What are you currently doing as a pharmacy professional and how did you progress to where you are today?
|Michaela Hasan, PharmD '12
I’m currently the lead research pharmacist for the CU Medical Campus research pharmacy operating out of the new Anschutz Health Sciences Building. I never thought I'd step foot on the campus again, but I’m glad to be here.
I got started on my career path through involvement with the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) student chapter. I already had a research background and discovered compounding was my niche. I found out about the Professional Compounding Centers of America (PCCA) and was able to get a summer internship at Belmar Pharmacy in Golden, CO, focusing on compounding. I was later hired by Pencol Compounding Pharmacy. While employed there, I decided to pursue a residency. There was only one residency in community pharmacy in Colorado at the time. I remember debating whether a residency would be advantageous since I was already employed and but nevertheless pushing the send button after completing the residency online application exactly at 11:59 p.m. of the deadline date.
I reconnected with Dr. Peter Rice and Professor Randy Knutsen and remained in contact with them after the residency. It just reinforces how important it is to maintain professional relationships. As a matter of fact, I would have never learned about my current position unless Dr. Rice hadn’t told me about it. I remained persistent and met with Sue Finstrom and Sue Mead for the new position. I met Dr. Mead through one of my APPE rotations at The Apothecary in Boulder when I was a student. In addition, being involved in student organizations really helped to develop those relationships and experiences in my areas of interest. I met Dr. Ellis (currently the Director for the CU Research Pharmacy), while I was a student and who at the time was one of the preceptors for the NCPA chapter.
What is different about the person you are today compared to the person you were while in school?
I have a lot more confidence, more direction and focus, dialing in on what is a good fit for me in community pharmacy. Community pharmacy is very hectic, and it was not a good fit for me, but I enjoyed the compounding aspect of the job. The good thing about pharmacy is you find that it offers many different niches. So, there's ample opportunity to identify what specific areas of pharmacy you’d like to focus your career.
What has been a defining moment for you as a seasoned professional?
It was almost karmic. All these things really fell into place. I first heard about compounding through a talk organized by the school while I was a student. I eventually started working in community pharmacy and being exposed to compounding. Then utilizing professional coaching techniques, I learned to verbalize and speak to what I wanted to do. All this together culminated into a defining moment for me that got me to where I am today.
What inspired you to attend the CU Pharmacy program and what was your experience while in the program?
It was different for me being an older student as I had other responsibilities and obligations that limited me to staying in Colorado. I also liked the faculty and the support from and for the students. I enjoyed engaging with the other healthcare disciplines on campus. I lead one of the interprofessional groups as a student. In addition, CU Pharmacy is a highly rated program with well-known faculty. Both Dr. Joe Saseen and Dr. Doug Fish I recall were well recognized as highly regarded faculty. Overall, it is a dynamic and professional environment that encourages and supports students to succeed.
What is your proudest moment and your favorite thing about working in the pharmacy profession?
My proudest moment was being offered my current position. Being the research pharmacy serving the clinical medical needs of the campus is a unique and exciting opportunity. I'm looking forward to the strides and the impact we’ll make in developing medications and information for access to the health systems in place here on campus.
What sage advice would you pass on to current and future students that was helpful for you in preparing for the job market?
It's important to seek opportunities outside of the school. For instance, while I was in school compounding was not part of the curriculum, so I sought out courses outside of the school setting to learn about this niche. Try other things outside of hospital and community pharmacy as well. Even though that's an important aspect of Pharmacy education, there are a lot more specialties and areas pharmacists can explore. Step outside of your comfort zone. It's also important to start during your P1 year in exploring these opportunities since, by the time you get to your P3 and your P4 year, you're more focused on getting through rotations and graduating. If you can narrow your interests down, it will also help define your APPE rotations and set you up for a successful career.