American Pharmacists Month Spotlight: Carrie Bruss

19 October 2023

Carrie Bruss
PharmD, Clinical Pharmacist

Q: Where did you complete your education to become a pharmacist?
A: I did my Bachelor of Science in Biology (pre-pharmacy) at St. Bonaventure University in St. Bonaventure, NY, graduating in 2011. I earned my PharmD at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM) School of Pharmacy in Erie, PA, graduating in 2014.

Q: Can you tell us about your path to this profession?
A: I started as a pharmacy clerk when I was in high school. I then worked my way up through becoming a certified pharmacy technician and pharmacy intern while I was in school, before becoming a pharmacist. I have more than 17 years in the field of pharmacy; 13 years in both independent and corporate retail pharmacy and a little over 4 years here at PDMI.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about being a pharmacist?
A: So much! I love that I can help others first and foremost. It was obviously a lot more hands on when I worked in retail pharmacy but now it’s more behind the scenes help. I am constantly getting calls and asked questions by friends, family, and neighbors about their medications and their health. It feels so good sharing my knowledge when someone questions their medication or a symptom or illness they have. Sometimes I don’t know the answer, which gives me the opportunity to continue learning while also helping others. Overall, showing that I care and being an advocate for others’ health, especially my family and friends, is so fulfilling.

Q: During American Pharmacists Month, what message do you want to convey to the community about the importance of pharmacists?
A: Pharmacists play such an important role in the entire healthcare system. The statement is often made that “pharmacists aren’t doctors,” but they are. Pharmacist degrees today are a PharmD or a Doctor of Pharmacy. Pharmacists are the experts on drugs, not just for the patients, but for doctors and nurses. When a doctor, pharmacist, and patient work together, optimal health outcomes are ensured.

Q: There are obviously major differences between working in a pharmacy setting and working in an office environment. What would you say was the biggest transition for you?
A: At first the biggest transition, as silly as it sounds, was not standing all day, getting a lunch break, and being able to use the restroom at any time. I don’t think many people know how grueling a 12-hour shift in a retail pharmacy can be. My interactions with other people have changed. In retail I always communicated with patients and nurses. At PDMI, I interact with almost all of our departments from Account Management to Finance to IT and beyond. I collaborate with our clients and plans and rarely communicate with patients.

Q: What do you like best about working at PDMI?
A: What’s not to love about working at PDMI?! We have such a good mix of employees and our culture here is different than most other workplaces. When we say “We CARE” as part of our company values, we really do. The company, the executive team, and the employees genuinely care about each other, their families, and their wellbeing. People go out of their way here to check on each other during a hard time, celebrate successes, and acknowledge each other’s hard work. On top of that, we really do have fun at work. We have monthly activities or challenges, wellness opportunities, volunteer or charity work, a Christmas party, a summer picnic, and tons of other things in between. I truly love working at PDMI.