Bailey Powers (submitted)

Forks’ newest pharmacist comes full circle

Recently we caught up with Pirate alumnus Bailey Powers. Between working full time, studying for board exams, and getting ready for a well-earned vacation, she was able to share a bit about her journey from Forks HS/Running Start graduate to earning her Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

I always wanted a career in healthcare, but I get queasy with blood and wounds, so I ruled out nursing and a few other specialties. I became interested in a career as a pharmacist when I started working at Chinook Pharmacy in Forks as a teenager. After school and on weekends I cleaned the store, worked the cash register, and shadowed the pharmacist when I had a chance.

Pharmacists are ultimately responsible for safely dispensing prescriptions. It is our job to determine if a prescription is safe for the patient based on drug interactions, food interactions, dosing, renal function, liver function, and so many other things! We work very closely with prescribers to determine the best medication for a patient. We also provide immunizations, blood pressure and blood glucose screenings, and medication management services.

I wanted to return to my hometown of Forks, Washington to be close to my family and continue working at Chinook Pharmacy, which has been my only job since I was 16. I also wanted to bring my education back to the Olympic Peninsula since we have such a hard time finding healthcare providers.

I joined Peninsula College’s Running Start Program because I wanted to complete a couple of years at community college while in high school to save time and money. I graduated from Forks High School with a diploma, and from Peninsula College with an Associate’s of Science degree, in June 2017. In May 2019 I received my Bachelor of Science in Biology from Washington State University and graduated in May 2023 from WSU with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

I found Peninsula College to be a great stepping stone between high school and university. The professors are wonderful—you have all the help you could possibly need, as long as you utilize it. The professors know your face, your name, and care about your learning. This is not always true at a university. One thing that really helped me do well at PC was the math lab. I spent a lot of time there, with Tulsi and Randy. I am not the greatest at math but ended up doing well because they were so helpful. I was thankful I took the calculus series at PC where I had all those resources available to me.

My educational trajectory prepared me for my role as a pharmacist by teaching me how to be an efficient clinician, logically make appropriate decisions, and communicate with providers and patients. My education also helped me become very familiar with the different resources available and how to use them to make the best clinical decision.

I would definitely recommend Peninsula College to other students. I loved the atmosphere at PC—it’s a very relaxed, comfortable, and supportive environment. The professors are wonderful and very knowledgeable. I enjoyed the smaller, close-knit campus, and met some of my closest friends at the college. I still keep in touch with quite a few of my old professors. I also highly recommend the Running Start Program to high school students. Having two years of community college when I started school at WSU really helped the transition go smoothly.

Pharmacy is a quickly evolving field; new drugs are constantly entering the market, treatment guidelines for disease states change yearly, and the role of pharmacists is expanding rapidly. As a pharmacist, my goal is to stay up to date with information to ensure I am providing the best care to my patients. I also hope to be someone who is helpful and willing to go the extra mile for them. I would also love to own my own pharmacy one day.

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