Pharm Fresh: Bruno Onwukwe | College of Pharmacy – UT Austin – College of Pharmacy | Team Cansler

Check out the latest issue of Pharma fresh– a new blog series dedicated to highlighting UT Pharmacy students who are making waves in their practice, accelerating new ways of thinking, building communities and sharing their vision for transforming the landscape of healthcare and pharmaceutical sciences.

Ask his colleagues and bosses and they will tell you: Bruno Onwukwe is a force. A second-year pharmacist student and Vice President of the 2022-2023 UT-NCPA Board of Directors with an entrepreneurial spirit, a passion for community building and emerging leadership, Bruno works hard and makes every day count. We wanted to learn more about his participation in the Lester Entrepreneurial Scholars Program, why he cares so much about the interface between pharmacy and clinical services, and where he gets his inspiration and energy from. Meet Bruno in his own words below.

First of all, your colleagues and supervisors have noticed that you have an amazing attitude towards pharmacy and life in general. Where does this momentum come from?

I believe a significant part of that “lust” stems from how I was raised. My parents always taught me to have a positive attitude towards life and to strive to be successful in my passions. It’s easy to feel down as a busy pharmacy student or to become focused on the negative aspects of life. It happens to me too, but I always remember that “this day too will pass”; there is more to this experience than complaining about everything that doesn’t go as intended. Eventually you get stuck in this toxic cycle; it’s not a good mentality. I am happy about this life that was given to me and I want to make the best of it every day. As my father always says: “Life is good.”

You are passionate about the intersection of pharmacy and clinical services. Tell us more about it.

Pharmacy includes more than just clearing queues and meeting work metrics. Clinical services are becoming more and more present in the profession. We as future pharmacists must be aware of this and implement it in our practice. In pharmacy school, we are not only taught medicines, but also disease conditions, treatment guidelines, and other clinical skills needed to perform our profession at its best. The knowledge we carry is invaluable in any environment; We need to recognize this and show our value to other healthcare professionals, the institutions/companies we work for and most importantly our patients.

You are currently Vice President of the UT-NCPA Board of Directors 2022-2023. What does this role mean to you and how will this experience take you forward?

Serving as Vice President of the 2022-2023 UT-NCPA Board of Directors is a rewarding experience. It allows me to give back to the organization that shaped my career interests as a P1. UT-NCPA introduced me to compounding, a niche practice only pharmacists have and the possibility of independent pharmacy ownership. In addition, I have met incredible figures in the community pharmacy world who have given me wisdom and guidance as I forge my career path.

Realizing how much UT-NCPA has brought me in my short time here in college, I intend to help other pharmacy students see the opportunities that await them through attending UT-NCPA. Hopefully next year I can serve as President of UT-NCPA and continue to do what I have done within the organization. I believe the rest of this year and next will lay a solid foundation for me to excel as a pharmacy owner in the future.

What experiences in healthcare or research will you never forget?

Bruno wears a blue coat and is holding a parrot.

I started working in an inpatient behavioral hospital earlier this year and every day is a new experience. I am constantly learning from the local pharmacists, nurses and psychiatrists. One experience I will never forget concerns the recent lack of lorazepam injections. The pharmacy ran out of stock and our dealer had them on backorder. Because I needed emergency injectable care for patients, the pharmacist commissioned me to conduct a drug literature review to determine the best alternative to lorazepam injections for excited patients.

My findings were presented and approved in a session chaired by the Pharmacy Manager, Chief Nurse and Medical Director, and other professionals. This experience was the first time I felt my pharmacist education pay off in a professional environment. I am constantly expanding my knowledge so that I can make a positive impact in every work environment I participate in.

What excites you most about the future of healthcare and pharmaceutical science?

Drug innovation has always been the most exciting prospect for me of what lies ahead for the pharmaceutical sciences. The pharmacy classes offered in my first year as a pharmacy student highlighted the intricacies of drug design and reflected the endless possibilities of new drug discoveries and modifications of existing drugs. Human ingenuity knows no bounds; We will continue to see new therapeutics to treat old and new diseases.

Your entrepreneurial interests drove you to apply and participate in the Lester Entrepreneurial Scholars Program. What has been the highlight of the program for you so far?

The Lester Entrepreneurial Scholars Program was more fulfilling than I originally planned to go into my P2 year. The program does an excellent job of cultivating the entrepreneurial spirit in you. I was surprised at how little I knew about entrepreneurship – there are so many things that need to be considered to bring an idea or innovation to market.

I am currently in a group tracking the timeline of biologic Semglee® (insulin glargin-yfgn), the first FDA-approved interchangeable biosimilar insulin product, from its biologics license application (BLA) to market approval in multiple countries. A large part of our research was focused on identifying the product’s characteristics, its advantages and its advantages over other products on the market. As mentioned, the trip helped me develop an entrepreneurial mindset and sparked my interest in current products and services.

In a perfect scenario, which career-related step/event would you like to participate in?

The perfect career move for me is my involvement in combining pharmacy services and clinical services in a single facility, vertically integrating healthcare, and reducing the socioeconomic barriers patients face to access. This facility would be on a mission to promote compassionate, patient-centered care through interprofessional collaboration between physicians, pharmacists, nurses and other health professionals, and to serve as a model of how health care at all levels should be.

Bruno is wearing a suit and is holding a choral song book.

After you’ve hung up your white coat for the day, do you have a side hustle or hobby that you particularly enjoy or that lets you unwind?

After a long day I like to do sports. Being physically fit is a huge help in staying healthy and boosting self-esteem. I also enjoy fishing with family and friends, although admittedly I’m not very good at it.

Most importantly, singing is the only true passion I’ve had since childhood. In my senior year of high school, I joined a choir for the first time and immediately fell in love with the hobby. Music has a way of speaking to the soul and connects many people from different backgrounds. As a freshman at this university, I joined the university choir and the choir of the university’s Catholic Center. I still sing in both ensembles today because it helps me get through the stress of being a pharmacy student. Singing is my drug, pun intended, and my love for it grows every day.

Bruno is holding a fishing rod and a small fish he caught.

What advice would you give to a prospective Texas Pharmacy student?

The best advice I can give is don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, meet new people and be challenged in your understanding of the world. This is how you grow as a person physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It can be uncomfortable at first, but life doesn’t wait for you to get comfortable.

Seize the day before you miss the opportunities that come your way because ultimately it is up to you to stand up for yourself and make yourself known before you can stand up for others. Also, don’t forget what’s most important to you. While career aspirations are admirable, never forget the loved ones you share this life journey with.


This news article is part of a new, ongoing series. Discover more profiles below:

More Pharm Fresh profiles coming soon.

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