Corner Office: Sarah Lawrence, PharmD

Corner Office_Sarah-LawrenceMeet Sarah M. Lawrence, PharmD, director of the Pharmacy Technician Program at Sullivan University College of Pharmacy.

Fast Facts

Birth date: July 4
Hometown: Madisonville, KY
Husband: David Lawrence
Children: Henry (age 5) and Sam (age 3.5)
Hobbies: Reading, arts and crafts, traveling
Currently reading: Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and The Old Man’s War series by John Scalzi

What’s one thing that really piqued your interest in healthcare?

I have family members who are in healthcare, so that’s what I wanted to do as a child. I took a different path as an undergraduate, but later had the opportunity to make a career change. I researched different fields and decided that being a pharmacist was a good fit for my skills and interests.

What do you enjoy most about the Louisville area?

I grew up in a small town, and when I moved to Louisville for college, I thought it was a huge city. I now know and appreciate that Louisville is much more like a friendly small town but with the cultural advantages, access to sports teams and other things you’d expect from a city.

What do you consider your greatest talent or skill?

I’m an organizer and a planner. I can take a project or a situation, and break it down into all possible courses of action, and map out the potential consequences to help determine the right path. I try to build consensus among stakeholders, and often deliberately solicit and discuss dissenting opinions in order to get a true picture of the challenges and opportunities in any situation. Finally, I try to strike a balance between maintaining the status quo, when things are working well, and looking for opportunities to improve, because they are always present.

How do you revitalize yourself?

When I need to recharge, I find it most helpful to take a step back from whatever I’m doing and take a break, whether that’s in the form of a short walk, doing an activity that I enjoy, or taking a nap. Sometimes I just reach out to chat quickly with a friend, and that’s enough to reenergize me.

What’s one piece of advice you remember most clearly?

Early in my career, a mentor told me that the greatest thing I could learn to do was listen to others and learn from them. Everyone has something that they can teach you, if you allow them to. I’ve learned from my clients, my students, my colleagues, my supervisors, and my own children. And listening to others helps me learn about myself as well.

What do you hope to accomplish in the Pharm Tech Program at SUCOP?

I want our program to be a leader in providing up-to-date training for the pharmacy technician workforce. Alongside our current programs for those entering the profession, I’d like to see expanded offerings for technicians already in the field who want to further their skills and continuing education opportunities to help technicians stay up to date on the latest developments and innovations in pharmacy. I want to expand our reach by incorporating more technology into our program and make use of online learning and distance learning modalities to be a leader in pharmacy technician education across the country.

Tell us about the culture you’re trying to foster in the Pharm Tech Program at SUCOP.

I want students to understand that completing our program is just the first step. They’re entering a profession where lifelong learning is critical. I also want to foster a sense of collegiality with other healthcare professionals, since we all must work together with the same goal in mind: excellent care of the patient. Beyond that, I’m interested in making sure our students graduate with the knowledge that they need to succeed, including clinical, technical, and communication skills.

Any feedback you’ve gotten over the years about your leadership style that made you think: “Fair point. I’m going to make an adjustment”?

I’m an introvert, and have to remind myself that introversion can be misinterpreted as aloofness or disengagement. I’ve had employees tell me that they weren’t sure whether they could approach me, so I now make a conscious effort to let my team know that the door is open, and encourage them to reach out whenever they have a concern.