Non-Traditional Doctor of Pharmacy (NTDP) Program Fulfills Need for International Graduates Seeking a PharmD Degree
Bisni Narayanan, PharmD ’15, full-time pharmacist and mother of two young children, needed a flexible schedule to fulfill her PharmD degree, which is why she was attracted to MCPHS.
After moving from India to the United States, Bisni Narayanan, PharmD '15, says that it was challenging for her to fulfill the requirements necessary to join the pharmacy industry in the United States.
“I had to sit for the foreign equivalency exam here, then take English competency exams both written and oral, complete 1500 hours of intern hours, then finally sit for the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination (NAPLEX) and the Multistate Pharmacy Jurisprudence Examination (MPJE) exams.”
Upon receiving her licensure, Narayanan worked in several community pharmacies. After a few years, she wanted a change from the environment but found it challenging without permanent residency and hospital experience. Already equipped with a four-year Bachelor of Pharmacy degree from BITS Pilani, India, and a Master of Science in Pharmacology from St. John’s University, New York, she was attracted to the idea of completing a doctor of pharmacy degree. As a full-time pharmacist and mother of two young children, she needed a flexible schedule, which is why she was attracted to MCPHS.
The Non-Traditional Doctor of Pharmacy program is designed for U.S. licensed pharmacists (graduates of a U.S. or international school of pharmacy) who would like to advance their careers by earning their PharmD degree. Pharmacists can continue to practice while earning the degree through this online, part-time program. They are required to complete up to four, 160-hour clinical rotations at the end of the program but may apply to waive up to three of the four.
“MCPHS offered me a convenient schedule, which worked with my full-time job as a pharmacist and mom,” Narayanan says. “With the flexible schedule I was able to manage the full course load, a full-time job, and full-time mommy duties!”
Narayanan explains that the PharmD degree helped her gain the clinical knowledge that she needed to further her career. She currently works as a pharmacy supervisor for the Outpatient Pharmacy Services, an integrated specialty pharmacy within the Yale New Haven Health System. She is an active member of the Connecticut Pharmacists Association, currently serving a three-year term as an elected board member, and volunteers as a member of the Medical Reserve Corps for the Weston Westport Health District. Narayanan also freelances as a medical writer, including several continuing education home study courses and grant proposals.
“I absolutely enjoy what I do now! It’s everything I went to school for. Since specialty medications are high-touch, high-cost therapies for complex disease states, patients need extensive counseling and follow up. I enjoy the patient interaction and have the time to take care of them. My work is meaningful. I know I can make a difference in someone’s life.”
Narayanan’s favorite part of the job is being able to mentor pharmacists in their professional growth and development.
“I supervise a team of really talented and hardworking specialty pharmacists. Most of us were in retail before and left wanting growth and professional fulfillment. Most of us don’t have a residency or inpatient hospital experience. It is amazing what we can do given the training and the opportunity.”
As a huge advocate for education, Narayanan is currently pursuing her MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Lowell, to gain a stronger knowledge base in finance, accounting, reimbursement models, and leadership.
“I can say one thing for a fact—it’s never too late for anything, whether it’s going back to school or a career change. I’m a testament to that! If your employer offers you tuition reimbursement, you should utilize it, whether it’s a certificate program or just a course.”