My interest and desire to pursue a career in health care service comes from my thirteen years of immigrant life. I was born in South Korea, moved to Argentina at age 11, and then to the United States at age 19. During my years of experience as an immigrant in two different countries, I have realized that many first generation immigrants are not receiving adequate health care. I have often seen a lack of communication skills as a primary barrier for getting sufficient services in health care institutions.
It was frustrating to realize that my parents did not have the same access to health care as the parents of my native classmates. This realization served as a strong motivator to work in the health care field, where I could assist those with poor health services due to their cultural, social, or economic status. After my family immigrated to the United States, I had to manage my school life while helping my parents to run their business. They ran a small grocery store in South Los Angeles, and the store was frequented by people with drug addiction and alcoholism.
Quite often, regular customers of the store were not well and could not control their own bodies, with uncontrollably shaky hands and bleeding arms from needle marks due to their addictions. If I refused to sell alcohol to customers who were already clearly intoxicated, they would insult me and make fun of my parent’s English. Instead of turning them away, my mother would often give them cold medicine that we sold at the counter with a cup of hot water whenever they had caught a cold and advise, “Go home, buy food, no more drugs. ” I thought that they would surely abuse my mother’s generosity.
After a while, I noticed that the customers my mom helped eventually began to respond to her with kindness and respect. People who used to insult my parents started calling “Mommy” to my mother. This taught me that the exercise of true charity can often alleviate serious conflicts. I also realized that the medicine my mother gave out healed not only the physical illnesses of those customers, but their minds as well, melting away the anger and hatred. The action of giving out medicines came to my mind as being very attractive, and I started thinking about becoming a pharmacist over many other health care professions.
When I volunteered in a local hospital pharmacy, I noted that the duties of pharmacists are rewarding, and most pharmacists I met there were happy and satisfied about their profession. This experience encouraged my decision to become a pharmacist. Later, I obtained the pharmacy technician license which allowed me a position in a local retail pharmacy. I often translate my pharmacists’ words into the patient’s native tongue, Korean or Spanish, and I can imagine myself as a future pharmacist providing patients counseling in these languages.
After having worked in the pharmacy for several months, I have realized that achieving a PharmD degree will allow me a position where I could provide health care services as well as utilize the business management skills I have obtained from the hands on experience in my parents’ store. These experiences have helped me to situate my short term professional goal, and this goal is to become a pharmacist involved in both the health care and business industries.
A PharmD degree would allow me achieve the substantial goal of my life of helping people from diverse backgrounds, providing them excellent health services through pharmacological business. My life has been full of diversity, change, and adaptation. I have faced several challenges along the way, including acclimating to an array of new languages, educational systems, and cultures. These adjustments were not easy, but they provided me with a sense of flexibility, depth of understanding, and empathy for other people, and a clear personal and professional direction for my life.