Elva Angelique Van Devender
Dr. Van Devender is a 2011 Pharm.D. graduate from Oregon State University, and she holds a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Virginia. Dr. Van Devender finished her PGY1 residency with Providence Health and Services in Portland, Oregon in 2012, received her BCPS certification in 2012, and worked primarily as an ICU pharmacist before accepting her current position as a clinical pharmacist in the emergency department with a large hospital system in the Portland-metro area in 2013. For the past three years, Dr. Van Devender has served as an adjunct faculty member in pharmacy practice at Pacific University College of Pharmacy.
Dr. Van Devender served on the ASHP Pharmacy Student Forum and ASHP New Practitioners Forum (NPF) Advisory Groups from 2009-2014 and served as a committee chair on the ASHP NPF advisory groups from 2012-2014. She served on the ASHP Section Advisory Group on Credentialing and Privileging in 2014-2015 and is currently serving on the ASHP Section Advisory Group on Clinical Leadership. For the past six years, Dr. Van Devender has written about her experiences in pharmacy as a student and new practitioner blogger on the ASHP website. She is currently a member of the ASHP Pharmacy Leadership Academy Class of 2015-2016.
As chair of the ASHP New Practitioners Forum Professional Practice Advisory Group (PPAG), Dr. Van Devender helped develop a New Practitioners Toolkit to show the advantages of involvement in ASHP, a study guide of best practices for practitioners preparing to take the BCPS examination, and the ASHP Pocket Topics, a research reference tool for practitioners. As chair of the ASHP New Practitioners Forum Membership and Outreach Advisory Group (MOAG), Dr. Van Devender helped develop the ASHP SSHP mentoring program in which ASHP matched student societies of health-system pharmacy with interested new practitioner mentors. She also created and helped field test the idea of using the ASHP Connect interface to help ASHP electronically match mentors and mentees nationwide, which has now become the ASHP Connect Mentor Match Program. As a new practitioner representative on the ASHP Clinical Leadership Section Advisory Subgroup on Credentialing and Privileging, Dr. Van Devender helped the team develop an online resource center for ASHP members, which can currently be found on the ASHP website.
Advice for Someone New to Your Specialty Area
“Find your advocates. Not everyone you meet will be supportive of your transition or learning process. The fact is that some people are better mentors/coaches than others. Some people will be invested in your learning, while others less so. Seek out the people whose opinions you value, who are willing to teach you, and solicit feedback from them. Often. And remember to say thank you. Building bridges takes time. Respect is earned. Try and stay as positive as you can, even when the criticism is disenchanting or discouraging. Nothing poisons a work environment faster than unkindness and negativity.”
“Be a mentor to others. Remember how difficult the road was when you where a student? A resident? When you were starting out doing something new for the first time? Use your experiences and learning to help lift up another person, to ease their way, to teach them something new--even if (or perhaps because) you had to learn the hard way. There is a quote I love by Benjamin Disraeli which says, ‘The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.’ I am a big believer in giving encouragement where and when you can. It costs nothing, and it means so much to the person receiving it.”
“Be patient with yourself. No one springs from the womb knowing this stuff. It isn’t second nature; everyone has to start somewhere. It can feel like a trial by fire: Some days, I feel like I am learning more in an entire day than I did for many weeks in my residency, just by being in the trenches doing the work. It isn’t easy, but you just have to keep chipping away at all the unknowns and use every opportunity to build your skill set as much as possible. You can survive the heat of the fire as long as you recognize the learning curve may seem steep now, but it won’t always feel this way. Take courage that you will pass successfully through the fire as others have done before you.”
“Keep putting yourself out there. You don’t have to stop learning just because you aren’t in school anymore. You can pick up CE classes online, at your institution, or at local/state/regional/national pharmacy meetings. Someone once postulated that you need at least 10,000 practice hours at doing something before you achieve true proficiency at mastering a skill. Whether you are on your 10th, 100th, or 10,000th hour of pharmacy practice, keep honing your craft as much as you can. Don’t wish those years away (I know it is tempting!)…These formative experiences are valuable learning opportunities to learn and grow personally and professionally.”
“Manage your career. This is a novel concept for most of us. Identify your goals, where you want to be, and how you want to get there. You need to think about these things because it is likely that your manager/director/administrator will have more direct reports than he/she can shake a stick at and will not be able (even though they wish you well) to necessarily help you get the most out of your career experiences on a moment by moment basis. So you must be as proactive as possible, take charge of your career path, and learn to set your own expectations for what you want to accomplish.”
“So these are my top five pieces of advice for transitioning to new practitioner life: Find your cheering section, give praise to others, be gentle with yourself, keep learning, and take charge of your career path. I continue to be amazed at all the wonderful people who have paved my path the past few years and who continue to illuminate my journey now that I am striving for self-sufficiency and clinical competency every day as a practicing pharmacist. I am incredibly thankful and grateful to my supportive colleagues and my mentors who are helping me achieve this transition as gracefully and painlessly as possible.”
ASHP’s Value to Members
“I have a great interest in educating and sharing what I have learned with others in the profession. All of the leadership positions that I have held with ASHP to date have been instrumental in shaping my personal and professional development. They also have allowed me the wonderful opportunity of helping and encouraging others in their own personal and professional pursuits. I have enjoyed being a mentor to both students and new practitioners and watching their development the past several years. My current position as an adjunct faculty member and preceptor at my institution has shown me the importance (and the impact!) of unlocking the inner fire in others.”
“Being involved in my statewide ASHP affiliate and ASHP nationally has taught me the importance of pharmacists speaking with a collective voice on issues which affect the way we practice and care for our patients. In Oregon, we have started to lobby the legislature in our state, to find our voice as a profession, to make sure that laws don’t pass that could compromise the care that we provide our patients. I am very interested in making sure pharmacists sit at the table when healthcare decisions are made. I think we need to be more willing to educate the public about who we are and what we do so that we can continue to be in a position to make the best possible decisions and provide the best care for the patients that we serve.”