Arwa Omary, Class of 2018, Chapel Hill Campus
Hometown: Raleigh, NC
Prior Education: Bachelor’s degree – Biochemistry, NC State University
If you could have any superhero power, what would it be and why?
This probably is not a true superhero power, but I would love to be able to travel at the speed of light. I would save so much time, not have to worry about running late, and would avoid dealing with traffic during my every day one-hour commute!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
My travel destinations’ list is very long, but if I had to chose one place it probably would be Turkey.
How did you get interested in pharmacy?
During my junior year in high school, my dad had to be hospitalized for AFib. The day he was going to be discharged, a clinical pharmacist walked in and counseled him on the use of Lovenox. She thoroughly explained what the medication was, how to use it, and what to look out for. Observing her counsel my dad really sparked an interest in me for pharmacy. Ever since then, I became passionate about learning how drugs work in our body and being able to communicate that in a patient-friendly manner to patients.
What experience/class/activity from undergrad best prepared you for pharmacy school?
I would say coming into pharmacy school with a major in Biochemistry has definitely been helpful. It made understanding drug mechanisms of action a lot easier. Also, having worked at CVS for almost a year and a half was very beneficial when we started learning about drugs in pharmacy school. Previously being exposed to things like brand/generic names at work made memorizing drug information go a little smoother.
What’s been one of your favorite experiences at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy so far?
Both my introductory rotations (community and hospital) have been immensely rewarding. Specifically, during my community rotation last summer, I felt that even though I was still a second year pharmacy student, I was able to use the knowledge I had gained during the first 2 years of school and apply it to provide optimal patient care. Just as an example, I performed a medication review for a 95 year old patient who was on Warfarin. He had just seen his dermatologist and she prescribed Econozole (a topical antifungal). It turns out though that Econozole is contraindicated with Warfarin use because it results in bleeding and major bruising. I called the dermatologist and recommended a switch to topical Nystatin which she agreed with. The patient was very grateful because I was able to save him from unnecessary bruising. So, my point is that you would be surprised at what primary providers do not realize when it comes to medications, and my rotations have certainly reinforced the importance of having a pharmacist on the healthcare team.
What makes for a successful pharmacy student at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy?
Definitely having an open mindset and being willing to challenge oneself is key to success at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. Three years ago, I would never have imagined myself being able to balance 2 jobs along with several leadership involvements while being a full time pharmacy student. But this is why having the drive to constantly challenge yourself to go above and beyond what you previously thought was your limit will serve you well in pharmacy school. The opportunities are endless at ESOP and I would definitely encourage students to take advantage of such enriching experiences as long as it doesn’t get to the point where it’s overwhelming.
Have more questions for Arwa? Feel free to send her an email: email@example.com