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Aaron Cook

Credentials: Pharm.D., BCPS
Position/Title: Pharmacy Specialist-Neurosurgery/Critical care
Organization: University of Kentucky Healthcare
Primary Specialty: Critical Care
Specialties: Academia

Education/Advanced Training

I received my Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Kentucky College Of Pharmacy. From there, I completed two years of residency at the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center, specializing in critical care.

Type of Patient Population Served

I work as a critical care specialist, so I generally serve critically ill patients in our intensive care units. I work closely with our Neurosurgery service and that is the primary focus of my position. We take care of anyone who needs neurosurgical intervention, which often includes patients with traumatic brain injury, hemorrhagic stroke, spinal cord injury, brain tumor, and a variety of other neurological disorders.

Roles and Responsibilities

I am the Neurosurgery pharmacist. I am responsible for being a leader within my institution for the care of critically ill (particularly neuro-critically ill) patients. This includes providing comprehensive care for the neurosurgery patients at all levels of care (both in the intensive care unit and as they transition to the ward). When I am on-service, I round with the team. I also work with them to develop protocols, decide how we will use new and emerging therapies, deal with drug shortages and other pertinent issues. I am also a teacher. I teach residents and students on my rotation on a daily basis. I am the current Director of the Advanced Pharmacotherapy Gateway, which is a curriculum of specific courses and experiences designed to prepare students for pursuing and excelling in pharmacy residency programs. I am also active in the classroom, where I lead two elective courses at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy (one being a core course in our Advanced Pharmacotherapy Gateway, the other an elective in critical care). I also lead the critical care module in our Therapeutics course sequence.

How I Got Where I am Today

I am where I am today by hard work and trying to use the gifts I have to their maximum extent. I realized during my time in pharmacy education that I wanted to take care of patients. As I went through my Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences, it became evident to me that I enjoyed the critical care environment, which I pursued even further with my residency training. During my early days of practice at the University of Texas Medical Branch and in my current position with UK Healthcare, I continued to grow in my experience and comfort with this area of practice (and continue to do so).

Advice for Students Pursuing this Career Path

I suggest that you think carefully about what you like about pharmacy and search for those aspects in the various avenues of pharmacy. Talk to your faculty and talk to residents you work with to get a good perspective on residency training and what value it may have for you. Get as much as you can out of each experience. Push yourself beyond your current limits. Do a residency and if possible, do more than one. Find a mentor that can help guide you through the process of becoming a productive pharmacist and developing a career

Professional Organizations/Activities Outside Day-to-Day Job Responsibilities

I am the student advisor and College of Pharmacy representative for our local ASHP affiliate, KSHP. I am also an active member in the Neurocritical Care Society, where I serve on a couple different pharmacy committees. Outside of my career activities, I am a counselor at Indian Summer Camp, a week-long camp for Kentucky children with cancer. Volunteering my time to help those children have the time of their life is quite possibly the best thing I do each year.

Contact Information

You can reach me by e-mail at amcook0@email.uky.edu

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