail setting, pharmacists are just verification robots that don't use any of their clinical knowledge, that couldn't be more false. In fact, community pharmacists must utilize a much broader range of their knowledge than those in a clinical specialty.

But I digress...

When I was promoted to intern, there were only a couple more additional duties I was allowed to do: prescription transfers, taking phone-in prescriptions, and taking voicemail prescriptions.

However, it's not just additional duties, but the status of Intern and PharmD Candidate that indicates you are a professional. Pharmacists expect you to have the initiative and drive to work at a higher level. You are lucky to be in the presence of your own personal tutor for 6-8 hours at a time. In many instances, your pharmacist is easier to talk to than your professors.

Here is a list of ways to get out of the "technician rutt":
-Come to work with a couple of questions in mind from class.
-Ask about your pharmacist's personal experiences
-When filling scripts, quiz yourself on brand/generic/classes/indications
-When the pharmacist is counseling/answering a question, stop what you're doing and listen
-If a patient asks you a question, practice your communication skills
-When typing multiple scripts for a patient, try to think about their disease states (diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hormone replacement, HIV, etc.)
-Look past "corporate policy" attitude and figure out the health care advantages to them.

As you can see, there are a number of things you can do to make the most of what may seem like a monotonous, repetitive job.

Remember that when you become a pharmacist, in order to effectively lead, you need to know every position.

Might as well start at the bottom :)


Starbuck's on a Sunday

Today, Errol and I are working Sunday together at CVS. On weekend days, there are only 2 technicians and a pharmacist (or in today's case, 1 technician, 1 intern, and 1 pharmacist... sometimes I forget I'm an intern. But because hours were cut at the start of the new year and intern hours had to be used from the store instead of corporate, I start 2 hours later than Errol.

So I took the time to go to Starbuck's to be extremely productive! And it worked. I've done my homework, even done assigned reading, and am on a roll for a very good day.

Yesterday was also a very good day. Spent some money to get a couple of things for the apartment, and I think it's finally able to have guests. Sounds awful I know, but we still had a couple of boxes in a corner that hadn't been put away. We bought a microwave card to place just outside of the kitchen. Now we have more counter space in our TINY kitchen, which is now the new home of my Keurig and Kitchen Aid stand mixer, which had be sadly placed on top of water cooler in the dining room.

We bought an ice scraper for our cars, which I don't think we'll need but Errol insisted on purchasing.

And we went on a nice walk on one of the many beautiful trails in Chapel Hill.

AND we made a pizza topped with mozzarella, artichoke hearts, tomato slices, and salami. YUM.

I love this new version of me, the one who [so far] hasn't procrastinated, is exercising/being active on a regular basis, and NOT BEING LAZY.

We will see how long this lasts, but I'm feeling good!



Worked today from 8am-2pm so I got out at a really good time with my day very free!

So what did I do?

Well, for one thing, I passed out for 2 hours.

Then I looked through my cookbooks, because it makes me happy.

I decided on blonde brownies, but didn't want to make too much so I halved the recipe. The pans I had were too big for my small amount of batter, that resulted, so I put them in my mini cupcake pan. Then I topped them with almonds, which I found to be a yummy touch.

The difference between blonde and chocolate brownies is that instead of chocolate, blonde ones use brown sugar.

Simple ingredients 

mmm buttah (and sugah)

Final Product! 

And while you may be thinking: Erin, what about your pledge to eat healthy? 

Well, that's why they're mini... portion control :) 


First Day of Spring Semester!

This semester started off with a freeze. 

Woke up at 7AM and it was a chilly 19 degrees. Normally, I would skip class until the sun came out if it was this cold, but I'm a professional now! Plus, our first class of the day this semester has mandatory attendance. But that's good for me because it gives me the motivation to go. 

I can't express enough how much of a learning experience last semester was for me. I finally figured out my study method, I paid the price for being lazy and procrastinating, and now I fully understand the phrase "keeping your head above water". 

So this semester I have read each syllabus multiple times so I understand every project, assignment, exam, and quiz. I used to hate knowing my grades and just wanted to do my best for every test. But it's definitely a study-motivator to know the grade you need, and a booster to know if a good grade is still possible. I made an Excel spreadsheet with all of my courses and each assignment with point values. All I have to do is input the grades and my final grade is calculated automatically! I got the idea from my Student Mentor, Whitney. It'll help when I need to figure out what I need to get that A! Haha. 

Screen shot of my spreadsheet. I'm so proud of it! 

Here's a short summary of each of my classes this semester: 

1) Pharmaceutical Care Lab: 2nd in the 5-semester series. In this class we learn top 200 drugs, medical terms, calculations, compounding, counseling, and much more! Lots of work, but we learn very valuable skills and knowledge. 

2) Pharmaceutics 2: Last semester we learned a lot about diffusion and physical properties (hydrophilic vs. lipophilic) properties that affect drug absorption, along with an introduction to different drug delivery systems. This course will emphasize the different dosage forms (tablet, capsule, vaginal suppository, rectal suppository, nasal sprays, ophthalmic and otic drops, transdermal patches, etc.) and how drugs get into the system with each different form. 

3) Biochemistry 2: Last semester, we learned about proteins, energy utilization in the cell, and lipid synthesis (among other things). This semester will emphasize gene therapy and drugs related to that. Drugs have shifted from low molecular weight molecules to monoclonal antibodies. We will learn about challenges to this. 

4) Pharmacodynamics: Our first taste of pharmacokinetics. We will learn about how drugs process and eliminate drugs through liver, kidney, cytochrome P450, etc. Sounds interesting and different. 

5) Intro to Pharmaceutical Care: Our first exposure to the Pharmacotherapy that we'll get in full force next year! We will learn how to do SOAP notes and how to interview patients in preparation for OSCE's. 

This semester promises to be MUCH harder than last semester, so the gloves are off! 

I pledge to:
1) Not be lazy
2) Go to class
3) Prepare for class beforehand 
4) Don't procrastinate 
5) Eat healthy 
6) Get enough sleep

What do you pledge to do this semester? 



Very glad that I didn't get to work today! Spent the day at a friend's apartment where I brought my stand mixer and she introduced me to baking from scratch. While baking, we enjoyed a nice Gator Bowl game. She went to Michigan and therefore HATES Ohio State, and I'm a Gator so... duh.

We made baby lava cakes; it was really easy!
This was my first time using the stand mixer! Very entertaining to watch :) 
Plopped the "lava" into the chocolate batter. 

After 13 minutes, voila! Just plop onto a saucer and top with vanilla ice cream 

Since the oven was on anyway, we made these: 

Place Hershey's Kisses onto a pretzel and heat at 350 degrees for 2 minutes. 
After 2 minutes, place an M&M on top and push the Kiss down flat. 

And now... off to the gym. 



Being this far away from home, it's inevitable to miss it from time to time, especially during the holidays.

With my second semester of pharmacy school looming, I feel winter vacation drifting away and stress coming to replace it.

Last night I celebrated New Year's Eve at a friend's place. It was my 3rd new year with Errol, which was nice, but it was my first year being away from home.

There's always a huge party at home and I missed it for the first time ever :(

I really love it here, but there are times when I miss being around fellow Gators and around family where I can feel like a daughter again.

Sometimes I just wish that I could just have dinner cooked for me and not have to clean it up afterwards.

My family a couple of minutes after midnight, with me on the phone.
Our latest family portrait...