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Celebrating Women in Pharmacy

Women in Pharmacy

In honor of Women Pharmacist Day, we are highlighting four female pharmacists to share advice and insights.

October 1, 2020

Shushma Patel

Shushma Patel,

The Prescription Shop

Montebello, California

What inspired you to pursue the pharmacy profession?

Even growing up as a child in Mwanza, Tanzania, I always knew that one day, I would become a healthcare professional. Years later when my parents emigrated to London, England, it suddenly dawned on me that the educational opportunities available in this new country gave me the chance to fulfill my dreams if I applied myself and worked hard through school.

My uncle was an early role model. He owned an independent pharmacy in a London suburb that thrived on the compassion and clinical enthusiasm he exhibited in serving his patients. He encouraged me to work summer jobs in retail pharmacy to emphasize what a great fit the profession would be given the flexibility it offered women wishing to start a family. Of course, he was right, but at the time I didn’t realize how fulfilling this profession could be. It wasn’t until I graduated from pharmacy school and started my first residency at a teaching hospital in Oxford that I realized the value of the pharmacy profession. There, I shadowed a remarkable preceptor who practiced a uniquely integrated clinical model that opened my eyes to the huge impact pharmacists can make in the lives of patients. What I learned on ward rounds during those months stoked my passion for this profession even deeper.

After spending the next 25 years in pharmacy operations with the big chains, I have come full circle to emulate what I learned back in that Oxford teaching hospital. Being a community pharmacist today has allowed me once again to get closer to serving patients in the type of clinical setting that first sparked my enthusiasm to become a pharmacist.

Pharmacist Donna Magli

Donna Magli,

Parkdale Pharmacy

Valley Stream, New York

What is the best part about being an independent pharmacist?

As an independent pharmacy owner, I see customers and patients on a daily basis, and I get the opportunity to build long term relationships with them. I love when young mothers and young children feel comfortable enough to come to me for advice and guidance.

Pharmacist Denice Payne

Denice Payne,

Payne Family Pharmacy

Floydada, Texas

What advice would you give to women who would also like to pursue a career in pharmacy?

Growing up my family always instilled in me to care for the community and focus on education and learning. As a young girl, I was always interested in caring for others. I had diverse interests in school but I was trying to figure out which profession would give me the best work-life balance. I ended up opting for pharmacy school. I was able to graduate as the first pharmacist in my family.
I prioritize my pharmacy team’s success and I believe in everyone I work with. I always learn from my mistakes, work hard and stay patient focused. I appreciate all of the opportunities that I have been presented with and I never take anything for granted.

At Payne Pharmacy, we strive to operate under the guiding principles of accuracy, honesty and integrity – accuracy in prescriptions, honesty in transactions and integrity that will not be compromised.

The best advice I have for students pursuing a degree in pharmacy is to:
1. Continue to be well educated
2. Believe in yourself and the career that you have chosen
3. Be loyal to your team, co-workers, boss and job
4. Learn from your mistakes
5. Be appreciative and take nothing for granted
6. Surround yourself with the best people (family AND coworkers)
7. Work hard

The brain power and determination that you have been given should be used wisely and shared with your community and those less fortunate.

Pharmacist Deborah Bowers

Deborah Bowers,

Yorkville Pharmacy

York, South Carolina

What are some ways you have developed your leadership skills in your role as a pharmacist?

I have developed my leadership skills by volunteering and finding opportunities to be in leadership roles. Through your experiences, you are able to figure out what works and what doesn’t. This allows you to learn from both positive and negative experiences and find ways to grow and develop your skills. I have also found it helpful to take courses that touch on leadership development, listen to relevant podcasts and read related books. However, ultimately, I have found that nothing can compare to real life experiences.

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Each month Good Neighbor Pharmacy is proud to feature a different independent pharmacy.