Transitions Magazine

Transitions is published bi-monthly for members of the APhA New Practitioner Network. The online newsletter contains information focused on life inside and outside pharmacy practice, providing guidance on various areas of professional, personal, and practice development. Each issue includes in-depth articles on such topics as personal financial management, innovative practice sites, career profiles, career development tools, residency and postgraduate programs, and more.

Let your creativity flow!
Tom English

Let your creativity flow!


I have always been a “Creative,” mostly in the fine arts. My parents still have framed drawings from my preschool days up in their house. I was involved in art all throughout grade school and was drawn (no pun intended) to graphic design.

At the same time, my love for math and science was ever-present, and college applications were approaching. I knew I was interested in health care and chemistry. Fast forward and I became a pre-pharmacy student at Drake University College of Pharmacy & Health Sciences. My coursework was full of biology and organic chemistry, but what about the arts I loved?

Using the right side of my brain

Sophomore year I decided to declare a minor in graphic design. I worked closely with my advisor to adjust my schedule so I could take the required courses for the minor along with pharmacy school. Safe to say, there was no overlap in curriculum. I was packing my schedule even more, but to me it was worth it to have a “break” from health sciences during the week. This was my opportunity to continue designing and using the right side of my brain. I never regret that decision. 

Throughout college, my pharmacy and design interests stayed consistent. I took “Principles of Drug Action,” but also “Typography.” I interned at a grocery store pharmacy, but I was also art director for the university’s literary journal. I competed in juried art shows and studied antibiotics on the weekends. I completed my minor during the second year of grad school, finally merging the two concepts with a printmaking collection in medicinal botany.

My eye for design comes in handy

I never saw myself with a career in graphic design. I simply took the classes to keep my passion alive. Little did I know that it would help me in the world of pharmacy, too. For 3 years I interned with the Iowa Board of Pharmacy and was able to create logos, make infographics, and even re-design the state license certificates. 

In my current role with the APhA Foundation, I still use my eye for design to provide input on marketing materials and create visual information. 

Follow your passion & have fun

If you have a passion—art, writing, dance, music, anything!—don’t forget about them. Find small ways to practice your artistic abilities. For me, this is now keeping a “junk journal” of collages made from ephemera and little bits of my day, like a receipt or tag. It’s no Michaelangelo, but it keeps me engaged in my design background. It’s a great way to relax after a workday. 

In a world that is valuing automation and banality more and more, it can feel pointless to have passion projects or do anything outside of necessity. From a professional perspective, bringing unique interests and talents to an otherwise technical career in pharmacy is beneficial. You might not be painting portraits at the pharmacy, but you might have a better eye for detail, or approach a situation from a different perspective. 

As Albert Einstein said: “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Don’t forget to have fun. 

Emily Albers, PharmD, is the 2023–2024 APhA Foundation Executive Fellow in Washington, DC. She graduated from Drake University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and is a Kansas City native. Her areas of practice include association management and leadership. Along with crafting, she spends most of her free time as a dog mom to a cattle dog/schnauzer, Louis. 

Previous Article The project manager mindset
180 Rate this article:
Please login or register to post comments.