Interning During a Pandemic

Published on 27 May 2020

Walking into a hospital looks different than it did a few months ago. Gone is the bustle of visitors, patients and health care professionals. Today, the entrance is nearly empty, and essential hospital employees are diligently completing temperature checks and symptom screenings.

P4 student Darrick Emery is one of the many essential employees reporting to work every day prepared to serve patients as health care systems across the world combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working as a pharmacy intern at a St. Louis hospital, Emery shares his perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic.

What has it been like working during COVID-19?

The severity of the situation weighs on you when you walk through the hospital.

It’s strange to walk through the halls, because there are no visitors going in and out of rooms. In areas where COVID-19 patients are being treated, seeing nurses and physicians dressed in personal protective equipment reminds you how serious this is.

The pandemic has presented us unique challenges, but everyone is coming together to step up and do their part.

How have your responsibilities changed?

Since the pharmacists and medication technicians are being pulled away to serve in other capacities, I am taking on more responsibilities.

I’m helping keep an inventory of inhalers and critical medications, and I’m conducting controlled substance audit reports.

It’s important to track our medications and supplies to ensure that we maintain inventory. We are a Level 1 Trauma Center, so we need to make sure we have the necessary supplies to take care of all of our patients, not just the COVID-19 patients.

We also are taking extra precautions to protect ourselves and other health care workers such as making our medication storage containers disposable, maintaining social distancing in the pharmacy as much as possible, and sanitizing the dispensing machines.

Has this pandemic given you a new perspective?

Working during this time has given me new insight into how the availability of medications works and how, potentially, not having access to medications could have negative consequences.

Every time I put on a pair of gloves, I am mindful about the conservation efforts we are taking in the pharmacy to preserve the hospital’s supplies. It has made me appreciate the access we have to gloves and medications during normal circumstances.

I also appreciate that our hospital’s task force has been proactive in their response to the pandemic. They have done a great job keeping us informed and safe.

What aspects of your educational experience have helped you the most in recent weeks?

Being able to use my knowledge from school and see it applied in practice provides me with a greater understanding of why certain decisions are being made.

I know I will be able to use what I’m learning now throughout my career.

Across the country, St. Louis College of Pharmacy students, faculty, staff and alumni are serving on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Help us recognize health care heroes or submit your own story at

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