Letters to a Young Pharmacist

Sage Advice on Life & Career from Extraordinary Pharmacists

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Page Count: 176

In Letters to a Young Pharmacist: Sage Advice on Life & Career from Extraordinary Pharmacists, find expert advice and guidance for the choices and challenges you will face. Written by 35 leading pharmacists, these very personal letters offer sound advice and insight for seizing or creating opportunities, balancing career and family, avoiding mistakes, and overcoming setbacks.

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Most of us have received very little, if any, formal training on how to manage our lives and careers. In Letters to a Young Pharmacist: Sage Advice on Life & Career from Extraordinary Pharmacists, find expert advice and guidance for the choices and challenges you will face. Written by 35 leading pharmacists, these very personal letters offer sound advice and insight for seizing or creating opportunities, balancing career and family, avoiding mistakes, and overcoming setbacks. 

Gain from the wisdom and practical advice offered in these letters on such topics as: 

  • Finding the right job or residency
  • Developing productive partnerships
  • The importance of networking 
  • Thinking creatively to design new therapies
  • Working well in the culture of your organization
  • Understanding your strengths and weaknesses 
  • … and much more

Learn from people who have faced many of the same career and life experiences that lie ahead of you. 

More than a book, Letters to a Young Pharmacist is a companion guide for your life's work—and a must-have for every new pharmacist.

Susan A. Cantrell, BS Pharm, CAE

Susan A. Cantrell is Director, Drug Information Association (DIA) North America. As the first regional Director for North America, she works with the Advisory Council of North America and its Content Advisory Committee to develop DIA’s overall strategy for this region. She is also responsible for outreach to regulatory and other government agencies (such as the FDA and NIH) and related associations, and divides her time between worldwide headquarters in Horsham (PA) and Washington, DC. As a regional Director, Ms. Cantrell also serves on the Global Management Team, responsible for helping to coordinate DIA enterprise resources and policy from an operational perspective.

Prior to joining DIA, Cantrell was with the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, a professional society for whom she worked for 19 years in a series of progressively responsible positions. She most recently served as Vice President of Resources Development, where she led the society’s efforts in domestic and international business development. Prior to this, she served as Managing Director, ASHP Advantage, a division of the society that developed and implemented accredited educational programs to assist pharmacists and health professionals. She brings significant experience in pharmacy practice, healthcare delivery and policy, and association management, including a substantial background in professional education, large meetings, business development, and volunteer engagement.

Cantrell is a member of the Alliance for Continuing Medical Education, the American Society of Association Executives, the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and the International Pharmaceutical Federation. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Mississippi, and has completed a residency in hospital pharmacy. She is pursuing graduate training in public health at the University of North Carolina. Ms. Cantrell's numerous honors include the 2010 Alliance for Continuing Medical Education President’s Award.


Sara J. White, RPh, MS, FASHP

Sara J. White is currently a primary faculty member for the ASHP Education and Research Foundation’s Pharmacy Leadership Academy and Leaders Innovation Masters Series programs and a pharmacy leadership coach.

She graduated from Oregon State University with a Bachelor's degree in Pharmacy. After graduation, White worked at the University of Oregon Medical Center and Emanuel Hospital in Portland for 2 years. She then earned her Master of Science degree at The Ohio State University and completed an ASHP-accredited residency at The Ohio State University Hospitals and Clinics.

Ms. White served as Associate Director, Director of Clinical Education, and Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center and School of Pharmacy for 20 years. She was the Director of Pharmacy at Stanford Hospital and Clinics and Clinical Professor at the University of California, San Francisco, for 11 years before taking an early retirement. White has served as an ASHP Foundation Scholar-in-Residence. She is in her third 3-year term as a corporate board member for Omnicell.

Ms. White has served as President of the Greater Kansas City Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Kansas Society of Hospital Pharmacists, and American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. She has also served ASHP as Chair of the House of Delegates, a board member, and a council member. She has received multiple awards for her contributions to pharmacy, including the Kansas Hospital Pharmacist of the Year Award, Kansas Pharmacist of the Year Award, Harold N. Godwin Lecture Award, Lambda Kappa Sigma Vanguard Leadership Award, Clifton J. Latiolais Award, John A. Webb Lecture Award, Ohio State Jack L. Beal Postbaccalaureate Award, ASHP Distinguished Leadership Award, and the Harvey A.K. Whitney Lecture Award.

In addition to developing, implementing, and leading comprehensive computerized clinical and distributive pharmacy services, which included computerized prescriber order entry and unit-based drug distribution automation, White has trained over 90 pharmacy residents and taught numerous pharmacy students.


Bruce E. Scott, RPh, MS, FASHP

Bruce E. Scott currently serves as President of The CADENT Group, providing consultative services to healthcare business and provider-related organizations. He has served in executive roles at Allina Hospitals and Clinics, McKesson Medication Management, and Medco Health Solutions. Mr. Scott is a Past-President of both the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and the Minnesota Society of Health-System Pharmacists. He is a recipient of the John Webb Lecture Award from the Northeastern University College of Pharmacy.


An interview with the editors can be found here.

MedInfoNow: Doody’s Review Services 


Melissa M. Ranieri, PharmD (Temple University School of Pharmacy)


This is a unique compilation of writings by experienced and accomplished practitioners in the field of pharmacy that offers invaluable advice on how to manage a young professional's pharmacy career, and the end result does not disappoint.


This is a guide to navigating the professional challenges and opportunities pharmacists encounter. While pharmacy education is comprehensive and rigorous, there is no formal training on how to manage one's pharmacy career. This book fills the gap and offers practical advice for young pharmacists. The authors are willing to share their own heartfelt stories with the hope their experience can help new professionals. The book is captivating and provides invaluable lessons. As a practicing pharmacist, I agree with many of the sentiments shared by these extraordinary pharmacists. This wisdom can certainly help young pharmacists embark on a successful career path.


The letters are written specifically for young pharmacists or for pharmacists seeking a new career path. However, the book is interesting for any pharmacist regardless of their experience. Perhaps the key is that readers be open-minded and determined to become successful leaders in the profession. This is a prevailing theme of the book: that all pharmacists are in a position to lead and to effect change. In order to do so, one must be motivated to accept various opportunities as they arise. Another common theme is the importance of mentoring and teaching other pharmacists; these pharmacists are certainly willing to mentor in terms of sharing their personal stories.


Perhaps what is most intriguing about this book is that it provides an insider's view of the life stories of 35 accomplished pharmacists from various settings. Much of the advice they offer comes only from personal experience or in very close, professional relationships. Therefore, the life lessons and secrets to success are essential to a young professional. Some of the topics they cover include overcoming adversity and challenges, the importance of professional relationships and mentoring, working to effect change and finding the right job fit. Each chapter opens with the pharmacist's background and one key piece of advice. Their letters are written openly and discuss some very important strategies to succeed and to be happy as a pharmacist. Perhaps most importantly, all of the authors speak positively about the profession and the opportunities that lie ahead for their junior colleagues.


I found this book an enjoyable and inspiring read, a must-have for new pharmacists hoping to be leaders in the field. Ever present themes are a passion for pharmacy, a motivation to effect change, and being true to one's professional and personal beliefs. Young pharmacists can learn critical life lessons, both good and bad, from those who have experienced them and have triumphed.


Weighted Numerical Score: 100 - 5 Stars!