Setting the Stage

The Pharmacist’s Guide started out as a passion project and developed into a platform I’ve used to connect with thousands of people over the years, so it only seemed natural to start connecting with pharmacists and professional-minded people through my blog. But, before we start diving into the serious stuff, I wanted to set the stage and introduce myself first.

A Little About Me

Life is one big journey and navigating our careers can be hard! I hope to help you as I share my highs and lows, what’s worked for me and what hasn’t, and different strategies for success that I’ve discovered as I go through my career. 

My career path has not been one easy line – it’s been full of twists and turns and I am happy for every single one of them because I have learned so much!

 The truth is that I started off as an English major. Despite the stereotype of all English majors hating other subjects, I have always found myself drawn to math and science. This put me in an interesting predicament as I sought to figure out a way to combine excellent communication, math, and science together into a career I could see myself staying in.

But, before we get into more specifics about the professional side of my life, let me share a little more about myself in general. :)

I grew up in Chicago, which obviously made me the biggest Bulls and Michael Jordan fan! I grew up playing the piano and violin, but I haven’t had too much time to play in the past few years, so that’s something I miss.  To burn off some stress, I love running. For me, it’s the perfect way to get some alone time that benefits my body and mind. I’m even training for a half marathon right now!

All in all, spending time at the beach, exercising, and being silly with my children is really at the heart of my life on top of everything I’m doing professionally. 

Choosing Pharmacy

After my first two years of college, I finally made the connection between those interests and pharmacy. I was so eager to help people manage their medications and become more involved with the regulatory process of drugs in the United States. Pharmacy just seemed like a good fit (more on the highs and lows and how I navigated that through my blog). 

Choosing pharmacy was also an easy choice for me because my grandmother had several health ailments, some of them rare and complicated, so I spent a lot of time learning about her medications and working through them with her. Outside of everything I was learning at school, that really sparked my interest. 

As my first job out of pharmacy school, I worked at a community pharmacy as well as a community hospital. These opportunities gave me amazing experience and insight into what was truly going on in the pharmacy industry, both in pharmacies and hospitals, outside of the textbooks I was reading.

Once I graduated, I moved into a decentralized clinical pharmacy position at UNC where I worked with patients and doctors to manage their general medicine and cardiology prescriptions. Since UNC is a big institute, I was able to work on project management and help with the initiatives in anticoagulation and professional development.

Eventually, I started working at Duke to make better use of my MBA while handling the challenges of new projects. My experience at Duke was incredible since it coupled my professional passions with a fantastic team and amazing leaders. I loved my job there but we moved, due to my husband’s profession, and I found myself a little lost and wondering where I would best fit. 

Since then, a ton of things have changed in the best way possible. I have really prioritized my love for health and wellness, nutrition, pharmacy, and understanding how the things we do affect our bodies. Pair all that with my interest in social media, communication, and helping other people, and you can see how things started to shift in my career!

Shifting My Perception of Pharmacy 

In all honesty, working in traditional pharmacy has not always been my path. In fact, getting my MBA was a stepping stone to becoming more involved in the business and leadership side of pharmacy. 

As I found myself learning more about pharmacy and nutrition as separate topics, I saw such a clear connection between the two that wasn’t always getting the attention it deserved. Without much hesitation, I decided to pursue educating others about the profession and how our lifestyle and medications can affect us.

I found that shifting my perception of what pharmacy could be wasn’t a huge jump and, as more people connected with my ideas, I realized that changing the reality of pharmacy wasn’t a shot in the dark. Really, it’s all about education, connecting with people, and using a global platform to connect our profession in a refreshing way. 

About The Pharmacists Guide

The goal of my brand is to inspire others in our profession, inform people and promote healthy lifestyle choices, focus on our elevating our mentality, and thus elevating our profession. I want to bring positivity to a profession that often gets bogged down with negativity and burnout. 

There’s a lot going on behind the scenes for me, all of which I’m so excited about! I just finished updating this website, and I’m wrapping up a book that I’m writing with Ashlee - yay! I’m also participating in a professional mastermind group, and I’m working on several workbooks. All of this is buzzing on in the background while I also devote time to my “day job” as a compliance/regulatory pharmacist at a hospital. It can be hectic at times, but I really wouldn’t change any part of it.

When I started my blog in 2015, I had just taken a step away from work and I was missing the connection I had with my colleagues. Though I started blogging anonymously at first (hello, fear of judgment!), I enjoyed writing and connecting with my readers so much than The Pharmacist’s Guide grew naturally from there. 

Looking to the Future

In general, my focus is –and has always been– to improve our profession and help people make healthy lifestyle and professional choices – even if that involves blazing a trail or taking risks!

The goal of The Pharmacist’s Guide is to inspire others in our profession. I know that we can make changes and improve this profession through systematic shifts as well as changing the way we connect with the community. 

I want to use this platform to inform people and promote healthy lifestyle choices, while focusing on elevating our mentality and profession. Simply put, want to bring positivity to a profession that often gets bogged down with negativity and burnout – and I can’t wait to share more with you through this blog!

Joanna Simmon