Sense of Community Draw
for Local Pharmacist
October was American Pharmacists Month. Maintaining good health is especially important to those coping with vision loss. Added stress and health issues impact those losing vision. So I wanted to interview a pharmacist. Bev Kennedy kindly agreed to share her story.
1. Bev, can you share a little bit about your background with my readers?
I am the oldest of five children. I met Joe in Hanover, Pennsylvania, where I was working, and we got married in April 1998. In 2003, my husband and I adopted fourteen-year-old Kayla from the foster care system. I’m now a grandmother to three sweet grandchildren, with whom I share a strong bond. I’m very close with family, in general.
2. I know you’re committed to the Lions Club values. How and when did that all come about?
My parents and grandparents were actively involved in the community. My dad is a member of the Greene Township Lions Club. His father before him was also a Lion, so Dad followed in his footsteps. In the early 1980s, the wives of the Greene Township Lions Club formed a Lioness Club, and my mother is a charter member of the organization. She also became a Lion later.
Shortly after adopting Kayla, the Greene Township Lions had a father-daughter banquet and we took Kayla. That occasion was a first for my daughter. She was so moved by being included as a granddaughter for the first time that she went to my dad and asked how she could become a Lion. My father told Kayla about the Leos, the teen youth group arm of the Lions Club International.
Kayla talked with her friends and created a list with the names of those who wanted to become involved. We approached our local Lions Club where her school was located. In order to have a Leo Club, there must be a Lion sponsor. I joined the Conneaut Valley Lions Club that evening. By the next spring, we had formed a Leo Club at the former Conneaut Valley High School.
3. What is your role now in the Lions Club?
A few years later, I transferred to the Albion Area Lions Club, which was closer to home and soon was actively involved. A year later, I was appointed Secretary , a position I still hold. When my father was elected District Governor of District 14F in northwestern PA, he asked me to be his District Secretary.
My parents took us kids to many Lions events over the years as I was growing up. Soon, working at a function was expected. As an adult looking back on those events, I have so many positive memories that it seems natural for me to be actively volunteering in my community.
4. How did you decide on a career as a pharmacist?
My profession as a pharmacist intertwines with my desire to volunteer in my community. To help me choose pharmacy, I went to the library and read a book about the personalities that go with different health care professions. Pharmacy seemed to be a good fit. For many years, I was a community pharmacist working for a large chain drug store. Eventually, I left the that job and started working at a small community-oriented independent hospital where I work today.
5. What kind of education is necessary to become a pharmacist?
I have a five-year Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh. After 2000, the requirements changed. An entry level pharmacist needed to have a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Although I didn’t need to upgrade my studies to continue working, I opted to get this degree. After nine semesters, in 2013, I received the Doctor of Pharmacy degree.
6. What are you current responsibilities as a pharmacist?
My responsibilities at the hospital depend on what position I work in on any given day. One day I may be responsible for the IV room where the IVs for the hospital patients are made, or one day I may be an order sentry, where I am responsible for the correct orders and medications entered for the patients. Another day I might work alongside physicians in the patient units clarifying the medications to the patients. I am also responsible for working on weekends, evenings and nights as needed to provide pharmaceutical care to the hospital staff and patients.
7. How did you celebrate American Pharmaceutical Month?
Our hospital pharmacy celebrated by having a luncheon catered by a local Italian restaurant. The hospital was quite gracious to cater the luncheon for us. In addition, as in past years, national pharmacy networks and groups provided a lot of patient education programs throughout the month.
8. Speaking of educational programs. do you have any suggestions for eye health that I can share with my readers?
Eye health and research is one of the main activities of the Lions Clubs International. There are many important vitamins, minerals and herbal supplements on the market that “optimize vision and eye health.” What I think is the most important is that someone takes a good quality multi-vitamin that includes alpha-lipolic acid, lutein, beta carotene or Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C.
9. Thanks! Since community outreach is important to you, do you have any projects in the wings?
I’m really excited about a new project I was asked to get involved in by the hospital cardiologist. I’m working along with the hospital to better educate and talk with heart failure patients about their medications. I love the one-on-one contact!
Another project I’m working on in my community is planning a Community Wellness Day at my local fire department. Plans are starting to come together where the community can come in for free blood pressure screenings, a review of their medications, free diabetes blood glucose checks, healthy eating alternatives, maybe a blood drive, eye screenings, osteoporosis screenings in conjunction with the fire department’s annual ambulance fund drive. I hope to have fun things for the kids to do, too–like balloons and face painting and maybe tours of the fire trucks and ambulances.
The date for this event is March 19, 2016. There are many, many people who go undiagnosed with these diseases. If we discover even one previously undiagnosed individual, the day will be a success.
10. What do you like best about your job?
As a pharmacist, I love talking to the patients to make sure they understand their medications, are taking them the most appropriate way and making sure they are getting the best care and treatment from their medications.
Thank you, Bev, and happy Pharmaceutical Month!
How well do you know the pharmacist in your community? When were you last screened for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol or your eyes? Do you know anyone involved in the Lions Club?
You have just read “Sense of Community the Draw for Local Pharmacist Bev Kennedy.” Interview by Amy L. Bovaird and Beverly Kennedy. Copyright November 9, 2015. Don’t forget to leave a comment!