Pharmacy Alumnus Finds Dream Job in Pediatric Emergency Medicine

Blake Larson PharmD '14 and colleaguesBlake Larson PharmD ’14 is working his dream job.

After completing his doctor of pharmacy degree in the Pacific University School of Pharmacy, Blake went on to a residency at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, where he fell in love with the children’s emergency department.

“I found that I had far more direct patient interactions there than any other unit,” he said. “I also thrive in the fast-paced action of the emergency department and love the interprofessional dynamics you have with providers, nurses and other staff.”

Today, Blake is one of two clinical pediatric emergency medicine pharmacists at Randall Children’s Hospital in Portland. The first of its kind at the hospital, the position allows him to serve as a direct resource to physicians, nurses and other staff in the children’s emergency department.

“Working in pediatrics, there tends to be a lot of gray areas in pharmacotherapy, where providers and nurses rely heavily on the knowledge and expertise of clinical pediatric pharmacists,” he said. “I also respond to pediatric traumas and code blues, where I provide recommendations on treatment, calculate dosing, and prepare critical medications at bedside.”

He also enjoys providing patient education, counseling patients and their families on how to properly take medications and use medication devices, and he is a preceptor for Pacific and Oregon State University pharmacy students and Legacy Health System residents.

Developing his role at Randall was both exciting and challenging, he said.

“The idea of building my own pharmacy service from the ground up was an exciting proposition for someone so early in their career as I was at the time,” he said.

But he had a strong start with his Pacific education, APPI placements and post-graduate residency.

“I made sure I treated each rotation as a six-week-long job interview,” he said. “The connections and experiences that I had that year absolutely helped me secure the position I have today.

“I was very fortunate to have Pacific School of Pharmacy faculty mentors who helped steer me in the right direction on how to be a more competitive candidate.”

Blake’s advice to future Pacific School of Pharmacy students?

“You must be goal-oriented, extremely motivated, a master of time management, and learn how to build and maintain a professional network,” he said. 

“Reach out to your Pacific faculty to help guide you in reaching your goals. 

“If you are interested in clinical pharmacy, begin preparing for residency the second you step foot in pharmacy school. 

“Begin building a strong curriculum vitae by getting involved in student, local, state and national pharmacy organizations. If you can jump into a leadership position, even better! Find meaningful and consistent volunteering opportunities, preferably in an area that you are particularly passionate about.”

For Blake, that area is children.

“I consider myself very fortunate that I have a career where I enjoy going to work,” he said. “Knowing that the work I do has a direct impact on the lives of our society’s most innocent and vulnerable is extremely rewarding.”

Apr. 25, 2018