Pharmacy duo advise students to jump at opportunity, make their own

photo of the swensonsSPOKANE – Two board members of the Lake Chelan Hospital Foundation spoke to students in the Doctor of Pharmacy program during the College of Pharmacy’s sponsored Career Seminar Series this week. The duo, John and Claudia Swenson, have both been practicing pharmacists for over 40 years. They offered students some of the perspectives they gained from their combined 86 years of experience and challenged students to take advantage of as many opportunities as possible.

“Take your opportunities and run with it. Make your own jobs.” John Swenson said to the crowd in the newly christened Walgreens Auditorium of the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building on the WSU Health Sciences campus in Spokane. He emphasized that with the evolution that pharmacy practice has gone through in the last few decades, students need to be sure they are at the front of the line when it comes to incorporating innovation.

Post-graduate residencies and certifications were keys to developing careers and continuing to expand pharmacy practice, the Swensons said.

Along with sharing their professional insights, the Swensons spoke about how they met at WSU during pharmacy school. John is a 1968 WSU pharmacy alumnus, and Claudia transferred to the UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy and graduated in 1971. Both have had robust careers, spanning hospital pharmacy, ambulatory care, academia, and corporations. In the genre of pharmacy, if John and Claudia Swenson were a rock song, they would be a 80s power ballad.

Now they are “semi” retired according to John, still working on call and volunteering in their community of Lake Chelan, Wash.

The lunchtime lecture was sponsored by the Spokane Teachers Credit Union (STCU), whose core value of continuing education echoed the speakers’ message for students to endeavor to keep learning.

The goal of the seminar series is to expose students to the leaders in the pharmacy profession who are driving advances in the field of pharmacy and advocating positive changes in the healthcare system. Future speakers will provide students with their vision of how the profession is evolving and the opportunities that exist for future pharmacists to change and advance the practice of pharmacy.