Job: Chair, Department of Pharmacy Practice at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy
Outlook: "I enjoy teaching and I enjoy being in front of students and helping students achieve their career goals and become pharmacists who make an impact in society through patient care. I enjoy all of the different aspects of what I do."
Professor of pharmacy practice Dr. J. Mark Ruscin has been appointed chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Pharmacy, after having served as the interim chair of the department since March 2012. He recently talked with business writer Will Buss about his new role:
What duties are part of your job?
"In our department, we have 36 faculty members who mostly practice at a clinical practice site, see patients and provide patient care through physicians, nurses and social workers. My job is to make sure our facilities are viable. Our practice site is spread around in metro St. Louis and Springfield. Students in their fourth year come to our practice site for clinical experience. That is a big part of our curriculum. We conduct research and we collaborate within the community with our partnerships with the institutions and hospitals we work with. We try to develop relationships to support our research efforts to go after grants and other types of funding to support those services in the practice of pharmacy. I am responsible for a lot of the day-to-day activities and make sure our faculty are following policies and procedures and evaluations are helping students get prepared."
How many are enrolled in the university's pharmacy school?
"We have about 80 to 82 students in our classes. Most students come in with at least two years of college that can be done at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville or Illinois State, Illinois State (University in Normal) or Eastern Illinois (University in Charleston) or they come in with their bachelor's degree. The school of pharmacy is four years, and the first three years is largely based on classroom and the fourth year is spent out at different practice sites learning from mentors. Overall, our school has 320 to 330 students at any point in time. We entered with our first class in 2005 and our first graduating class was in 2009. We just graduated our fifth class this past May."
How long have you been with the school?
"I joined the school in 2008. I had been at the University of Colorado School of Pharmacy prior to that from 1995 to 2008. I was raised in the Central Illinois area and I was interested in the new school of pharmacy and was looking for an opportunity to come back and be a part of this school."
What attracted you to this field?
"I can't say that there as anything in general that interested me and led me into the practice of pharmacy. When I was a junior in high school, I decided my career path. I had a sister who was a nurse and through conversations with her I basically came to the decision to look at pharmacy as a career. I made the decision and never looked back. I made a good decision that I've enjoyed everyday."
What do you enjoy about your career?
"The nice thing about the academic setting is you get quite a varied set of responsibilities. I enjoy patient care, though the amount of time I spend with patient care is reduced in an administrative position. I do provide patient care and most of my experience is in geriatric care. I work around nursing homes two half days a week providing care for older patients. I enjoy that and I am a big advocate for minimizing the amount of medication older people use. I think many older people use a high number of medications and I am a big advocate of reducing that because of the complications that come from multiple medicine use. I also provide care in anti-coagulation clinics for those who have a clotting problem, usually in their leg or from a stroke. They take blood thinners and I provide care for a small number of patients. I see those patients on Monday morning. I enjoy patient care and I enjoy research. It's nice to be able to discover new things to find out information that changes the practice for the good, so that is something I greatly enjoy. I enjoy teaching and I enjoy being in front of students and helping students achieve their career goals and become pharmacists who make an impact in society through patient care. I enjoy all of the different aspects of what I do."
Contact reporter Will Buss at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2526.