Considering his first close brush with the profession, Brandon Farmer was probably destined to be a pharmacist. And Farmer will tell you that he was destined to pursue his doctor of pharmacy degree at East Tennessee State University's Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy.
A native of Midway in Greene County, Farmer got an up-close look at pharmacy when, as a student at West Greene High School, he job-shadowed Dr. Benjie Cox, a pharmacist at Greene County Drug. By day's end, Cox had already extended Farmer a job offer. And by the time he graduated from West Greene, Farmer knew he wanted to attend the Gatton College of Pharmacy.
"The college was established when I was in high school, and I graduated from high school the year the first class started, so I've always said Gatton opened just for me to go to pharmacy school," Farmer said with a laugh.
After finishing his undergraduate work at Walters State Community College and ETSU, Farmer did indeed land at Gatton. Now a second-year pharmacy student at ETSU, he is an active leader as a student pharmacist. He is chair of the school's Operation Immunization Committee, which has so far held three immunization clinics for the public, with a focus on flu. He also serves as co-chair of the school's Honor Code Committee, which works to instill a sense of professionalism in Gatton student pharmacists and helps with professional development.
"We use it as a learning tool to start training ourselves to be professionals and how to carry ourselves," said Farmer, who was recently chosen by the Tennessee Society of Student Pharmacists for its October student spotlight. "We identify the characteristics that the public wants to see in a pharmacist, and we strive to instill those characteristics in ourselves."
Farmer could not be happier.
"Since starting pharmacy school, it's become more apparent to me than ever that the possibilities pharmacists have in the health care realm now are overwhelming," Farmer said. "It's exciting to be in school right now and see those changes taking place. The profession is so much more than the public perception of someone wearing a white coat and counting tablets."