The Student Perspective: Year 3

Jaimie, UCSF PharmD Class of 2023

Hometown: Occidental, California

Road to PharmD: I have a background in psychology and was inspired to pursue a career in health care by my sisters. One is a nurse and the other is a geneticist. Before I applied, I first got my pharmacy technician license, because if I’m going to commit myself to getting a PharmD, I wanted to know if I liked the subject matter.


Making connections

I have a wonderful connection with my student advisor Julie Reed. She is a counselor, a confidante, just somebody to bounce ideas off of. Being able to have someone within the school to confide in and trust with my struggles and concerns has been relieving. I have always felt like she engages without judgment and gets my viewpoint when we’ve had meetings.

Also, I’m a little bit older, and I’ve struggled to connect with my peers in their twenties. It’s just different stages of life. A few of us came up with this idea of forming a group of some of the older students, and we call ourselves the Council of Elders.

Conducting original research

For the Discovery Project, our group decided to do pharmacology research on a drug to treat brain tumors. I studied psychology in undergrad, so I’m especially on board with anything to do with the brain.

We investigated whether there were certain genetic factors in patients associated with the efficacy of temozolomide, a chemotherapy. A couple members of the group reached out to different labs, and we connected with one that shared their data from an adult brain tumor study that’s been going on for decades.

I think that the idea of your genes having an impact with how medications work, whether fewer side effects or better efficacy, is really important in pharmacy. Ultimately, our findings were inconclusive, but our manuscript could help other scientists who are pursuing similar avenues of research.

Hands-on learning in clinic

I’m in the North Bay location for my advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE). It has been great, albeit overwhelming at times, integrating what we learned in class with actual practice. I have been fortunate to work with preceptors who are invested in teaching future generations and who take the time to make sure I understand what is happening.

Working in the intensive care unit (ICU) is like a puzzle. It was surprising how much I enjoyed it. You have to follow your patients closely, track how they are responding to the treatment, and think critically about their care every step of the way.

In ambulatory [out-patient] care, which seems like the best fit for me, you work closely one-on-one with the patient. You not only teach them about pharmacologic interventions but also lifestyle modifications, which I feel strongly about incorporating into patient care.

Future aspirations

I have always had ambulatory care high on my list of where I see myself, but rotations have shown me how much I enjoy acute care, especially ICU. So now I’m thinking I might spend a decade in acute care and then transition into ambulatory care.

Ultimately, wherever I end up, I aspire to be a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and caring pharmacist who develops trust and rapport with her patients and works well in an interdisciplinary team to provide them with the best care possible.

Go to: Student Life