Dr. Olivia Brinkley ’20 recently started a new chronic care management (CCM) position in her hometown of Bamberg, S.C.
Brinkley provides CCM as a service of Bamberg Family Practice. This primary care clinic plays a crucial role in the community’s health, since there’s not a hospital nearby.
“My role in the practice is to perform chronic care management, so I’m taking care of Medicare patients, and it has been very rewarding seeing the impact a pharmacist can have on patients,” Brinkley says.
Her duties include maintaining patient care plans, coordinating outside healthcare providers, and ensuring that her patients can access and communicate with healthcare providers at any time.
Bamberg Family Practice previously lacked a chronic care manager. When Brinkley approached the clinic about creating a new CCM staff position, its MD agreed that the position was needed. It was a risk that paid off for Brinkley, and she credits her experiences at PC’s School of Pharmacy with giving her the confidence to make such a move.
Making a Difference
As a high school student, Brinkley knew she wanted to do something in the health industry. “I was always interested in healthcare, but I did not want to pursue nursing because I’m not good with blood,” she says. “I tried to find out where I fit into the healthcare field, so I started doing job shadowing. I shadowed a pharmacist in Branchville for about a month and fell in love with the job.”
After graduating high school early, she studied pre-pharmacy at a large university and then interviewed for pharmacy school there. But the program didn’t have what she was looking for.
“They just didn’t have that family feel that Presbyterian College has, and PC’s open door policy really appealed to me,” she says. “Coming to PC made me feel welcome, and that I meant something—that I wasn’t just a number.”
PC’s commitment to service also appealed to her. “I love the community service aspect and the school’s ‘While we live, we serve’ motto,” she says. I’ve always wanted to help people, and that’s something I’ve done since I was little. PC provided so many different community service projects. It felt like we were really making a difference.”
Building Career and Life Skills
Brinkley says that the classes at the PC School of Pharmacy are where she developed the self-confidence she needed to land her career.
“PC really helped me find my voice and learn to be more independent.” she says. “In the classroom, no one looks at you funny for asking questions, and that helped me grow and not be afraid to speak up, which in turn opened up doors to me outside of school.”
Staying involved in professional organizations also helped Brinkley learn about the pharmacy community and refine her career goals. By the time she earned her PharmD, she had chosen not to pursue a residency program.
“Doing a pharmacy residency seemed like the most popular option,” she says. “However, my gut was telling me that it wouldn’t be a good fit for me. It was risky not going the residency route. But I’m really glad I took that risk, because it led me to where I am today.”
As she serves her Bamberg community, Brinkley also hopes to encourage current and future PCSP students. “If students are interested in chronic care management and want to reach out to me, I’ll be glad to explain what I do,” she says.
Earn Your PharmD at PCSP
Are you considering a career in chronic care management or another area of pharmacy? PC School of Pharmacy offers you opportunities to find your specialty. Please email or call 864-938-3913 to learn more about the PC School of Pharmacy.