Dispense As Written: Ambassador Spotlight – Dr. Starr Shands

Featured PILs Ambassador:

Starr Shands, PharmD, RPh
Ambulatory Care/Federal/Retail Pharmacy Specialist

Who/what inspired you to pursue pharmacy?

When I was 10 years old, I was in a car accident that inspired me to pursue health care, specifically pharmacy.  I grew up in a small town with one independent pharmacy.  I shadowed there and fell in love with the idea of being a pharmacist because of the many areas one can pursue.  Pharmacy is crucial to health care with the medication knowledge we possess.

What is the most rewarding aspect of your area of pharmacy practice?

I spent the first year of my career in community pharmacy and now I work for Indian Health Services in an ambulatory care setting, so being able to provide care for  an underserved population is beyond rewarding.  From working with doctors to provide appropriate medication regimens, to counseling patients on new medications and working in clinics, I see the impact of my work daily.

At what moment did you realize you were a real pharmacist?

I realized I was a real pharmacist when I received a call from a provider that didn’t know what medication to give to a patient with comorbidities that had an infection.  The provider asked me for my recommendation and I gave my best one.  That same patient came to the outpatient pharmacy with no idea what the medication was for or how to properly take it.  She was so grateful that I took the time she needed to answer all of her questions.

Which prominent figure, past or present, leadership style do you admire and why?

I will always admire Michelle Obama because she is real and authentic.  She came from humble beginnings and became a success.  She never forgot who she was and stayed true to herself.  I read her book Becoming and it was a phenomenal read.  She leads by example and does what she knows to be right.  It is easy to get caught up in the limelight and let the things you accomplish define you.  She proves that you can be great and inspire others while just being yourself.

What particular aspect of your field/specialization do you foresee drastically changing in the next 5 years?

Overall, I see technology completely taking over the small and monotonous tasks of the everyday role as a pharmacist.  I see community pharmacy becoming more clinical and I see ambulatory care becoming even more popular and booming as a specialty.  In my field, I see the level of clinical autonomy increasing among pharmacists in ambulatory care in regards to the prescribing process.

Interview by: Onye Ononogbu, PharmD and Chandler Schexnayder, PharmD, BCPS, CDE.

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