According to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services, because of an aging population and a growing demand for services there could be a shortage of as many as 157,000 pharmacists in the United States by the year 2020.
Recent University of the Ozarks graduates Katrina Bradley and Malorie Moreland plan to help fill that shortage. Both Bradley and Moreland have been accepted into Pharmacy School at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) and will begin to pursue their pharmacy degrees in a couple of months.
For Bradley, a chemistry major from Bentonville, Ark., it’s been a life-long dream to be a pharmacist.
"I’ve had that plan since the seventh grade," Bradley said. "I’ve always been good in science and I’ve always wanted to go into the health field. Pharmacy seemed liked the perfect fit for me."
In regards to specializing in pharmacy school, Bradley is keeping her options open, but she has been intrigued by the nuclear pharmacy program. Nuclear pharmacy is dedicated to the compounding and dispensing of radioactive materials for use in nuclear medicine procedures.
"I don’t think that retail pharmacy is for me," Bradley said. "I want to delve more into the science of the profession and there are so many programs that I could go into. What I’ve read about nuclear pharmacy is definitely interesting. I’m just going to keep my options open and see what happens."
Moreland, a biology major from Rogers, Ark., has prepared for pharmacy school the last few years by working part-time as a pharmacy technician in Wal-Mart.
"I was undecided about what my major was going to be when I got to college, and my mom mentioned pharmacy to me," Moreland said. "I just went around to seven or eight Wal-Marts, introduced myself and asked for a job in their pharmacy. It’s been a great experience and it’s helped showed me that pharmacy was the right place for me."
Moreland wants a career in retail pharmacy, and would even like to find a way to combine her interest in business into her profession.
"I just love dealing with customers and having that daily interaction, so retail pharmacy is what I’m looking at," she said. "I’ve taken some business classes at Ozarks and really enjoyed them. I’d like to one day maybe get into the managing part of pharmacy."
Bradley and Moreland will join an incoming pharmacy class at UAMS of 120 students, which was culled from an application list of well over 500. They both found out they had been accepted into UAMS just a few weeks before graduating from Ozarks.
"UAMS was the only school I had applied to, so I was quite anxious waiting to hear from them," said Bradley. "When I got the acceptance letter, I kept reading it and re-reading it. It was very exciting."
Bradley said the small class sizes at Ozarks benefited her.
"I had friends who went to larger schools and they had 250 students in some of their chemistry classes," Bradley said. "I couldn’t have made it without the small class sizes and one-on-one help I got here at Ozarks."
Malone credited her Ozarks professors with helping her get into UAMS.
"The classes at Ozarks were extremely demanding and difficult, but the professors always had an open door policy and were willing to give you extra help if you needed it," she said. "The biology course load was not easy, but I know it’s prepared me for pharmacy school."