TCOP Alumni Share Top Tips With PharmD Candidates

Dr. Priya Somnarain and Dr. Charrai Byrd Visited Touro College of Pharmacy to Share Tips on Becoming Successful Pharmacists

November 02, 2015
Touro College of Pharmacy students attended panel with guest speakers, and TCOP alumni, Dr. Priya Somnarain and Dr. Charrai Byrd, with tips on how to succeed as in your pharmacy career

Touro College of Pharmacy’s Student College of Clinical Pharmacy (SCCP) chapter, under the guidance of faculty advisor Dr. Nataliya Shinkazh, hosted two alumni last month. Dr. Priya Somnarain, Clinical Pharmacist at Harlem Hospital, and Dr. Charrai Byrd, Clinical/Operations Pharmacy Manager for New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Director at Large for New York City Society of Health System Pharmacists, shared their respective journeys to becoming successful hospital pharmacists. 

Missed the event? Here are top tips they shared with the PharmD candidates.

1. Find a mentor, said Dr. Byrd: “Each one, teach one.” He and Dr. Somnarain were the first students in New York to intern with a U.S. Senator—Chuck Schumer. 

2. Understand that there will always be challenges, both in school and beyond. For Dr. Byrd it was the NAPLEX exam, and for Dr. Somnarain it was the New York State compounding exam. “While it was challenging, I didn't allow the NAPLEX exam to take my spirit away,” said Dr. Byrd.

3. Networking is key. Both mentioned that the world of pharmacy is a small one, so don't burn bridges. “The profession is very competitive now even for interns,” said Dr. Somnarain, “so network even with your classmates.

4. You have to want success enough. “If you don't have the drive, it won't happen,” said the alumni. “Jobs aren’t going to fall into your lap. You have to be good at what you do.”

5. Make yourself memorable. Dr. Somnarain spoke about her extracurricular activities at TCOP. As a class representative for all four years, she “made things fit into her schedule.” Dr. Byrd was very involved as well—in particular, with blood pressure screenings at health fairs. “It’s all about balance,” they said.

6. Talk to preceptors. “Express your interests to your preceptors,” said the alumni. “If there are ongoing problems, volunteer to assist with making things better.” Always maintain a positive and professional demeanor. “Your attitude determines your altitude,” said Dr. Byrd.