Alumnus named Pharmacist of the Year

When Jimmy Pruitt ’17 earned an honor during his residency, he thought of finding his calling in pharmacy during a rotation a few years before.

This past summer, Pruitt’s physician and nursing colleagues at Grady Health System Emergency Medicine Department in Atlanta named him the Grady Pharmacist of The Year. It is the first time the award has been given to a resident.

“It felt amazing to even be considered to receive the award since there are so many talented and dedicated pharmacists that work within the emergency department,” said Pruitt.

“I was even more surprised and gracious to be the first resident to have received the award. Grady Health System residency programs are highly sought after and match with highly talented pharmacists.”

Finding His Way

Pruitt credits the rigor of therapeutic courses at PC, which he says provided a strong pharmacotherapy foundation, as well as faculty and staff at the pharmacy school.

The Office of Experiential Education is responsible for changing a rotation schedule that further connected him with a mentor, Derrick Clay, PharmD, at Spartanburg Regional Hospital.

Pruitt first met Clay during an institutional advanced pharmacy practice experience, or APPE, rotation, where he spent just one hour shadowing him.

He says Clay showed him the many roles a pharmacist could play in patients within the emergency department. Clay told Pruitt he would be happy to show him more and to serve in an APPE rotation with him.

“That afternoon, I sent an email to Susi Carbonneau, assistant director of Experiential Education, pleading to change my rotation schedule because I believed that I had found my calling within pharmacy as an emergency medicine clinical pharmacist,” Pruitt said.

Carbonneau and her team worked to schedule the APPE rotation in a matter of days — and Clay gladly accepted him.

“Question everything”

Pruitt said he found his ability to be a team player — which he relates to his time as a member of the PC football team — along with Clay’s training, helped him understand critical aspects of the career.

He recalls lessons from Clay like the commonly quoted phrase, “question everything … even question what I tell you.”

“For example, if he told me that we should use a certain medication for a condition that wasn’t listed on common drug references, he would make me look up primary literature to confirm and sometimes refute the information he previously said,” Pruitt said.

“This allowed me to dig deeper into the evidence behind clinical recommendations and to teach others what I found.”

Taking initiative

Mentorships like the one from Clay, who remains his mentor today, and the experiences at the PC School of Pharmacy like leadership opportunities, also have helped with later success. Pruitt was president of the Student National Pharmaceutical Association (SNPhA) while at the pharmacy school.

Pruitt learned some of the key factors in his nomination and recognition as Pharmacist of the Year included the relationships built with providers and nurses along with his commitment to education, which was highlighted in an email newsletter he created called “Pharmacy Fridays.”

He sent the newsletter every other week to the Grady Emergency Department and surrounding facilities. The series included short educational in-services to more than 450 recipients.

Pruitt recently completed residency and started his new role as an emergency medicine clinical pharmacy specialist at Augusta University Medical Center.

He responds to all medical emergencies, provides education to all healthcare providers, creates and communicates pharmacotherapy care plans for patients within the emergency department, and precepts students and pharmacy residents.

Get Involved

Jimmy took initiative while at the PC School of Pharmacy by joining the SNPhA. Check out Student Organizations to learn more about the organizations that can help you prepare for a career in pharmacy.