What are you currently doing as a pharmacy professional and how did you progress to where you are today?
|Charles Foster, PharmD '10
Since early 2020, I’ve been working as a Clinical Content Specialist for Micromedex, which has been a big change from my previous roles in clinical pharmacy and other areas of the profession. After graduating from CU SOP in 2010, I moved to Boston to complete a PGY1 pharmacy practice residency, and then returned to CU for PGY2 specialty training in critical care. Thereafter, I worked as an inpatient clinical pharmacist around the Denver metro area for eight years, primarily at Denver Health and the University of Colorado Hospital, before transitioning into a different type of professional work.
What is different about the person you are today compared to the person you were while in school?
Upon arriving at CU SOP in my mid-20s, I was mainly excited to be able to go back to college! When I graduated though, I was a PharmD prepared to enter the professional workforce, and I entered it with vigor! In looking back, I’ll always cherish my days as a full-time student, because adulting in real life is considerably more difficult. Nearing a decade after graduation, I experienced a series of life events that were very challenging, which turned out to be a pivotal time in my life. When life truly became difficult, I had to reconsider personal priorities, evaluate professional goals, and appreciate every day as a gift. Nowadays, I’m working from home and spending a lot of time with my wife and son, which I am fortunate and forever grateful to be able to do.
What has been a defining moment for you as a seasoned professional?
Some defining moments in my professional career include spending a year in Boston as a PGY1 resident, returning to CU for PGY2 training, and pivoting my career focus to learning technology skills. Exiting full-time patient care and having more free time has certainly been a defining moment in my professional life as well. Most recently I’ve created a private networking site for pharmacy professionals (globalpharmd.com), which has been very challenging and rewarding. The site is now fully operational, and it's always exciting when another new curious pharmacy professional joins!
What inspired you to attend the CU Pharmacy program and what was your experience while in the program?
Another CU Alumni was my initial inspiration to consider a career in pharmacy and an education at CU SOP. But having recently graduated from the in-state rival Colorado State University (Go Rams!), I was a bit skeptical of him and these alleged pharmacy “Buffs.” After looking into the program and feeling encouraged by the potential of a career in healthcare, I decided to put away my green face paint and apply to one of the best PharmD programs in the world; turns out they let me in!
All jokes aside, the CU Pharmacy program provided an excellent educational and professional experience during school, and I was very fortunate to be able to return for additional post-graduate training. I was afforded many opportunities by CU Pharmacy such as working in a pharmacogenomics laboratory, and being taught by world-renowned faculty, all while developing long-lasting relationships with a diverse group of incredible classmates, faculty, and staff at the SOP and Anschutz Medical Campus.
What is your proudest moment and your favorite thing about working in the pharmacy profession?
Some of my proudest moments have been participating in research with members of the CU Skaggs School of Pharmacy. Additionally, I’ve spent countless hours looking after critically ill patients and feel very proud of the services I provided. Creating my first website was also cool, and my newest project has the potential to offer great services to the profession in due time, at least that’s what I’m aiming for.
One of my favorite parts of working in the pharmacy profession is being an accessible and trusted source of healthcare information. Pharmacy professionals are doing innovative things and pushing the limits of the profession. Through my work with Micromedex, I’m able to make a difference by applying my PharmD and clinical experience to maintaining a bedside resource used in hospitals around the world.
What sage advice would you pass on to current and future students that was helpful for you in preparing for the job market?
When preparing for the job market, make sure you prioritize personal needs as much as professional needs. There’s a very good chance you won’t land your dream job right off the bat, and there’s no guarantee you’ll end up loving the job you’d dreamed of. If you see a position that you want but don’t feel quite qualified for, seek out the skills you need, and then apply anyway for the practice – heck, maybe you’ll get lucky.
Be your true self and try hard not to compare yourself to peers and colleagues; you’ll likely end up impressing them anyway. Not everyone is going to like you, and that’s ok, but you can still be nice to them. Learn some lateral skill sets that you can apply to areas within and beyond pharmacy, and if you enjoy working with statistics, you should follow that calling. Lastly, there will always be opportunities in community pharmacy, but dispensing pills won’t likely be a focus of your career, so take this into account when planning your future. And most importantly, have fun out there. If your life isn’t fun anymore, do something different.
We are certainly proud that Charles decided to take his friend’s advice and became a Buff. Our alumni and students stand to benefit from his commitment to networking. Here's your chance to see the website Charles has built to connect pharmacy professionals, share ideas, and showcase specialty areas of the pharmacy profession.
Use discount code CUSOP2022 for a free year of full access (Tier 2) or a 50% discount on the first year of a premium account (Tier 3). Anyone with questions or interest in becoming a contributor or getting more involved, please contact Charles directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or via the GlobalPharmD network (@cfoster).