PharmD Student Never Forgot Extra Attention Pharmacist Gave Her Grandmother

Taking time to ensure patients are comfortable with their medication isn’t something Janna M. had to be taught as a West Coast University doctor of pharmacy student. That was a lesson she learned on her own a long time ago.

As a child, her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer while visiting from Lebanon and ended up staying with Janna’s family in California for five years. During hospital visits, Janna noticed how the pharmacist would take extra care to make sure her grandmother — who speaks only Arabic — knew precisely what was going on with her care.  

“She would really take the time to explain things that the other healthcare professionals couldn’t just because there was that language barrier,” Janna said. “I saw the compassion behind that pharmacist, and that really stuck with me, so I became a (pharmacy technician) and then was encouraged to come back to school to become a pharmacist.”

Born and raised in Burbank, Janna had looked at pharmacy schools across the country before picking West Coast University, which was located just a few miles from her home. Janna said she liked how engaged the professors were in her educational journey and appreciated WCU’s accelerated program.

“We are not only a three-year program, but we are also a hybrid as well, so we have some students that aren’t even in state and just come in one week during the semester. It really is flexible for those students, maybe some moms at home that they’ve always wanted to go back to school, but it couldn’t fit with their busy schedules,” she said. “Well, now they can do that.”

Currently working as a pharmacy intern at a community clinic, Janna said the best part of her day is spending a few extra minutes with patients and seeing how grateful they are, or receiving positive feedback about how she handled a potentially tricky situation.

“That’s kind of like the gratification for the day,” she said, “and I’m like, ‘That’s why I’m here, that’s why I’m doing this.’”

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