I have recently participated in my first career day and OMG, what an awesome experience! I would highly recommend you seeing how you can get involved in participating in one of these near you, no matter your career. And if you can do it at a school that’s in a not so good neighborhood, even better. The school that invited me to participate in their event was filled with inner city kids, many who have seen their fair share of violence, drugs, and problems in their household, more than most Americans will in their lifetime, yet none of them was over the age of 9 years old.
What really set in for me was how important career day events are at an elementary school, especially for inner city kids. Being that some of these kids may not have parents or family members that have professional careers, a lot of times these events are the first exposure they have to professionals, other than their amazing teachers of course. And no matter what field you’re in, I implore you to make it a point to try and do at least one of these a year in your community. You may be the first (insert career title here) a classroom full of children has ever seen. Imagine the potential impact.
I had no idea where to start, and after reaching out to my network for guidance, I was reminded that APhA and the Generation Rx program had some amazing tools for this exact situation. It really gave me a good starting point on talking to elementary school kids about our career. They also have great tools for setting up relevant games, which is important because as you can imagine their attention span is limited.
It was fascinating the amount of kids who were aware that, when they get sick, they go to see a doctor and usually have to take medications, but had no idea of who or what a pharmacist is. It was great to educate them on what we do and instill into their young minds our place in society as the medication experts. Teaching about medication safety at home was also an important topic. Surprisingly, many of the students knew exactly where the medications in their household were, and based off of their description of location (yes I asked for specifics), they were easily accessible. So, I figured it was going to be really important I drive home the importance of not taking someone else’s medication.
What I found really resonated with the kids was talking about their fingerprint. I asked all of them if they knew what it was, and even the kindergartners had some knowledge of fingerprints. It was great since it was something the students were able to see and touch, because, well, it was on their finger! After explaining to them the concept of how no one else in this world has the same fingerprint as they do, I think it really gave them a sense of individuality. This worked out really well for letting them know how important it is not to take other people’s medication. I further explained that when a medication is prescribed, it’s for that one person who has a special fingerprint. And since they have their own fingerprint, if they took someone else’s medication, it could be a dangerous situation. And let me tell you, it was such an awesome feeling seeing that this concept really resonated.
Please starting figuring out how you can be involved in a local career day event. I would love to see my experience scale. I hope when I do my next career day I’ll hear that I’m not the first pharmacist to visit their school. Start by posting on social media your openness to participating and reach out to any teacher friends you may have. And if it’s elementary school kids, utilize the fingerprint strategy. You’ll get results!
I’ve committed to doing at least one career day event per year. Who’s with me?
Thanks for reading.
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Dr. Richard is the Founder of MedVize, a personal medication management company and is the host of Rx Radio, a podcast dedicated the pharmacy profession. He is a pharmacist who is committed to helping individuals better manage their health and medications. He is passionate about advancing the profession of pharmacy with a focus on machine learning and blockchain technologies. His mission is to provide people with understandable knowledge to best manage their health while ensuring their medications are convenient, affordable, safe, and effective. Dr. Richard holds a Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Florida, and fun fact, although living in sunny Miami, Florida, he loves snowboarding.