Inspired by a fellow student pharmacist
An inspiration to her chapter, Madeline Salsman (left; pictured with Ellie Nazzoli) has excelled in leading Operation Immunization events in the Kansas City, MO, area.
Sometimes it can be hard to sit down and home in on the piles of responsibilities that come with being a student pharmacist. With the global pandemic and feelings of Imposter Syndrome added to the equation, many days seem overwhelming. Having a team beside me that repeatedly perseveres and achieves their goals not only gives me hope, but also motivates me to get to work and continue pushing through those difficult moments.
One of my biggest inspirations is Madeline Salsman, a third-year student pharmacist and our chapter’s Operation Immunization chair. During her tenure so far, Madeline’s efforts on our APhA–ASP Executive Board have exceeded my expectations for what is possible with the limited in-person opportunities available. Her work has reached classrooms, radio stations, and the Kansas City community as a whole.
Madeline in action
Madeline’s first project, in collaboration with Director of Experiential Learning Valerie Ruehter, PharmD, BCPP, was organizing flu shot clinics across the Kansas City metro area, including at hospitals, grocery stores, Walgreens pharmacies, and on our campus at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. Third-year student pharmacists participated in the clinics, where they educated patients and, at many events, administered more than 100 flu vaccines.
The clinics’ success propelled Madeline into pursuing other community-engaging education events. One such project was the Teddy Bear Clinics, a Zoom-based live presentation at elementary schools. Using teddy bears to serve as patients and pencils to represent vaccines, student pharmacists explained vaccination to fourth graders and why vaccinations are important. They shared strategies the fourth graders can use to calm themselves when receiving an immunization. The young students even got to keep their teddy bears as a “stress relief buddy” for the next time they receive a vaccine.
One of Madeline’s most widely reached projects was a public service announcement for the flu vaccine in October. She recorded a radio commercial and created a billboard to remind our community to get the flu vaccine. All this work landed Madeline a Patient Care Executive Member of the Month award.
It’s certainly not difficult to feel motivated to better myself and my work on our team when I have people like Madeline on my side. I also believe in the importance of recognizing inspiring achievements, especially during the pandemic.
Kelly Williams is a second-year PharmD candidate at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Pharmacy.