„It feels good when the years’ worth of work shows up in results, knowing I was part of it too”
Monday, 3 October, 2022
Many believe in the mistaken notion that after finishing pharmacy studies, the only option for graduates is working in a pharmacy. However, there are several more work opportunities, and some of our former students have found employment in the pharmaceutical industry, some work as hospital-clinic pharmacists and some work in family-operated pharmacies. In the “About us!” alumni interview series we will talk to former students of the Faculty of Pharmacy in Pécs, and we will ask them about university years and what they have been doing since gaining their pharmacy degree. Dóra Pánics graduated as a pharmacist, but her career took a strange turn when she applied to a contract research organisation.
Written by Dávid Lokodi
Let’s talk about the beginnings. When did you graduate from the UP Faculty of Pharmacy? Which area of the pharmacy field did you work in, and where are you now?
I graduated in 2015. We were nearing the end of our studies when I started gathering information about the various options for graduates in pharmacy. I knew after my summer practices that I did not want to work in a pharmacy long-term, it’s not for me. I imagined myself a professional milieu where no two days are the same, my time is more flexible, I meet many new people, but I still stay close to science.
I applied to a CRO (contract research organisation) that summer as a monitor, and I got employed for three months only at first, helping the job of assistants. What I did then had absolutely nothing to do with pharmacy, but since this world was attractive and I knew that it was hard to get in, I started building myself from zero. I asked monitors to let me accompany them to visits to watch what they do.
They saw my enthusiasm and after two months, I got admitted into an internal training where I had the opportunity to learn the theory of the job. After this, I started working as a monitor and spent seven years in the field.
Right now, I am a Trial Manager at a pharma company, responsible for the functioning of clinical examinations in various indications and countries. Clinical examinations are the field of pharmaceutical science that deals with the efficacy and safety of medicines. These examinations are indispensable in medicine development, be those new possibilities, or using already known molecules in new indications.
What were your motivations for going into healthcare? There are several occupations in healthcare providing that are somewhat different from participation in modern medicine. Why did you choose pharmacy?
Aside from my grandmother who was a nurse, no-one else in the family has a healthcare degree. I was clearly interested in natural sciences and I was really motivated by the idea of helping others.
After secondary school I applied to the Medical School, but did not get admitted, I started dietetics instead. But I realised after two years that this was not enough, this was not what I wanted to do. Still unsure at the age of 20, I tried admission again.
I attended a preparatory curse in the Department of Analytics, which is where I first heard about what pharmacy is, and how widespread its uses are and how many opportunities there are for professionals. I felt that this was rather what interested me. I did not regret my choice. I still think that what I do is interesting, and it will stay this way.
If you had to grab the essence of your job, how would you do it? What does being a pharmacist mean to you?
For me it is clearly the fact that we are helping others. In my job it is especially important to realise that what we are doing is part of a greater good. This is sometimes difficult to remember, since success is not immediately visible or tangible, but it feels good when years’ worth of work shows up in results, knowing I was part of it too.
Could you describe your best memories from your time as a pharmacy student?
I feel very lucky to have been part of such a group. I still think of my group mates as people who made my five years so nice, and this is not something anyone can take from me.
What would you suggest to those who are thinking about a future in pharmacy, but are still unsure? Why choose the pharmacy course in Pécs?
Applicants can be part of a community in the Pécs training that are lifetime experiences. If you don’t know what you would like to do when you are 18, that is completely normal. Pharmacy is good because there are many employment opportunities, you don’t need to choose a direction early on, and the field is incredibly interesting. I decided on my direction in my final year, that’s when I knew what suited me best. I would like to highlight the education of foreign languages in the pharmacy training in Pécs. In my job especially, speaking a foreign language is indispensable. I speak English almost all day. I could not do this without the background knowledge I gained in Pécs.