Friday, June 15, 2018

Anne Salamon, '90 BSPh, was a non-traditional pharmacy student. She came to pharmacy school with a master’s degree, previously working as a researcher studying anti-psychotics in rats. When Salamon was ready for a change and considering pharmacy school, her father – who was a psychiatrist for the VA – introduced her to a clinical pharmacist.  The conversation convinced her that pharmacy school was the right choice.

Salamon lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and frequently talks to young people considering pharmacy school and supports pharmacy students through the college’s professional mentorship program. She gives tours to middle and high school groups and talks with them about the profession. She remembers how challenging pharmacy school could be but she loves her job and profession and enjoys mentoring students and others – formally and informally – who are considering careers in pharmacy to let them know that the hard work will pay off.

Salamon considers mentoring to be part professional guidance and part being a mom. She says, “It’s one thing for your parent to tell you everything will be okay; it’s completely different for someone else – especially someone in your chosen field – to tell you everything will be okay.” This year, she’s mentoring two doctor of pharmacy students and is combining her memories of being a pharmacy student with her professional expertise and her experience of sending her own son off to college.

In pharmacy school, she remembers being overwhelmed. She encourages her mentees to go to each of their professors at the beginning of the semester to ask for tips on how to study for their class as a way to break the ice and get to know them.  This will help gain confidence in approaching them later when they are being challenged or need additional help.

Salamon is full of insights and excited to share them with her two mentees. She remembers professors, friends, and colleagues who have been examples for her throughout her life. Knowing how important and influential they were, she now talks with and encourages people in middle school through professionals. “In each situation, you'll find someone you click with and can lean on.” While Salamon never had an official mentor, she can point to several people in her personal and professional life who have served as role models and she hopes her mentees will pass on their knowledge and experience after they graduate.

One of the many things that makes Salamon a great mentor is her honesty about how hard things can be. She doesn’t gloss over the challenges of being a student or a professional but she knows it is all worth it.  “Take each week as it comes - you’ll get through it. There will come a time when you draw on all that learning, and it will make a difference. Hang in there.” She hopes her mentees and others stayed focused on the good of the patient. While pharmacy school is demanding, there will come a day when you will make a difference in a patient’s life and Salamon knows that’s worth all of the hard work.