Alumna Writes Prescription for Learning
In May of 2015 BWSD unveiled the the IKS Highlander, an interactive classroom that provides students an immersive educational experience in a variety of topics around STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) learning. The classroom continues to host interesting in innovative units to help students explore subjects. This month a Baldwin alumna will return to give instruction in the school where she once received it. Natalie Turin has designed MissionRx, “a five week educational and interactive program designed for students to explore pharmacy.” Natalie explains, “students are placed in the role of the pharmacist working at J. E. Harrison Community Hospital. Throughout the five modules they are introduced to the hospital and their patients, perform a patient admission and medication reconciliation, help choose the appropriate medications for their patient, learn about dosing and medication forms, and finally verify their mock medication orders. Each module involves a didactic portion to provide a foundation of prior knowledge. The students then transition to an interactive portion to demonstrate what they learned.” The Mission Ops room lends itself to immersive experiences and Natalie integrated an ongoing narrative that weaves together the activities, all completed by students who don white coats for the unit.
Natalie graduated from BHS in 2011 and is pursuing her Doctor of Pharmacy from Duquesne University, where she will graduate in 2017. She is currently employed at Giant Eagle as a Pharmacy Intern.
Natalie’s penchant for science began at an early age and was shaped throughout her time in the District, “I think I've always had a natural interest in healthcare. I gravitate toward topics of nutrition, fitness, wellness, human physiology, and medicine. I remember loving when we would do health units in elementary school, and I remember writing my eighth grade research paper on the evolution of medicine.” Her time in the District provided a foundation for her education and continues to offer connections and chances for collaboration “My BWSD experience helped me tremendously for my professional, personal, and academic life. I have pulled from so many relationships and experiences to end up where I am today and am so grateful for all of them.”
Natalie has found a natural fit for her interests and inclinations in the fast-paced, problem-solving world of pharmacy, “I love a challenge. I love to solve puzzles and problems. I love interactions with others. I love to have a myriad of tasks and be able to burn through all of them. Pharmacy meets all of these criteria. Typically in most practice settings, the environment is fast-paced even to the point of being urgent. There are constant problems to be unraveled whether that includes a difficult patient issue, a drug shortage, or an insurance problem. Sometimes you have to be a creative thinker to come up with a viable solution.” It’s a career that blends critical knowledge of science with soft-skills, such as communication and teamwork, “I enjoy working on a medical team and I also enjoying interacting with patients by answering questions or catching up from their last visit. I put in long days that are both physically and mentally taxing, but I also achieve a sense of accomplishment, all of which I find very rewarding.”
Natalie’s desire is that this module will give students a broader and deeper understanding of the many facets of healthcare, “I hope that students understand the exciting opportunities that exist within the healthcare field. Pharmacists can do so much more than simply exist behind a counter and satisfy the longstanding stereotype. I also hope to demonstrate that even though healthcare is centered around science, strength and skills in all subject areas is critical. We talk a lot about scientific concepts, but we are also reading, writing, reasoning through logic puzzles, communicating, performing calculations. And although I designed these modules with pharmacy in mind, I have stressed the idea of working together on the medical team and how other areas of practice feed into quality, cohesive patient-care.”
Natalie’s advice to students as they evaluate what path to pursue in life is to find the work that doesn’t feel like work, “Picture yourself on a Friday night late in the evening after a busy week of classes. You are forced to be doing homework. What do you want to be doing? Would you prefer to be writing a paper? Working on a computer project, such as perfecting a graphic or programming a website? Working on projects or a mock lesson plan? Doing problem sets? Studying drugs and physiology? If you're doing it right, somewhere in that late Friday night you should be doing what you're passionate about. If so, then you're on the right track.”