Pharmacy student Shams Azzawi earned a spot in the summer internship program at the Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center. The Farmington Hills, Michigan native was chosen for the position out of a competitive applicant pool.
“I applied to the clinical pharmacy administration internship because it was a great opportunity to challenge myself,” said Azzawi. “I wanted to immerse myself in an environment that I have never been in before to grow and learn as much as possible.”
Azzawi is now in her second year of Roosevelt’s three-year Doctor of Pharmacy program. Initially, she said, she was “intimidated” to take on the internship without past professional experience. To become a better pharmacist, Azzawi decided to apply. She “owed it” to her future patients and colleagues, she said.
“Support from the pharmacy faculty during the internship was very valuable,” Azzawi said. “Dr. Alegro was always there for advice and to answer any questions I had. I always felt like I had someone to reach out to, just in case I needed help.”
The North Chicago VA hospital serves nearly 40,000 U.S. Navy recruits and 67,000 active military, veterans and families each year. As a hospital pharmacy intern, Azzawi attended many meetings with the chiefs of pharmacy where she could see how the hospital makes important decisions that affect patient care.
Azzawi also worked in the primary care clinic, where she reviewed patient charts for osteoporosis screenings and made recommendations on diabetes medications. To complete the “well-rounded” experience, she shadowed pharmacists in five different departments.
“I was very surprised at how many pharmacists worked at the site,” she said. “I am still amazed at the many things that pharmacists are able to do and the high importance they hold at the hospital.”
Over the summer, Azzawi drew on her experience as a student in the doctor of pharmacy program. Her professionalism and leadership courses gave her a foundation to communicate with the vast team of pharmacists, nurses, medical doctors and technicians. As she evaluated patient charts, she relied on the patient cases she’d studied in her endocrinology and immunology courses.
“The most rewarding aspect was seeing how the information we learn during class is actually applied in real-life patients,” she said. “It was also very rewarding to see the strong relationships and trust that patients develop with their pharmacists.”
Her advice to other students is to “go for it!”
“Whatever opportunity that you feel is interesting, go for it and give it a try,” she said. “Pharmacy school is such an amazing experience, but it goes by fast. To make the most out of it, it’s important to put yourself out there and be as involved as possible.”
About the PharmD program
Roosevelt University offers the only three-year Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD) program in Illinois, allowing our students to graduate a year sooner than at other institutions. Since our founding in 2009, we've taken a rigorous, patient-centered approach to teaching, and our expert faculty brings years of real-world experience.
Led by the strength of our curriculum, 98% of our graduates find work as pharmacists one year after graduation (College of Pharmacy Student Performance Data). Join our growing legacy of committed, compassionate and competent pharmacists who all have a strong desire to help others.