Meet Austin Gardner
Austin Gardner of Morristown is a third-year student at East Tennessee State University’s Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy. Gardner completed his undergraduate degree in microbiology and chemistry at ETSU and plans to go into administration in his future career in pharmacy.
Why do you want to become a pharmacist?
I guess the biggest reason that I chose pharmacy was the diverse nature of pharmacy. A lot of people think that retail pharmacy that you see in a community setting is the whole realm of being a pharmacist, but it’s not. You can specialize and really diversify your profile as a pharmacist by going into internal medicine, emergency medicine, oncology, nuclear pharmacy, critical care, academia or administration. There are a lot of different pathways you can take in pharmacy. So, I chose pharmacy for that reason in hopes to go into administration.
Why did you choose Gatton College of Pharmacy?
I think the biggest thing that stood out to me about Gatton was the way that I was treated on my interview day. I went to undergrad at ETSU as well, so I was very familiar with the area and the people. My interview really gave me a sense of a family feel that truly showed me I would be able to create relationships with the professors that might help me in my pharmacy career. Ultimately that’s why I ended up choosing Gatton.
How has interprofessional education at ETSU shaped your experience here?
The interprofessional education here is just continually improving every single year. With the new Building 60 (Interprofessional Education and Research Center), they’re really pushing for a lot of the PharmDs to work with the MDs, and they’re pulling in nurses, as well. They’re really shaping what an actual team looks like. It’s really easy to say, “This is how you do your job,” but whenever you get put into an actual team, that changes because everyone has opinions. So, they’ve done a really good job of teaching me and my fellow classmates how to interact with certain professions and how you should approach certain situations.
What are your plans after graduation?
After graduation, I would like to complete a PGY1 (postgraduate year one) and a PGY2 (postgraduate year two) in administration and then go into the hospital setting and hopefully work my way up. My first year would be spent in a hospital with patient care, so I’d be seeing patients in the in-round services and taking care of patients throughout the first year. The second year really specializes in administration. It’s really the hospital as a whole and how it’s actually working within the admin setting. Additionally, those PGY1s and PGY2s have a master of business administration and a master in health administration that you can tag on, as well. I would also be going through one of those programs wherever I’m at to get either my MBA or my MHA. Currently, I’m looking at a few different residency programs that have the dual PGY1/PGY2 in administration. Once I complete that, hopefully, I can move into a sort of a director of pharmacy role—maybe that’s within one hospital setting or maybe that’s over an entire chain of hospitals. I don’t exactly know yet. I have hopes of taking on a CEO position later in life.