Q&A With Fourth Year Pharmacy Student, Dana Darwish

Touro College of Pharmacy Student Shares Her Experience Working During Pandemic and Taking Part in the COVID-19 Immunization Program

March 18, 2021
Dana Darwish
Pharmacy student Dana Darwish

Touro College of Pharmacy student Dana Darwish, P4, recently completed an advanced pharmacy practice rotation at Mt. Sinai Hospital, where she participated in an immunization program with the COVID-19 vaccine. We asked Dana about what she’s learned during the pandemic and the impact it has had on her and her goals for the future.

What has it been like to attend pharmacy school during a pandemic?

Initially, when New York City was the epicenter of the virus and it was peaking with thousands of cases, it was at times challenging to focus on school. But yet at the same time, there were new, unexpected learning experiences that were quite valuable.

For example, during my recent rotation at Mount Sinai, I helped prepare the COVID-19 vaccine and talked with patients about the vaccine and answered their questions. I was also able to work with nurses as they vaccinated patients. The entire experience was worthwhile and helped me realize how important our roles are during this pandemic and, as future pharmacists, the vital part we will play going forward. All of this has felt very rewarding.

What are some things you learned and what impact will the experiences have on your future as a pharmacist and your goals?

I learned that as a pharmacist, I can work in many different professional settings, and also that my role is vital to ensuring patient safety when taking medications and receiving vaccinations. I will have more opportunities to work as part of interdisciplinary teams helping patients, and to work on future research studies and trials for new treatments.

Why did you choose pharmacy?

I chose pharmacy to help patients understand their medications, [which] impact quality of life, and to work with doctors, nurses and other health care team members to help save lives. I was always interested in health care and pharmacy in particular. I was also interested in psychology and majored in psychology during college. I learned about mental health disorders and wanted to help patients who suffer from [these] disorders. Medications are what will help these patients the most. I hope to pursue a residency in psychiatric pharmacy where I can care for these patients and assure the best health outcomes. 

Do you have a memorable COVID moment you’d like to share?

In the midst of such a scary, sad and confusing time, when we did not know much about the virus or what would happen next, and we were scared to leave our houses and kept hearing about someone we knew who was infected and sick or even worse - when we heard about a death of someone we knew - in the midst of it all there were moments when I was feeling blessed and grateful for the simple things such as being healthy, having a safe home and having my family with me.

What are you doing now (differently) that you want to take with you into a post-COVID-19 world?

I am thinking more positively now than before. No matter how much you stress and worry about your future plans, nobody knows what tomorrow holds so I try to live in the moment.