Get to know Duquesne University School of Pharmacy alumna Michelle Mikus, Pharm.D. in the School of Pharmacy Spotlight Series.

Job Title:

Vice President of Pharmacy Services


Delta Care Rx

Why did you choose to study pharmacy?

In high school, my 11th grade history teacher also taught a course at Duquesne. He was familiar with the School of Pharmacy and somehow heard about a summer internship with CVS for high school students interested in pharmacy and suggested to me that I apply. I think he knew history wasn't for me! I had always wanted to go into the medical field but didn't know exactly where. During that internship, I really enjoyed getting to work as part of a team while witnessing how medicine can help people stay healthy, feel better, and/or overcome illness. I still find drugs and how they interact with the body down to the molecular level fascinating.

Why did you choose the Duquesne University School of Pharmacy?

It was always Duquesne for me. I grew up in Pittsburgh and didn't necessarily want to go to college far away. I visited the campus a few times and loved it–city living without always feeling like you are in the city. My class was the first class that had to take the PCAT and apply to the professional program after two years of pre-pharmacy. During that process I didn't apply anywhere else. It had already been made apparent that Duquesne had all of the resources I needed to be successful and was an environment I could excel in.

What do you enjoy most about your current position?

I work with hospice and palliative care providers and really like consulting on increasingly complex patients. Working the patient up and often having to think outside of the box, taking into consideration what the patient has trialed, what resources are available based on time of day and day of week, the patient's environment of care, the willingness to use certain medications, the dose conversions, the formulation considerations, etc. It is extremely fulfilling when all of this comes together to provide a patient relief from the symptoms of their terminal illness during what is often their last hours, days, or weeks of life.

How did the Duquesne University SOP help you prepare for your future in pharmacy?

I felt there was a really good variety of courses and organizations to explore different areas of pharmacy. I took a palliative care course without having any intention of ultimately ending up as a palliative care pharmacist, but I don't know that I would have found this area of pharmacy without it. I was also exposed to professors that practice pharmacy at the top of their license and saw first hand pharmacist involvement in the interdisciplinary team, both of which quickly became goals of mine.

What is your favorite memory from your time at Duquesne University (SOP or non-SOP related)?

Graduation day–and I mean that with sincerity. While bittersweet that pharmacy school was over, I felt all of our hard work for 4-plus years had paid off while simultaneously feeling like life was just beginning. Our whole class was together for the last time before we scattered all over the country, and I was surrounded by my friends and family. The entire day was perfection.

If you were to talk to a prospective student or yourself as a high school senior, what advice would you give?

You don't know if you're going to enjoy something until you try it, so take opportunities that are presented to you (or at a minimum carefully consider them). It's okay to explore things on your own and leave your comfort zone.

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December 15, 2022