What do you visualize when you hear the word “pharmacist”? A lot of you would probably think of someone working at a retail pharmacy, but there so much more involved in the career than most people realize. In fact, there are certain challenges in the medical field that pharmacists are uniquely trained to address. In this episode, Dr. Richard Marn brings in his sister-in-law, Elizabeth Marn, PHARMD, BCPS, BCACP. Liz works as an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist at the Swedish Medical Group, Ballard Primary Care Clinic in Seattle, Washington. She has a wealth of experience in providing care to patients as well as in teaching pharmacy students. Listen in to learn about the real work that pharmacists do, the different pathways to pharmacy school, what the typical pharmacy school curriculum looks like and other things that you need to know if you’re considering a career in pharmacy.

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Beyond The Counter – The Non-Retail Aspects of A Pharmacist’s Career With Elizabeth Marn, PHARMD, BCPS, BCACP

Here’s a question. When someone mentions the word pharmacist, what do you think of and visualize? I have been fortunate to have worked with many and know of a number of pharmacists. When someone mentions that word, I still often think of someone working at a retail pharmacy such as CVS, Walgreens, Duane Reade, or any other similar drug outlet or store. In this episode, however, we are going to learn that a pharmacist can be involved in a lot more different parts of healthcare than you may have initially realized and that they may actually be taking care of you, your parents, your grandparents directly, and maybe not even realize it.

In this episode, we’re going to talk with Elizabeth Marn. She goes by Liz. She has been a pharmacist since 2012. She first got her Bachelor of Science degree at LSU or Louisiana State University. She received her Doctorate degree in Pharmacy at the University of Tennessee. She did her postgraduate training in ambulatory care and academic pharmacy at the VA Medical Center in Indianapolis, Indiana, but holding several positions such as assistant professor and ambulatory care clinical pharmacist. She has worked in Indiana and Hawaii. Liz works as an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist at the Swedish Medical Group, Ballard Primary Care Clinic in Seattle, Washington. As a clinical assistant professor with the University of Washington, she has a wealth of experience, not only providing care to patients but also teaching pharmacy students. Let’s get to meet Liz.

Welcome to the show, Liz.

Richard, thanks for having me.

I’m happy you’re here with us. For our readers, Liz is my sister-in-law. She’s married to my younger brother, Ryan. Suffice to say, Ryan is fortunate to have a wonderful partner like yourself just to make it public. Liz, can you please share with us what exactly your occupation is and what you do?

Generally speaking, I’m a pharmacist and the more specific description of what I do is that I’m a clinical pharmacist working in a doctor’s office. I work in just a regular doctor’s office family practice internal medicine. For a lot of our readers, that’s probably similar to the type of doctor’s office that you’ve gone to during your years when you were growing up. Most people think when they hear the term pharmacist, they think about pharmacists who may work at a retail pharmacy, such as Walgreens or CVS who is more involved in the processing of medication orders and dispensing of those medications. My type of pharmacy practice is in the clinical side where I help the team members who I work with other physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals. We work together as a team to come up with the best medication therapy for our patients. I don’t dispense any medications and it’s a very rare day that I’m handling medications.

What is your day-to-day like then in this setting?

Day-to-day, I go to work. I work the usual hours 7:00 to 3:30 or 7:30 to 4:00. That’s my typical working hours and I go to the clinic. Our clinic has about eighteen providers, those providers are mostly physicians, medical doctors, but we also have a handful of nurse practitioners and physician assistants. We also have me the pharmacist and we have a behavioral health therapist or a clinical psychologist. That’s the clinical team at the clinic and typically, my day is split up into three main buckets, I would say. One of those is direct patient care. I have appointments with patients, which I can talk about a little bit more. They either come in physically to see me and I see them in an exam room or sometimes we do shorter, more concise visits over the phone.

The second bucket is serving as a drug information specialist for the clinic. Lots of times, some of the team members who I work with may have a question about a medication or say, “I’m thinking about using this medication for this reason, can you help me up with the dosing?” Maybe they get a question from a patient, a medication-related question that they’re not sure quite what the answer is. They may come to me with those questions. I’m serving as a resource to the other providers that I work with. The last thing would be the committee work that I do that is for the health system. The clinic that I work in is part of a larger health system that involves other doctor’s office clinics around the Seattle area, as well as the hospitals that we are connected to. There’s a lot of different committees that I serve on as the pharmacist representative. The breakdown of my days involved in one of those three areas.

You’re seeing a lot of patient-to-patient interaction. You’re helping them with their drug, especially if they’re having multiple drugs or medications that they are prescribed. You’re helping them manage that. Is that what is appropriate?

When you help your patients succeed their health goals, you also share their joy in celebrating it. Click To Tweet

I can talk a little bit more about that. The typical patient population or type of patient that I see are older patients anywhere, I would say on average from patients who are in their 50s up to their 80s and 90s. There are pharmacists, just as a side note, who may specialize more in the pediatric arena, but that is not my specialty area. My specialty area is for older patients who have what we call chronic diseases. Things that don’t crop up just on one day where they might have a sore throat or they might get acutely ill for a few days.

I’m dealing with patients who have heard chronic diseases like elevated blood pressure, which is called hypertension or elevated blood sugar values, we can call that diabetes. If they have breathing problems like COPD or asthma, there’s a huge number of chronic diseases that any one patient may have and lots of patients have multiple chronic diseases. These chronic diseases are oftentimes managed with medications. The role that I play is helping come up with an individualized medication therapy plan for each patient because there’s not just one medication for one disease state that each patient with that disease state will take. There are lots of things you have to consider such as what you already alluded to, the other medications that a patient may be on, is it safe for them to take them together? Are there interactions that we need to be aware of?

Lots of medications need to be processed through the kidney or the liver. We need to make sure that that patient’s kidneys and liver is acting appropriately in order to process the medication. If they do have kidney or liver problems, we may need to do a dose adjustment for certain medications. Another thing I look at is the cost of medications, which is a big concern for a lot of our patients. We may have the best medication in the world to treat a certain condition, but if it’s not affordable for the patient, then it’s not much help to them. Another big area I work in is what we call Medication Adherence. That means how well the patient is taking the medication as it is intended to be taken because the medication is only useful if the patient is taking it correctly. Things that I can do is help the patient come up with a medication schedule and tips and tricks to help them remember to take their medications, not only on time but in the right way to get the best effect from those medications. Also, minimize the side effects that they may experience.

Liz, what is a misconception that you think people have of pharmacists? Also, what are the different environments in which a pharmacist can work in?

The biggest surprise that people have when they learn about the profession of pharmacy is because it’s not yet commonly understood, I would say on a public level that pharmacists do more than retail pharmacy. When you’re in a pharmacy school, which is a post-graduate program after undergrad, which we can talk a little bit more about so you can understand. Similar to med school and other healthcare professional programs, there are a lot of different experiences that those students can get involved in to see what type of pharmacy practice they are interested in pursuing. Just like when you went to medical school, I’m sure you had to do a certain number of set rotations and then you could sign up for certain rotations that were in your interest area that eventually led you to pediatric anesthesiology.

For pharmacy, there are a lot of different avenues that one can take to pursue a career in pharmacy. There’s the traditional dispensing role, which is the retail pharmacist. I want to comment that they do much more than just dispensing and there’s a lot of clinical information that’s going on in a retail pharmacy arena. Those pharmacists will get the orders from the doctor’s offices, and they will process them. Based on their knowledge of their patients by looking at other medications that those patients are on, if they see an area of concern or they know the patient and they know, “This medication is not going to be a good choice for that specific patient,” they can call the doctor’s offices and discuss, “I was thinking maybe this alternate medication might be best.”

When the patients come to the pharmacy to pick up the medications, they can also spend a lot of time with the patients to counsel them and make sure that the patient is comfortable taking their medication. That’s a retail pharmacist. Non-retail pharmacist is pharmacists who may be involved in an area like I am in a doctor’s office, or they may be working in the hospital. As you imagine, when a patient goes into the hospital to be admitted for a few days, they are having medications provided to them from the hospital. There needs to be a pharmacy within each hospital and pharmacists working in that pharmacy who are processing those orders for when the patient is in the hospital.

There are what we call clinical floor pharmacists who are also on the hospital side, what we call the inpatient side while patients are admitted to the hospital, who may work in the ICU or they may work in the medical-surgical floor. They do rounds. If you’re familiar with what rounding means, when the team of doctors go each day and see each of their patients who they’re assigned. All the people walk into the room, one of those people might be a pharmacist because the pharmacist is looking at the status of the patient from the day before. How are things going? Do we need to adjust any medications? As a team, the pharmacist, the nurses, the physicians, social work often is involved, they will discuss what the best next steps for the patient are. There are pharmacists involved there as well. There’s a bunch of other types of pharmacists as well that are a little bit more nuanced. There are also pharmacists who work in long-term care facilities like nursing homes, who help those patients manage their medications. There are lots of different areas that one can specialize in similar to physicians.

Besides having a deep knowledge of medications prescribed and over the counter, I would presume you would also have to have a deep understanding of things consumed by the patient, such as homeopathic substances or herbal remedies. Could you tell us a little bit more about that?

That is such an important point. I’m glad you brought that up because lots of times, when we ask patients, “Tell us what medications you’re taking.” Nowadays, with what we call electronic health records where everything is online, lots of times we see a full list of patient medications prescribed by various providers in various areas. It’s more helpful in allowing us to see that full list, but lots of times that list is still not complete because when we ask a patient, if we’ll go through that medication list and say, “Is this accurate? Is this correct everything you’re taking?” Lots of times they don’t think about some of the items you mentioned, like supplements or natural products that they may also be taking which can very well interact with some of their prescription medications.

HCDM 6 | Pharmacist Career

Pharmacist Career: It’s not yet commonly understood on a public level that pharmacists do more than retail pharmacy.

 

Also, regular over-the-counter medications, things like Advil and Motrin. Those for some patients are high-risk medications that we absolutely need to know about if they’re taking them. I’ll give you one example. Lots of patients are on a class of medications called blood thinners to help in their blood because they may be more prone to having thicker blood that can clot. If we’re trying to prevent a blood clot, which ultimately could end up as a stroke, if it ended up in the brain or if it went into the lungs, it’s what we call Pulmonary Embolism. If we’re trying to prevent that from happening in a patient, we might put them on a blood thinner. Other things that can thin the blood are things like Advil. If a patient is on a prescription blood thinner plus they’re taking Advil, that can put that patient at high risk of having blood that’s way too thin and having them bleed internally, which is the opposite and a different type of problem. When a patient is prescribed a new blood thinner, something that I might do is meet with that patient, tell them all about the new medication but also remind them, “This is a blood thinner, so that means you should not be taking any over the counter blood thinners like Advil.”

Is there a favorite part of your job?

For me, and the reason why I chose to pursue my specific type of pharmacy, which is called Ambulatory Care. All that means is that patients are ambulating, so walking into the clinic and walking out. It has nothing to do with an ambulance, which is what I thought when I first heard that term. Another term for that is Outpatient Care. Patients are not admitted to the hospital. They’re just coming in for a 30 to 40-minute appointment and they’re going home. Sometimes the most challenging parts as well are the amount of interaction you get to have with patients. For me, I enjoy working with patients. When I’m working with a patient under that referral system, which I described, I don’t just meet with them once. I, at the minimum, will meet with them over the course of three months. At the longest years, however long it takes to get their disease state, whatever I was referred for under control.

During that time, as you can imagine, if you’re meeting with someone on a monthly basis for 45 minutes at a time, over the course of 6 to 9 months, you get to know that person well. Most of the time, we’re spending in the appointment talking about their medications, how things are progressing and discussing any changes we need to make. There’s also a time where I get to learn about what’s going on in their life. I get to learn about their families. What are the sources of happiness in their life? What are the sources of challenges and struggle? You get to know your patients well. I would say that is one of the highlights, because then not only do you get to know them well but then when you help them succeed, you share in their joy of succeeding for their health goals.

Liz, is there a particular moment that you can think of where in your career, in your job, or I’m sure there are many moments, is there one that stands out or that you would like to share that is related to your career?

Yes, as you said, there are many moments. I have been fortunate to work with some amazing patients throughout the years. You get to know them and that is one of the highlights for me. I would say one patient who comes to mind is a patient who I work with in my practice here in Seattle. He is a patient who has diabetes among a few other things. He’s probably 73 or 74. He has struggled with uncontrolled diabetes for a long time. One of the things we worry about with someone who has uncontrolled diabetes over the course of years and even decades is the consequences and repercussions that it has on the body.

We’re worried about the kidney, dealing with all that extra sugar for a long time that can hurt the kidney. It can hurt your nerve endings that are exposed to that higher sugar content. It can cause what’s called peripheral neuropathy, where people have a hard time feeling their toes and their feet, which may lead to further complications down the road. Another important nerve ending that can be damaged by higher blood sugar values is the optic nerve. Some people have vision problems related to diabetes. This individual had had diabetes for a long time but wasn’t doing the best job of controlling it. Not finally, but he eventually started having some of these complications that we’re trying to avoid, which was around the time that I got to meet him and start working with him.

Through the time that I’ve been working with him, which is almost several years, we’ve optimized his medication therapy. We’ve gotten his blood sugar values under control. One of the labs that we use to assess control in diabetes is something called Hemoglobin A1C. We have his Hemoglobin A1C at the level that is now considered controlled. He’s been able to lose about 50 pounds. Not only is he healthier from a diabetes perspective, but he’s also doing everything he can to prevent further progression of those kidney and nerve problems that we discussed. He’s also feeling a lot better about his health and physical health, as well as losing 50 pounds. He feels a lot better and he’s able to do some things that he wasn’t previously able to do. That is not just a huge success for him but also for me to be a part of his journey in regaining his health, because who knows how long he has left? In theory, he could have another twenty years of life left, if not more. He is going to spend however long he has left in a more enjoyable lifestyle than he was prior to getting things under control.

How does that feel to you to be part of that?

It’s great, especially the amount of time that you spend working with the patient, there are a lot of ups and downs. It’s not a straight journey. It wasn’t like we started working together and every appointment after that was an improvement. It’s a couple of steps forward, a few steps back. In order to be a part of someone’s journey and ultimately, their success is a great feeling.

A big part of being a pharmacist is the need to communicate with the patient about how to take their medications appropriately. Click To Tweet

Liz, shifting gears a little bit, is being a pharmacist something you had thought about doing for a long time, even when you were in high school?

It was not. Specifically being a pharmacist was not on my radar. I always knew that I might end up in the health professional field, but I wasn’t specific to pharmacy. I don’t have a specific moment when I said, “Pharmacy is the way for me.” It was more of a gradual learning about different health professionals, probably the process of what a lot of your readers is going through now, talking to people and learning what different jobs are like. I don’t remember the moment when but somehow, I landed on this pharmacy path. To be quite honest, now that I know what I know about pharmacy, I realized how much back then when I committed to going to pharmacy school how little I knew and understood. Fortunately, it turned out to be something that I ended up liking and was a good fit for me. It was a gradual process, I would say.

What are the different pathways to get into pharmacy school from high school?

The answer to that question is it depends. There are lots of different paths and lots of different programs. In 2020, if you are going to pharmacy school, it will be a doctorate level degree. The reason I say that is because it was not always a doctorate level degree. Many years ago, and I’m not sure exactly when things started to change. There was a Bachelor’s of Pharmacy and then even a Master’s degree but now any Pharmacy program is a doctorate level degree. What you need to do to get into that program will vary based on the program you’re applying to. The path I took, I went to an undergraduate for four years and earned a Bachelor’s in Biology, then I applied for a four-year pharmacy school doctoral program.

Some programs offer what they call a fast track PharmD program, where you may have anywhere from 1 to 3 years of undergraduate prerequisites, so courses that you need to take as requirements in order to get into the PharmD program. It will merge into the PharmD program within the same school. One of my colleagues, who I did residency with, did a six-year program. The first two years were undergraduate level courses. Science-related courses, you’re sharing those classes with a lot of pre-med students because there’s a lot of overlap. After those two years of prerequisites, she moved into the PharmD portion of the curriculum. She never earned an undergraduate degree but she did undergraduate coursework for two years and then went into the PharmD whereas I did four years of undergraduate coursework. I got a degree, I got my Bachelor’s and then went to the PharmD curriculum. There are a few different ways to go about it. Most traditional PharmD curriculums are four years. There are a few that are three years that go year-round like you don’t break for summer. Traditionally speaking, it’s a four-year graduate program.

How competitive is getting into a PharmD program?

I would say it’s fairly competitive, like a lot of different healthcare professional programs are. You need to have a strong foundation in science. There’s oftentimes at least for pharmacy schools, I think this is the case for most healthcare professionals. There is an entrance exam that you need to take. For medicine, it’s called the MCAT. For pharmacy, we call that the PCAT. Depending on how you do grade-wise in your undergraduate coursework, as well as what your score is on the PCAT, and then a few other items that the school may look at, they will have you come for an in-person interview. For me, those interviews, if I remember correctly, were full-day interviews. It’s not just one 30-minute interview, but you’re applying yourself to go to a graduate-level program for four years of your life. It’s a big decision, not only for you but for the college who’s going to accept you as well.

Liz, can you describe what the typical pharmacy curriculum is like?

For me in my curriculum, the first year, we take classes called Pharmacology, where we’re learning about the different medications and what we call drug classes. We may have a number of different types of medication that can treat certain conditions. Within those drug classes, there are a number of different individual drugs that we need to learn about how they are the same and how they slightly differ. We learn about how they work in the body. That’s something that we call mechanism of action, how exactly do we get the effect of the medication. We learn about side effects, dosing, and patient counseling. That’s the first year. We also take a class called Medicinal Chemistry, where we’re learning about the actual molecular structures of the medications and how different parts of those structures results in either how the medication works, or sometimes in a side effect that the medication may have. That’s mainly the first year with a few other patient counseling types of classes as well.

I’ve never heard of patient counseling as a curriculum. It’s not familiar to me.

HCDM 6 | Pharmacist Career

Pharmacist Career: There are lots of different pathways and programs to a career in pharmacy. Nowadays, it is usually through a doctorate level degree.

 

For pharmacists, that is a huge part of being a pharmacist, no matter what arena you work in. Ultimately, at some point, you are going to be needing to communicate with the patient about how to take their medications appropriately. Learning how to talk to a patient about taking medications, there is a certain approach that you are trained to take to get the most thorough medication history in order to make sure the patient understands the appropriate thing. For example, in patient counseling, we use what’s called a teach-back method. Instead of just saying, “Mr. Jones, here’s your medication. Take it with food at 7:00 PM every day. It may cause a little dizziness. Pay with your credit card here and you’re good to go,” and send them out the door.

You’d be talking to Mr. Jones about the medication and explain all the possible side effects. In the end, you say something like, “Mr. Jones, just to make sure I did my job as a pharmacist and explained everything correctly, can you tell me how you’re going to take this medication and tell me what things you’re going to be looking out for?” You have the patient tell you back. That’s where oftentimes you can assess, “They understand or we need to go over this again because they didn’t quite get it.” There’s also patient counseling with actually demonstrating how to use a medication. For medications that are not just pills that you take, but let’s say an insulin pen. You need to show someone how to inject themselves with insulin or how to use an inhaler in the correct way. You would be surprised by the creativity of some patients and how they like to use inhalers.

What do you mean by that?

For example, this is not my story, but my best friend who is also a pharmacist. She was counseling a patient once on proper inhaler use and she was doing something similar to the teach-back method where it was more of a demonstration method where his COPD was not well controlled. He was on all the right medication. In theory, it should have been controlled. She said, “Show me how it is that you’re using your inhaler.” It was one of the HFA inhalers that you press and it produces a fine mist that the patient should hold their lips tight around the mouthpiece and inhale. What this patient was doing, first of all, he was holding it upside down and pressing the canister so it would spray mist into the air and then he sucked it up with his mouth. He was not applying his lips around the mouthpiece.

He was snorting it and breathing it through his mouth and nose.

That was a good example instead of adding another medication because we think what he’s on isn’t working, it’s like, “Let’s help this poor guy use the medications that he already has correctly and it might work.”

I presume his care is significantly improved.

It did.

Liz, if you could go back and do anything differently along your career path, what would you do?

For me, I would pursue more education on the business side of things because my undergraduate was a degree in Biology. It was lots of math and science. I may have taken a 100-level Economics class, but I didn’t take any business classes as an undergraduate. In pharmacy school, there is one class, at least in my curriculum, a management class, but it’s also elementary level and does not provide a strong foundation of the business side of things.

If you can do something that you enjoy and you bring joy to others by doing it, that’s a successful career. Click To Tweet

For me, if I could go back and do it again, what I would have pursued, and one thing we haven’t talked about yet is the residency training that I did after the PharmD curriculum, which we can talk about more. Some residency programs offer both a clinical residency experience, which is what I did. They also offer a secondary degree like an MBA, Master’s of Business Administration or an MHA, which is a Master’s of Health Administration. I wish that I would have done that, not necessarily because I want a different job than what I have now but just for my basic understanding of the business side of healthcare. We spent so much of our time in school and honestly in our job as well based on the clinical information. Also, it’s important to have a good understanding of the business side of how systems function and how they are successful from a system level, the finances of it, the staffing, the administration, all of that. I have gained information over the years just from working, but I would have liked to have more formal training in that.

What was your age when you finished all your training with pharmacy school?

For me, what I call my first big girl job after I finished residency, I was 28, so ten years after graduating high school.

For people interested in learning more about your career, what resources do you recommend they look into, maybe read about or organizations to belong to? What can you recommend for that?

If someone is interested in becoming a pharmacist, a good place to start would be this one organization, which is it’s called the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. It’s for pharmacists. It’s an organization for people who may teach in the pharmacy profession, but they also have information there for prospective pharmacy students. It talks about getting into pharmacy school, and the variations like we discussed that may be for different individual programs, the prerequisites and things like that. That’s one organization.

I’m not entirely sure if a membership is required or not. I believe some of this information for pharmacy school admissions is opened to the public, so that would be a good place to start. Another thing that I think would be helpful for students who are already in an undergraduate program, there’s oftentimes a pre-med, pre-health professions, or pre-pharmacy program at that college. For me, I was involved with one of those programs at my undergraduate school. I can’t remember if it was specifically pre-pharmacy or if it was pre-med, but they allowed other health profession students in. That’s a good way to learn because oftentimes, those clubs at school will have guest speakers, or they may introduce prospective students to resources that they may have not otherwise heard about. Most undergraduate schools should have some pre-health profession club. That would be helpful.

Liz, you’ve been doing pharmacy for a number of years now, what changes and challenges in your career or your occupation do you foresee and expect in 3 to 5 years from now or even 10 years from now?

The situation that we’re all living through this pandemic has been an eye-opening experience as far as how healthcare looks. As we know, worldwide, there is some aspect of stay at home orders. We’re trying to limit how much people are coming in to the clinic to see their providers. What that has forced us to do, which has been a long time in the planning but slow to action, it’s amazing how a pandemic can hurry the speed to action for something like this. It is to explore what we call telemedicine. What that means is, you’re either doing a telephonic, over the phone visit with your provider, or what seems to be more effective is a virtual visit where you can see and hear your provider from your home.

Obviously, there are still going to be situations where a patient needs to physically come in to clinic to see their provider. We can’t eliminate the need for in-person visits altogether, but there are a lot of opportunities to do things virtually. Historically, one of the biggest obstacles to that has been insurance coverage and insurance reimbursement. Lots of times before this pandemic, insurance companies which is how doctors’ offices get paid for their services, are either not reimbursed or reimbursed at a lower level for non-in-person appointments. There was a big draw to have people come in person for things that may not necessarily need to be in person.

The incentive wasn’t there.

HCDM 6 | Pharmacist Career

Pharmacist Career: If someone is interested in becoming a pharmacist, a good place to start would be the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

 

This is separate from some things that obviously have to be in person. If there’s a physical assessment or if you’ve broken your ankle and you need someone to lay hands on you, that will always be an in-person visit. For things that are more conversation-based type of appointments, which for me, that’s primarily what I do. It’s rare that I lay hands on a patient. I will take a patient’s blood pressure or maybe prick their finger to get a glucose sample. Apart from that, I am not laying hands on patients often. It’s much more conversation-based.

This pandemic, maybe one of the silver linings from it, is that we are now as a health system and as a country figuring out how to do virtual medicine. This will improve access to care. Lots of times, patients who may want to come in can’t because maybe they can’t drive or maybe they cannot afford to take transportation to come in to see you. Maybe they don’t want to take the extra time because there’s traffic and they don’t want to deal with that. This may help improve access to patients who previously may have not had that access. That’s something that I look forward to seeing once this pandemic is controlled. It will be interesting to see how outpatient family medicine practice evolves in the virtual sense, whenever that may be.

Is there anybody that inspired you or inspires you now?

Yes, there is. My dad who you got the chance to meet at our wedding. He passed away years ago. In addition to being an outstanding father and generally just a human being, I found him to be successful in his professional life as well. He was a teacher. He taught for 38 years. He started off teaching Science, and then that role slowly evolved into teaching computers and technology. He added an administrator role for information technology in his later years. He did a nice job of bringing his full self to not only his students who he taught over the years but also his colleagues. Over the course of his career in his retirement, he had many nice stories of students who are now adults who said that he shaped their individual careers because he had a unique gift and ability to make people feel heard and supported. He gave his full self when talking to somebody.

Anyone who’s ever met him can attest to that. Something that I admire about that is that he didn’t have a working self and then out of work self. He did a nice job of working effectively with his students, his colleagues and he did something that he loved. For me, what that means is, can I be the best human being I can be and treat my patients with respect and make them feel like they are getting that respect that they deserve? Can I bring my full self to my colleagues who I can work with and make them feel like we work well together? Also, am I being true to myself and doing something that brings me happiness? Not to say that there weren’t moments during his career when he was still dressed and work was a challenge for him because that’s true in any career. If you can do something that you enjoy and you bring joy to others by doing it, that’s a successful career. He did that wonderfully.

Liz, thank you for being a guest on the show. I appreciate it. It’s been great to have you.

Thanks, Richard. I’ve enjoyed it too.

That was Dr. Elizabeth Marn, a pharmacist. Thanks for joining us on this episode. If you want to reach out to Liz, please email her at Elizabeth.Marn@Swedish.org. Our next episode is about an awesome person and friend of mine. She is a neurologist. She has a unique skillset that few neurologists have in this world. It has to do with the brain. We’re going to talk about her unique skill that helps patients among other interesting things. I hope you tune in for that wonderful episode.

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About Elizabeth Marn, PHARMD, BCPS, BCACP

Elizabeth Marn graduated from The University of Tennessee receiving her PharmD. She is a practicing pharmacist at Swedish Ballard Primary Care.