Recognizing opportunities that don’t always knock: Pharmacy clinical specialist kicks off College lunchtime lecture series

Dana R. Saulibio Bowers, a pharmacist and clinical specialist in infectious diseases, spoke to students in the Washington State University Doctor of Pharmacy program on Tuesday, September 16, to kick off the college’s annual Preparing for Your Career in Pharmacy Seminar Series on the Health Sciences campus in Spokane.

The seminar series was initiated by the WSU College of Pharmacy in 2012 to introduce student pharmacists to thought leaders and entrepreneurs who come to campus throughout the academic year and give insights on the opportunities available for future pharmacists to advance the pharmacy profession. The seminars support the College’s mission to educate outstanding health care professionals and expose student pharmacists to current pharmacy leaders across the country who are driving innovation, advancing health care practice and improving people’s lives.

Bowers is a 2009 graduate from the WSU Doctor of Pharmacy program. She offered insights to students on how to make themselves more marketable as pharmacists and how to keep themselves marketable and open to career opportunities that, as she put it, “don’t always knock.”

“Try not to close any doors, because you never know where you’ll end up,” said Bowers.

Bowers’ career as a clinical specialist in infectious diseases and a clinical instructor in pharmacy practice and science at the University of Arizona College of Pharmacy is a good example of this. As a new graduate Bowers didn’t land the residency she initially sought, but ended up working at the hospital where she would eventually complete a residency and where she found a valuable pharmacy mentor.

Then after a two-year clinical research fellowship specializing in infectious diseases at the University of Houston College of Pharmacy and St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Bowers found herself in Kingman, Arizona, where a new clinical specialist position was created at the Kingman Regional Medical Center because it was recognized that her skills could make an impact.

“Stay marketable, stay active within professional societies, and read!” said Bowers.

At Kingman Regional, Bowers is in charge of the hospital’s antimicrobial stewardship program. Her job includes optimizing clinical outcomes, minimizing unintended consequences, and helping to improve antimicrobial prescribing through formulary restriction, clinical pathway development, and education.

Her message to WSU student pharmacists focused on creating their ideal job from less than ideal circumstances, and shared insights which she titled, “Things I wish I’d known (or known that I knew) in pharmacy school.”