Timothy Pierce discovered his interest in the health professions as a senior in high school when his mother, a Registered Nurse, guided him in the direction of pharmacy. Upon his acceptance to VCU, Pierce applied and was accepted into the VCU Acceleration program. Pierce credits the program with confirming his decision to pursue a career in pharmacy.
“The VCU Pipeline helped to expose me to the profession of pharmacy and provided me with networking opportunities with a variety of different health professionals at the VCU/MCV hospital system,” said Pierce. “The field of pharmacy is much larger than [someone who works for a community chain pharmacy and strictly dispenses medications to patients]... there is the opportunity to work as a clinical pharmacist, military pharmacist and nuclear pharmacist, just to name a few. The field has expanded and evolved significantly over the last 15 to 20 years.”
Pierce graduated from VCU with a degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in May 2011 and entered the PharmD program at VCU that fall. As a health professional student, Pierce found the intensity of graduate school challenging but exciting. The inclusion of community and hospital rotations in the curriculum was motivationally compelling to Pierce, in addition to the potential for growth through participation in student organizations.
“Although, the primary purpose of being a pharmacy student is to do well academically, it is essential to join at least one school organization to demonstrate a passion for the profession,” advised Pierce. “Joining organizations within pharmacy school provides the opportunity to collaborate and unite together to accomplish a common mission, which is to serve patients. During my four years [as a health professional student], I was active in Kappa Psi Pharmaceutical Fraternity and the Student National Pharmacy Association.”
Taking inspiration from his many experiences, including three medical mission trips, Pierce plans to incorporate his leadership skills and passion for resolving health disparities into his future career aspirations. Among them, Pierce would like to open up clinics in impoverished areas throughout the Unites States and provide free medical care to those who cannot afford it. Beyond the clinical setting, Pierce wants to influence healthcare policy by serving in the Virginia General Assembly as a member of the House of Delegates or Senate.
“To date, there are only two pharmacists who serve as delegate members in Virginia, and I hope to become the third pharmacist added to that list,” said Pierce.
As far ar Pierce is concerned, the sky is the limit when it comes to where his health professions degree can take him.