Pharmacy Students Excel In National Competition and Beyond

By Abby Shaffer

On December 1, Sarah Berman and Micah Bernard put their studies to the test in the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) clinical skills competition in Anaheim, California.

The competition gave each two-person student team a patient case. They then had two hours to come up with solutions to the patient’s problems, prepare a written plan, and present that plan to the judges.

While it was intimidating to enter a competition room filled with so many talented students, Berman, a third-year professional pharmacy major, said that she enjoyed the event.

“We felt very prepared as a team,” she said. “I’d say Cedarville sets you up pretty well for these [competitions], because we do a lot of practice-based learning.”

Over 139 pharmacy schools in the U.S. were represented at the competition. ASHP houses the largest gathering of pharmacists in the country. Although Berman and Bernard didn’t make the top ten, they still earned above-average scores.

“It was good to be able to work with each other and see how each other thinks,” said Berman. “We were very proud of ourselves.”

Vice Chair of Pharmacy Practice and Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice Dr. Justin Cole was proud of them too.

“Sarah and Micah were fantastic representatives for the school at this meeting,” he said, citing their critical thinking and complex analysis skills. “They have represented Cedarville with excellence.”

Demonstrating excellence in pharmacy is about more than just memorizing medications. Berman explained that pharmacists are “medication specialists” – they are trained to analyze prescriptions and patient cases in order to ensure patient safety.

“People feel that the pharmacist is just the person between you and getting your prescription,” Berman said. “But we stand between you and a mistake getting to you, and that’s something I’m really passionate about. I want to help you and I want to be a resource for you.”

Anyone who is considering choosing pharmacy as a field of study should know that it’s full of opportunities, including research, primary care, or other work in the community.

Berman is excited to develop relationships with patients as she helps them receive the healthcare and lifestyle changes they need.

“I’ve always had a big passion for people,” she said. “It’s exciting to me to see the opportunities I have to really make a difference in care.”

Berman sees this love in her professors. She called Dr. Chen’s passion for patients particularly infectious.

Berman said that Cedarville is a wonderful place to integrate faith into pharmaceutical practice.

“Learning healthcare in a Christian environment is really valuable because you have a reason for all the things you’re doing,” Berman said. “You’re learning it for a purpose and for the glory of God, and it becomes a natural part of your job and focus no matter where you end up.”

Abby Shaffer is a sophomore Professional Writing and Information Design major and a writer for Cedars. She can be found reading books, taking naps, or crying while watching the newest MARVEL movie.

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