On becoming a leader, inside and out of the pharmacy

By Rebecca Maxon

A young man wearing a white coat stands outside of a building.

Austin Bock

December 8, 2020 — For more than a decade, Austin Bock has known the value of the pharmacist. To him, it’s not just a job, but also a noble calling. When pharmacists created a specific treatment regimen to save his grandfather’s leg, after an infection, he saw firsthand how their attention could save a patient’s life.

Bock, a student in FDU’s School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, has great ambitions to work in both industry and clinical settings. “I want to help the masses through the pharmaceutical industry, using my knowledge along with my communication skills to provide patients with better pharmaceutical products,” he says. “I also want to simultaneously work within a hospital or a retail setting part-time to directly see the impact I make in patients’ lives.”

Since enrolling in pharmacy school, Bock has made it his mission to round out his medical skills, joining the National Community Pharmacist Association. He is a certified pharmacy technician; certified in HIPPA privacy laws in healthcare; a certified lifeguard and a certified administrator of Narcan, the drug best known for reversing heroin overdoses. He also is a driver for the Florham Park First-Aid Squad.

Plus, he’s already worked in retail pharmacy, with internships at the Whiting (N.J.) Pharmacy; Stop & Shop and CVS, and as a pharmacy technician at Shop-Rite.

Putting his communication skills to use in the Echoes of the Glen newspaper, which serves the Cedar Glen retirement community in Manchester Township in South Jersey, he’s written a “Medicare Corner” and an article on vitamins and boosting the immune system.

Bock has always been active in serving his community.

As an undergraduate bio-chemistry/pre-pharmacy major at the Florham Campus, Bock became a resident assistant. “I wanted to help residents just like my freshman-year RA did for me. I did my best to make sure all residents knew that I was a resource for them.” He received Resident Assistant Rookie of the Year recognition in 2017. He was also in the FDU Chemistry Club and pledged the Epsilon Tau chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity.

He’s continued to be a leader in residence life, now as a graduate hall director for the First-Year area and the Village residence halls. “I make sure that residents know they have a resource to come to any time they need assistance, and I can also focus on helping the RAs themselves, fostering their growth and development. I love watching these residents grow into amazing adults.”

But most formative has been his pharmacy fieldwork. In his initial pharmacy practice experience, he participated in morning rounds and counseled patients on their medication regimens at the Community Medical Center in Toms River, N.J., near his hometown of Jackson. “This was my first insight into hospital pharmacy, learning about the inner workings of the hospital.”

Next he did two advanced pharmacy practice experiences (APPEs) at Morristown (N.J.) Medical Center, one in acute care and one in administration. His administrative rotation enabled him to develop a broader sense of the various pharmacy positions in the hospital. He shadowed pharmacists in multiple settings, including the IV room, oncology pharmacy, neonatal intensive care and pediatric intensive care. He also assisted the hospital in its transition to the BBraun Infusomat pump system for infusion medications. He confirmed the data on the current medication stability charts, making sure it was correct and up-to-date.

In the acute care position, he worked with the interdisciplinary team in the medical intensive care unit, attending rounds and making interventions to assist patients.

Now, as a fourth-year student, he is participating in a mini-fellowship with BD (Becton Dickinson and Co.). “Only a handful of students were given this opportunity,” he says. “I am currently in the Health Economics and Outcomes Research department, where I am reviewing systemic literature that can help the company leverage important information across its stakeholders.” He is also assisting on economic modeling for new BD products in development.

Looking back over his achievements and positions of leadership, it’s clear that Bock’s desire to be a pharmacist is patient-centered. “Overall, my main goal of being a pharmacist is to use my knowledge, experience and ingenuity to pave the way for future pharmacists, while concurrently giving the best care to all patients directly or indirectly within my reach of care.”

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