polychrome_pen: (Default)
So before January 2011 is over, I thought it might actually be nice to take a look back at 2010. XD Yes, yes, I know I am very behind on the whole "recap 2010" post, but I thought the last year just brought so many changes that I couldn't go without being revisited a little.

When I think back to January, I was just starting the second half of my clinical rotations to finish up school. It almost feels like another life by this point. My first rotation of that semester was Internal Medicine. I often felt it was an exercise in speed - how much information could I gather and tie together about the patients before having to present in the afternoon? I learned a great deal during those six weeks. It was also my first rotation where there was another student from school with me, and having someone to gripe with was a huge comfort.

The second six-week period saw me going to a community pharmacy attached to the hospital. This was probably my second-favorite rotation (after the Psych rotation I took in 2009). If all community pharmacy work was as rewarding and fulfilling as the time I spent there, the choice between hospital and community would have been much harder. But I also discovered just how tired standing for 8-10 hours a day can be.

For my final rotation, I returned to the hospital where I had done Internal Medicine. However, this time around, it was definitely not a good learning experience. Aside from just wanting to be done with rotations at that point, I found the work to be of little value to my learning. The preceptor was a strange, strange lady who issued the vaguest instructions I've ever heard. Then she had the nerve to call me "needy" during my final evaluation because I asked for further clarification. Is wanting to do something right the first time wrong? NO. Haha...looks like I still have issues regarding that final rotation! Again, I had a student with me who had been with this preceptor before, and she thankfully helped to clarify things for me a great deal. Anyway, I'm seriously glad I didn't get a residency at this facility, because this preceptor was also the residency program director. I'm not sure I could have handled a year of vague instructions and general weirdness.
But in all fairness...this was the rotation where I got to watch open-heart surgery, which was totally rad.

I should also note that all three of my second semester rotations were at a hospital that had off-site parking and a shuttle service - something my fellow students and I absolutely loathed by the end. I can't tell you how many times I had to stand in the cold rain because the shuttle would be driving away as I came out of the parking structure.

After finishing up rotations came review week at school - basically one last chance to sit in our lecture halls again and listen to speakers while everyone chatted and surfed the internet. XD

Of course, after that came Graduation on May 15th, 2010. I officially got my doctorate and finished school. Still, even now - eight months later - it feel weird writing that. School has been my life for...well...my life. Coming out of something so structured into the rather nebulous "real life" has been strange. I miss the comforting solidity and framework of working toward something greater with a purpose. After getting a job (even one that I enjoy) I'm kind of wondering...what next?

So summer was spent studying for my boards from the time I finished graduated until around mid July. I even snuck in a nice vacation to Seattle and the islands in there (visiting the cousin and relaxing with the family). But those interminable days days studying really felt endless. To help keep me sane, I would reward every two hours of studying with an episode of She-Ra (which I completed over the summer), Fantastic Four World's Greatest Heroes, Iron Man Armored Adventures, or Star Trek DS9. It felt like a weird combination of long past summer vacations and taking self-study summer school. XD

Thankfully, I passed both tests on the first go. I've been debating taking the tests to be able to practice in another state, which if I decide to go forward with should be something I undertake sooner rather than later. The further I go on, the harder it will be to force myself back into reviewing the material and going through the rigmarole of taking another test/forms/fees/etc.

Summer also saw an explosion in my toy collecting hobby. Something I attribute to lots of time at home to hunt stores, eBay, and read internet reviews. Also may have had something to do with getting money for graduation. :D Likely pent-up retail therapy after having no income since February after leaving CVS.

I got my license on August 5th, 2010. At that point, I gave myself until the end of August to look exclusively for hospital jobs. After thirty-odd applications, by the end of the month I had an interview set up for a not-quite-hospital job (the only non-hospital job I applied for). After that interview, I had set another one up with a hospital (the place I work now). But in the meantime, pharmacy 1 offered me a job (part-time for up to six months, then full time). I asked for an extension to think it over and was up front that I had the second interview. After being offered the job where I am now, I accepted and had to call back pharmacy 1 to decline their offer. That was an incredible weird experience. I've always had to fight for part-time jobs...so having to turn someone down was something I'd never done before.

The time between taking the job offer (early September) and starting the job (October 4th) was another strange period. During that month I looked for apartments (and finally found a decent townhouse!), hunted for furniture, signed tons of papers, packed up my toys/books/life, and watched some more shows. It was a frenetic month to try and get everything ready for the move, and yet I didn't really feel all that stressed. Maybe because I knew I had at least gotten a job, I was able to savor a few of my final days of freedom.

Anyway, work is where I've been ever since October. I still visit home at least once a month (heh...if not more often!). It's hard to leave a place you've lived since second grade, after all.

So I hope that 2011 brings good things. I have plans to do some writing (namely, finish my Jewel Riders fic, writing an original novella, and hopefully doing some Dragon Flyz writing). I also want to really take the time now to develop healthy eating habits and lose some weight. Since I make most all of my food, it should be easier to implement healthier choices more often. And of course, 2011 will see me continue the growth of my toy collection! :D
polychrome_pen: (Drake of Jewel Riders)
Would have been the first day of Residency if I had gotten one. I was surprised how much it hurt to see some of my former classmates posting on Facebook about starting them yesterday.

I know I'll feel better once I've passed my tests (July 9th and July 16th!) and have a stable job. Hopefully at a hospital. I got an email back from one I applied to ages ago that said to contact them after I get my board results in late July, so...*crosses fingers* Let's hope that goes somewhere. It's not exactly close to home, but I would certainly be willing to move for the right job.

The other night I got a call from one of my old pharmacists from CVS. It was super nice to hear from her and we talked for a good half hour. But what she really wanted to tell me was that "If you ever had any doubts that not signing with CVS was the right decision, don't." She filled me in on all the horrible things that happened at our store and to her and the pharmacy manager since I left, and it was very upsetting to hear about such awful things happening to two people that I looked up to and respected a great deal. But I'm really glad she called because I was starting to doubt my decision recently.

I just have to trust that the right opportunity will present itself through my searching.
polychrome_pen: (Drake of Jewel Riders)
Direct me to it, please?

Well, my hopes were dashed.   Looks like I didn't get a residency like I'd hoped.  Maybe "dashed" is too strong of a word.  I'm not actually sad about NOT having to work super hard for pennies for a year, but I did put a lot of time and effort (and money!) into all those apps and interviews.  Now it all just feels like a big fat waste of time.  And I would have enjoyed the opportunity to learn lots more.

So I consoled myself by picking up the Twilight Barbies and the Princess and the Frog off of Amazon. XD

But in all seriousness, I feel incredibly directionless now.  I had put most of my hopes into getting a residency, and now I'm not really sure what to do.  I'm afraid of retail pharmacy - it's incredibly soul-sucking and tiring - but most hospitals don't actually hire that many pharmacists.  So I kind of see myself just falling into a retail position by default.  Which makes me sad.  I should really look up the contact info for some of my pharmacist friends and see if they can't hook me up with some sort of hospital job.

But on a more fun note, I just finished my fifth rotation last week, and they gave me $125 work of gift cards at the end!  I was in complete and total shock.  And touched, too.  I'm going to miss that pharmacy and its crazy antics.  One of the cards was for the the theater, so I'm definitely going to go catch How to Train Your Dragon this week.  Must support animation in the theaters!
polychrome_pen: (Default)
So since it's been quite a while since I've last posted anything of importance here, be prepared for a long entry on My Life in the Last Two Months.

Let's start with January:

I started back to Rotations with my Internal Medicine block.  Which basically meant that for six weeks I reviewed patient charts looking for screw-ups.  Actually, it was pretty interesting and I really do feel that I learned a lot.  The big problem that I had with the hospital is that my workstation was in the break room.  Now, in the beginning I didn't think this would be so bad - I mean, being right by the coffee is Not Necessarily a Bad Thing.  But oh, how wrong I was.  Being incessantly asked about the weather (from where I was sitting, the window looked liked a mirror and I couldn't even see anything outside!), and having to listen to the same griping, inane conversations over and over nearly drove me to the brink.  Not to mention having to listen to one of the technicians talk on her cell phone all the time.  In Russian.  There are no words to describe the lack of etiquette there.

But minor problems aside, the preceptor was good and I got to give some presentations to the pharmacy staff about new drugs and medical journal articles, so at the very least I was exposed to some more things.

January also brought me the first of my Pharmacy Residency interviews.  This was a County Hospital not far from my parent's home, so if I got the residency I could at least save some money and move back home for a year.  I really liked the people I interviewed with, and could really see myself being happy working there...except for the hours.  10-11 hour days, five days a week?  Um, no.  So that was a definite black eye for that site.

February was nothing if not an eventful month, in so many ways!

I had my second residency interview at the Catholic hospital where I did my Internal Medicine rotation.  This is where I would probably be happiest to end up, if only because the hours are normal.  I'm really, really over the whole "work tons of hours for nothing!" mentality.  The disadvantage of this site, of course, is continuing to have to deal with some of those really annoying employees.

This month also brought the start of a new rotation.  I started my Community Pharmacy rotation at a really small, nice little semi-independent pharmacy (which is associated with the hospital I did Internal Medicine at).  The customers are way nicer than at CVS, and there's a lot of hospice work involved as well.  Plus, the people I work with are a hoot.  We laugh every day and have a good time!  If only I didn't have to stand all day (which is killing my feet and back), I could really see myself working somewhere like there.

But the big news of February is that I NO LONGER WORK FOR CVS!  There is actually a humorous story associated with this.  I was at a Career Fair a few weeks ago and right before I was going to interview with CVS (out of courtesy, if nothing else), I was getting a call from my home store.  Well, I didn't answer it right away, but at the end of the day, I listened to my messages and it was a call from one of my pharmacists saying "I don't know what you've been told, but we still really need you to work this Sunday."  I was like "huh?  Wouldn't I normally work on Sunday like every week?"  So I gave her a call back, and it turns out our regional manager had been in that week and said that I was no longer working for the company.  Which was news to everyone.  Including me.  Nobody ever called me or anything.  Assholes.  So AT WORK on that Sunday, I got the call from my manager that I was being let go, basically because I didn't sign with the company ages ago and instead wanted to pursue the option of residency.  

And you know what?  Once I found out I had all the hours I needed for my license, I didn't really care.  CVS was slowly poisoning me the longer I stayed there.  It's a bad company that treats their employees like dirt, and aside from the paycheck I don't think I'll miss anything about working for them.  It's nice to have my Sundays back, too.

So that's where I am now.  Graduation is coming up in two months, and I'm really, really ready to be done with this whole school thing.  Six years is a long time to be working toward something. :)

Residency

Feb. 8th, 2010 10:22 pm
polychrome_pen: (Default)
I don't know if I've ever mentioned it here, but I've been seriously pursing a Pharmacy Residency. For those who don't know (which is probably everyone seeing as how I didn't even know what it was until a year or so ago XD), a residency in pharmacy is an extra year of paid "study" with a special institution or hospital. So basically you trade half of a normal pharmacist's salary for the opportunity to build your clinical knowledge in order to trade that up for a non-retail pharmacy job later on.

For a long time, I wanted nothing to do with residency. I was (and still am to a degree) very burnt out. Six straight years (year around for the last three) for my doctorate has been grueling, and something that I don't know if I'd repeat if I had to go back to the beginning. The last thing I wanted was an extra year of being not-quite done. But the more I've moved through my Rotations, the more I've found that regular retail pharmacy (like CVS or Walgreens) is really not where I want to work and spend the next thirty five years of my life. I may brain myself on a rock if that's what happens.

Plus, I think that all the dramas of CVS threatening to fire me for not signing their one year post-grad commitment letter might have something to do with pushing me more toward inpatient pharmacy, yes?

So, to take my mind off the stress of interviews, I have been watching Rome, which is a really splendid series. The city that they created for these characters has to be the closest to the living, breathing Rome of the late Republic that has ever been put to screen. I just started season two this evening, and can't wait to see what twists and turns the series takes before it's done!

Also, Bloom, Flora, and Musa arrived today, so my Simba Winx collection is complete! Finally. I seriously don't think I can deal with ordering any more of them. Aside from having horrendously expensive shipping to import, they are just expensive to begin with. The grand total (including shipping) ended up being about $50 per doll. If they weren't so awesome, I probably would have just stayed away.
polychrome_pen: (Brandon and Sky Phantoblades)
This week has just been crazy busy. Not only am I preparing horrendously large applications for seven different pharmacy residency positions (which require letters of recommendation that end up being their own form of application), but I give a presentation tomorrow, have a conference with my Regional Coordinator, and to top it all off, I found out today I have tonsillitis.

WTF. Tonsillitis? I thought it was strep throat after checking it, but I guess that's why I'm not a doctor. So now they gave me the antibiotic that is most prone to cause diarrhea. So for $120 for a Dr's visit + antibiotics, you too can get a shot at this grand fate! Hopefully the probiotics I got will ward it off, but who knows?

At least I have a wonderful cup of Chai Tea to console me (and got out of work early to go to my appointment!)

Also, I think when I get off for break I'm going to do my own Top 10 Toys of 2009 post.

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