The trend in clinical pharmacy is growing, said Paula Meder, spokeswoman for the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy. Students, she said, are exposed to varied career possibilities across multiple rotations in their fourth year of the doctorate program.
According to her high school yearbook, Toni Ripley was going to be a novelist or musician. Instead, she became a clinical pharmacist who works alongside cardiologists to make optimal use of medications to promote health in people with heart disease.
A native of Pensacola, Fla., Ripley, 37, was turned onto science, she said, by an “amazing” biology professor she had in community college. Inspired, she planned to be a doctor, but a summer volunteering long hours in the emergency room at a hospital led her away from medical school and toward her current career, she said.
“I saw the same physician called back in at two in the morning who was there at two in the afternoon, and knew I wanted more work-life balance because I planned to have a family,” said Ripley, who has children ages 3 and 6.
After her nonpaid internship, a pharmacy tech job came open at the hospital and the ER personnel convinced that staff to hire Ripley. She initially discounted a pharmacy career as boring, until she learned about clinical pharmacy.
“I’m one of the few who went to pharmacy school specifically intending to do this,” Ripley said, versus dispensing medications as a traditional pharmacist.
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