Meredith Mead, winner of SingleCare's Best Pharmacy Mentor, discusses her inspiring outlook on mentorship within the pharmacy profession.
Mead: I graduated from Wilkes University, which is in northeast Pennsylvania, that's where I'm from. And I graduated from pharmacy school there in 2008. I was always interested in math and science in high school, and so that's kind of how I got into that subject, studying that in school.
I worked in a drugstore when I turned 18, which was a CVS, and that's still currently who I work for now. I worked there all through college as an intern myself, and then I became a pharmacist upon graduation. And for the past 7 years, I've been the pharmacy manager.
I've had about 10 students that have been interns beneath me for the past 12 years that I've been a pharmacist: all different types of people, all different backgrounds, and they've led in all different directions in their life, too. But they were all super motivated. They were really outgoing and were people that wanted to learn and wanted to be there.
They took away everything that I taught them and use that in whatever avenue they went down when they graduated. They work in academia, some of them are doing residencies right now, so they went in all different paths. But I feel like what I taught them, they took away and used that in their own way.
I'd say first and foremost, no matter what, I work on patient care every single day. I drive that into them that patient care is the number 1 thing that they need to be focused on when they're there. Making those personal connections with them, making them feel like this is this is where they need to come if they have any questions, if they need anything, that they don't feel uncomfortable approaching us. And then just giving them the best service that we possibly can.
Reviewing current drug therapies and using those and implementing them into the conversations that we have with patients.
The schools do a wonderful job of preparing students for the real world. But they also need that 6-year mentorship where they are actually coming into a store and learning the hands-on skills. That's where we come in. They come in after school and on the weekend. It's a part time job, but it's also a really great learning experience.
They have somebody that they can turn to and feel comfortable asking questions. They learn the things that they don't teach you in school, they learn practical skills like vaccinating. Right now we're doing COVID testing. They learn how to counsel patients and feel comfortable. Once they have covered those topics in school, I allow them to give recommendations on over the counter products to patients that come in.
So these are things that, yeah, they practice those in school somewhat, but here they can do it all day, every day for years and years and feel comfortable doing it, so when they get out in the field, they can just streamline right into their position as a pharmacist.
There's just been so many changes overall, in the past 12 years that I've been a pharmacist. Current topics right now, like the pandemic that we're experiencing, I mean, these are all things that are kind of touching go. I never thought that we would be doing COVID testing, because I never even expected that to be something that we would be dealing with right now.
In the future, I see that we're going to be doing a lot more vaccinations, which is exciting because it's different than just the monotonous day to day filling of prescriptions. Counseling and adherence conversations as well. I feel like that's also a direction we're going to go in: trying to connect all the dots with the providers, the patient, making them aware and making them more educated on their disease states and being that connecting factor.
I was just so excited surprised and proud to be selected for that. I didn't know what topic they were going to be selecting me for, they just told me it was going to be a pharmacist award. And when I found that out, I was just ecstatic, because not only does that mean that some people took the time to choose me for that, but also that everything that I've instilled in them, they appreciate and they're going to use.
Everything that I do for my patients is going to be amplified through my students and their students and their students. They're going to be passing on best practices that I've showed them.