There is life after college. After years of study, classes, rotations and more study, pharmacy students may forget that there is life beyond school. University of Arizona College of Pharmacy alumna Jennifer Esch graduated with her PharmD in May of 2010 and started her new job two weeks later.
“I would not have the position I have if not for my training at U of A. It provided me with a great education that is helping me every day in my practice. It seems as if pharmacy school will never end, but it does and being an Arizona COP graduate opens a lot of doors.
"Being a practicing pharmacist is everything you dream of during school and so much more. I learn new things every day and things are constantly changing in the world of pharmacy. Having a good foundation of knowledge to build upon makes learning the new concepts easier and less scary,” says Esch.
Esch works at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton, Wis., which is about 20 minutes away from Green Bay. Appleton is a part of the Fox Cities, a group of cities and towns that border the Fox River and Lake Winnebago. She grew up in a nearby city in Michigan and her husband is from Minnesota, so they are both able to be near family.
When she was searching for a job, Esch worked with a recruiter and told him she wanted to work in the Great Lakes area. She did two phone interviews with St. Elizabeth Hospital and then flew to Wisconsin for an on-site interview. She was hired two days later. Esch started out working nights, but, after six months, was able to switch to days.
Esch rotates to all of the decentralized locations of St. Elizabeth, such as ICU, behavioral health, post-op surgery, oncology, orthopedics and neurology. She also helps in the emergency department with medication reconciliation on patients being admitted. Esch would like to get a full time ED position approved that she can staff.
During most of her time at UA COP, Esch worked at Tucson Medical Center in the inpatient pharmacy. She spent her first semester during pharmacy school as a retail tech at Safeway, and the next semester, she switched to a hospital setting. She knew immediately that this was the setting she wanted to work in. Esch credits her education at COP and her experience at TMC with preparing her for the job she has now.
“I love working in a hospital. I feel I use the education I received from the COP every day…My rotations and coursework were much more hospital-oriented than [those of] graduates from other universities. The experience I gained from my internship at TMC, a summer spent at the Tucson VA in their VALOR (VA Learning Opportunity Residency) program and UA COP got me hired right out of school into a clinical position here at St. E’s,” says Esch.
Esch was active in student organizations throughout her time at the COP, serving as an officer in Phi Delta Chi, the International Pharmaceutical Students’ Federation and the American Pharmacists Association-Academy of Student Pharmacists. She still serves as a regional alumni officer for Phi Delta Chi, and is a member of the Fox Cities United Way Emerging Leaders Communication Committee.
Esch and her husband made a deal that when she was done with pharmacy school, he could go to school for whatever he wanted. He now attends the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley studying mechanical engineering.
Story by Rebecca Wingate, student communications assistant
Home page photo: Jennifer Esch while she was a UA COP student.
Photo above: Esch in 2013