Profile – Pharmacist
A friendly discussion with her hometown pharmacist in East Montpelier, Vermont led Alison Geier to start looking at colleges where she could study pharmacy.
“The pharmacist I talked to liked her job, and I like science and math,” Alison explains. “I knew I wanted to stay in New England, but I didn’t want an all pharmacy school. Northeastern University offered a small pharmacy program in a large university, with a co-operative program that I am thankful to have had,” she adds. “The Co-op approach allowed me to go out and work in my field early in my college career: this enabled me to try the new skills I was learning and it confirmed that I liked the career I chose.”
During the six years she was in college, Alison completed co-op experiences doing mission work in Oklahoma and working in a retail pharmacy in Vermont; classmates explored nuclear pharmacy as well as hospital pharmacy in their field work.
When she graduated from college, Alison remained with the retail pharmacy chain in Roxbury for seven years where she enjoyed working in the community as a result of earning a Disease State Management certificate as a diabetes educator at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy. After she met and married her husband, they decided to leave Boston, so they returned to her home state where she was hired at Central Vermont Medical Center (CVMC).
“Hospital and retail pharmacy are completely different,” she comments about her current job, and adds that the change is good. “I’m using my brain in many different ways: to learn patient conditions, therapeutics, kidney function, appropriateness of medication for the patient, allergies, and more. I’ve also been involved in trying to develop a computer system that’s better for our patients.”
Alison’s advice for those who want to become a pharmacist?
“Pharmacy college is hard: you need to like sciences, especially chemistry, and be able to memorize a lot,” she says. “But the work is worth it because you can earn good pay and there is excellent job security in this profession.”