Jay Parikh, PharmD (’11), staff pharmacist at USC Medical Plaza Pharmacy, explains why he volunteers as a preceptor to mentor USC School of Pharmacy students and introduce them to “real world” experiences.
Why did you choose to become a preceptor? What do you enjoy about it?
First and foremost, I remember the preceptors and mentors that shaped me into the pharmacist I am today. This is my way of giving back to the profession and helping shape the next generation of great pharmacists.
Also, being a pharmacist means you have committed yourself to a lifetime of learning, and what better way to do this than by surrounding yourself with the best and brightest minds thirsting for knowledge? My students often challenge me as much as I challenge them, and together we push each other to ensure our patients receive the best care current pharmaceutical knowledge can provide.
At the end of the day, being a preceptor can be challenging yet a fulfilling role. I enjoy every second of interaction with our students.
USC has a very tight-knit alumni network. How did this network benefit you during your time at USC and after your time at USC? What resources available at USC did you find particularly helpful?
I can’t tell you a step forward in my career that hasn’t involved an USC alumnus in one way or another. Even before I entered the USC School of Pharmacy, I was afforded opportunities to work with pharmacists that saw value in mentoring a young undergrad student entering the field. To this day, I am proud to say that regardless of what area of pharmacy I want to explore, I have a colleague ready and willing to lend a helping hand — all thanks to the USC network.
How does USC School of Pharmacy prepare students for future jobs in the profession?
The USC School of Pharmacy has always placed strong emphasis on the application of their students’ knowledge in the real world, making this one of the school’s major strengths over other similar programs. After all, having a strong knowledge base is only half of the equation when it comes to being a leader in pharmacy; the other half of the equation lies in being able to apply your knowledge in the real world. This is where USC’s strong network of preceptors in a multitude of fields comes in — whether it be in community pharmacy, hospital pharmacy, or industry – there is no shortage of opportunities for our students to apply and hone their knowledge.
What advice do you have for current pharmacy students?
Find your passion. Let it make you a better pharmacist and a better person. Give back to your community, your profession and those you care about.
Why should other pharmacists consider being a preceptor for the school?
Would you be the pharmacist you are today if it weren’t for the preceptors and mentors during your time as a student? Giving back to your profession by being a preceptor not only benefits pharmacy students, it also benefits you.