College of Pharmacy Student Testimonial: Kuang-Heng (Jason) Hsiao - Class of 2023

Kuang-Heng (Jason) Hsiao

I have learned so much during my IPPE I rotation with Dr. Cyprian Sabah at Dupont Circle Pharmacy. Being an independent pharmacy, I got to see deeper into what it is like to run your own pharmacy business, as well as the pros and cons associated with being an independent pharmacy. I found that the environment at Dupont Circle Pharmacy was far more conducive to cultivating pharmacist-patient relationships than in a typical retail environment, and that building strong relationships with your patients helps you navigate the typical issues that you encounter during a workday, such as items being out of stock, a prescription being written wrong, etc. As Dr. Sabah's business partner Dr. Addico has emphasized to me repeatedly during my time there, being a pharmacist can be much more than just someone who dispenses drugs to people. At an independent pharmacy, being a pharmacist means being your own IT specialist, inventory manager, banker, construction worker, and insurance claims resolution expert. I got to experience making extemporaneous compounds, making personal deliveries, and packaging individual "Dispill" dose packs, all for improving the patient experience.

I think I have garnered several important takeaways from my IPPE I experience to keep with me
throughout my future pharmacy career. First and foremost, communication is key to building a successful
pharmacist-patient relationship. While it is guaranteed that not everything will go according to plan or
ever be perfectly smooth, that does not have to result in conflict as long as you communicate effectively
and clearly to the patient what problems you are encountering and what steps you are taking to solve
them. By involving the patient during the conflict resolution process, they are more likely to cooperate
with you and exhibit patience to help you overcome the problem. Secondly, I have learned that flexibility
is also paramount in this profession. Although there are strict rules and regulations (both state and federal)
that we as pharmacists must follow, helping deliver patient care is also of utmost importance. No set of
rules will perfectly apply to every situation that we will encounter as pharmacists, and it is extremely
important to be flexible when problem-solving so that the maximal amount of benefit can be delivered to
your patients while staying within the bounds of the law. There are not always straightforward answers to
every unique situation that we might face, and that is another reason why having a strong pharmacist-patient
relationship is important. A strong relationship implies a deep foundation of trust, which means
that as pharmacists we are able to trust that our patients will not be taking advantage of us or the law for
ulterior motives. In a busier pharmacy environment where relationships with patients are shallowly
cultivated if at all, it is far more likely that pharmacists have to strictly rely on the law due to the lack of
trust between them and the patient, which can result in suboptimal patient care if there was an urgent
therapeutic need.

Overall, I have 3 personal goals that I want to achieve following my pharmacy practice experience. First,
I want to eventually work in a pharmacy environment where I feel comfortable taking the time to
cultivate closer relationships with my patients. Secondly, I want to develop myself as a healthcare
professional that people feel comfortable approaching in terms of patient counseling and MTM, thus
those are knowledge areas that I want to focus on as I progress through pharmacy school. Finally, I want
to foster a value for flexibility when problem-solving, because I believe creative solutions to problems are
usually more effective than relying on strict guidelines when approaching every problem that comes our