Published on 11 December 2019
Scott Micek, Pharm.D., FCCP, BCPS, professor of pharmacy practice at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, director of the College’s Center for Health Outcomes Research and Education, and clinical pharmacy specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, wears many hats as a pharmacist. Whether he is making rounds at the hospital, educating students, or analyzing datasets, he is always focused on positive patient outcomes.
Coming out of high school, I really hadn't considered pharmacy as a career option. I really liked math and science, but at that time, what I really wanted to be was a football player. I accepted a partial athletic scholarship to Mankato State University in Minnesota to play college football. After my first year there, my dad advised me to develop a career plan outside of football.
I eventually decided to apply to the University of Iowa (UI) College of Pharmacy. Growing up, I was fortunate to have a neighbor who owned his own independent compounding pharmacy. Once I got into pharmacy school, he asked me to come and work for him. It was a great opportunity because I was able to start getting firsthand pharmacy experience right away.
At first, I worked primarily in his community pharmacy, but later on, he gave me an additional opportunity to work in the home health pharmacy division of the independent pharmacy corporation he co-owned in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. While interning at the home health pharmacy, I had the opportunity to join pharmacists and nurses during home visits. The interactions between health care professionals and patients really inspired me and solidified my desire to choose pharmacy as a profession.
What type of pharmacist are you?
I'm a hospital pharmacist, and my specialty is intensive care medicine. I provide pharmacy services to patients within the intensive care units of the hospital as a member of the patient care team that includes physicians, nurses, respiratory therapists, dieticians, social workers, case workers and others. Being part of a team like this takes me back to my football days because a patient care team functions much like a sports team. Everyone has a job and everyone contributes in a unique way. But, instead of trying to win a game, our goal is to work together to make a patient better.
What makes your career path unique?
For 15 years, I worked full time in a hospital intensive care unit serving patients and families as a hospital pharmacist. Now, I’m using my skills to educate the next generation of pharmacists. In addition, I spend 12-14 weeks a year working in a hospital, and when I'm there, I always have the chance to work with pharmacy students who are on rotations. This is really rewarding because I get to see the students put their knowledge into practice and watch as they interact directly with members of the patient care team, the patient and the patients’ families.
At St. Louis College of Pharmacy, I've also been able to pursue my passion for research. As the director of the College's Center for Health Outcomes Research and Education, I'm part of a team that analyzes data from electronic health records as well as administrative claims databases. We build models and algorithms and then apply our findings at the bedside in the form of electronic clinical decision alerts or order sets designed to help us improve the outcomes of hospitalized patients. We have many students involved with us in this research, and they are gaining important skills in database construction, as well as statistical data analysis.
My career path has been very unique because I've been able to go in multiple directions. But, whether I'm in the hospital, teaching students in the classroom or doing research, the patient has always remained the focus of all of my work.
What advice would you give a student entering pharmacy school?
Whether it's connecting with professors, or with older students who have been through pharmacy school before, it's so important to get involved and to get to know people. I also can't stress enough the importance of non-digital relationships. I always tell my students that I can help them so much more effectively with 5-10 minutes of face time than I could by spending 20 minutes answering an email from them. That face-to-face contact really allows me to get to know students and show them I care.
Learn more about the Center for Health Outcomes Research and Education at stlcop.edu/health-outcomes.