Child­hood Di­ag­no­sis In­spired North Coun­try Phar­ma­cist

Stanstead Journal - - NEWS -

Spe­cial col­lab­o­ra­tion, Nancy Goss, New­port, VT

Di­ag­nosed­with Type 1 Di­a­betes (com­monly known as ju­ve­nile di­a­betes) when she was nine years old, Monika Onus­seit’s life was for­ever changed. She was forced to meet the chal­lenges of liv­ing with di­a­betes at a young age, but the dis­ease also helped shape her fu­ture. She is now the new­est phar­ma­cist at North Coun­try Hos­pi­tal in part be­cause of her child­hood di­ag­no­sis.

“I’m happy and pleased she is here,” Mike Omar said. “She is do­ing a spec­tac­u­lar job.” Mike is a phar­ma­cist and the Di­rec­tor of the hos­pi­tal’s phar­macy.

Monika ex­plained how di­a­betes helped take her ca­reer in a di­rec­tion it

may have never taken if it weren’t for the di­ag­no­sis.

“At a young age, I ex­pe­ri­enced first-hand how medicine can help peo­ple with med­i­cal con­di­tions live healthy, happy, and nor­mal lives,” she ex­plained. “When I would go into Bos­ton to see my en­docri­nol­o­gist at the Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal, I would walk right past the Mas­sachusetts Col­lege of Phar­macy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) and I would see all of the phar­macy stu­dents work­ing in the lab through the large win­dow fac­ing the street. See­ing those stu­dents in their white lab coats, ap­ply­ing all of their phar­macy skills and knowl­edge, re­ally in­spired me to start think­ing about a ca­reer in phar­macy. I wanted to know ev­ery­thing that they knew. I wanted to un­der­stand medicine and be able to help other pa­tients un­der­stand their med­i­ca­tions. I be­gan fo­cus­ing es­pe­cially on my math and science classes, and luck­ily I had some great teach­ers, who were all very en­cour­ag­ing. And in the end, MCPHS was the col­lege that I de­cided to at­tend, and I be­came one of those very stu­dents that I used to watch through the win­dow.

A na­tive of Mar­ble­head, Mas­sachusetts, Monika, whose par­ents are com­puter pro­gram­mers, grad­u­ated from the Mas­sachusetts Col­lege of Phar­macy and Health Ser­vices with a PharmD, a phar­ma­cist’s equiv­a­lent of a doc­tor­ate’s de­gree. It was the same col­lege which had helped spark her in­ter­est in health­care as a child.

In ad­di­tion to an in­ten­sive course load, she also per­formed ro­ta­tions in a va­ri­ety of set­tings, in­clud­ing hos­pi­tal pharmacies and in-store pharmacies. With her ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing be­hind her, she de­cided to seek a job in a small hos­pi­tal. She felt it was there she could have the most pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on the lives of the pa­tients. She be­gan work at North Coun­try on April 1.

“This is my first time liv­ing in a ru­ral area,” Monika said. “At first it was a lit­tle bit of a cul­ture shock. I would hear peo­ple dis­cussing things like how many eggs their chick­ens were lay­ing, sto­ries about deer hunt­ing, and some­thing called a ‘mud sea­son’. Ev­ery­one has been su­per nice and friendly and I’m re­ally happy that I got the chance to start work­ing here and to be­come a part of the com­mu­nity.”

Monika Onus­seit, North Coun­try Hos­pi­tal phar­ma­cist, is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing ru­ral life for the first time.

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