The Harsh Truth about being a Pharmacologist and a Pharmacology Student

In life, you can’t control alot of things – this is the harshest truth about life. But there is one thing you can control and that is yourself and your reactions to the never ending challenges life will throw at you.

The harsh truths is a bi-weekly interview showcasing the harshness embedded in different spheres of life and academics. Today’s edition focuses on the profession – Pharmacology and therapeutics. The harsh Truth Series enables you embrace your own reality and realise that you alone can make you happy

The Harsh Truths

Hanat: Can we get to meet you
Pharm Omokaro: My name is Afiangbe Omokaro. I am from Edo state. I am a Senior Sales Executive in one of the top medical products distribution company in Nigeria. I graduated from Delta State University, Abraka with a First Class Bachelor’s degree in Pharmacology.
Hanat: A first class, wow
Hanat: What was your GPA and how easy would you consider your undergraduate days?
Pharm Omokaro: I graduated with a 4.56 on a 5.0 scale.
My undergraduate journey was eventful.
But, i won’t exactly say it was easy nor difficult.
One thing i would say is that, It did stretch me and revealed a lot of things I did not know I was capable of doing.
Hanat: When did you first decide to pursue pharmacology as a career?
Pharm Omokaro: I am not exactly sure when I made that decision.
After my second attempt in trying to secure admission into a tertiary institution.
I remember, applying for Pharmacology on my third attempt.
I had no idea what the course was about.
I only knew it was about drugs.
Maybe I liked the way it is pronounced. 😁
Back then, i was just a confused kid who wanted to get an education and I found Pharmacology or better still Pharmacology found me. 😁
Hanat: What is your opinion on alternative medicine?
Pharm Omokaro: Therapeutically, I believe alternative medicine is mostly ineffective. And even if effective, these effects are largely placebo effects.
They lack strong medical and scientific justification.
I also believe that alterative medicine is instrumental to the advancement of healthcare.
Alternative medicine is pivotal in the discovery of some important medicinal compounds.
Hanat: What are the advantages and limitations that you see going into pharmacology?
Pharm Omokaro: There are limitless possibilities of what you can achieve with a degree in Pharmacology. It all depend on what you set out to achieve with the degree.
Some of the finest and world renowned researchers in medical sciences are Pharmacologists. They are constantly breaking new ground and trying to revolutionize healthcare.
I know some brilliant Pharmacologists who are excelling in the Pharmaceutical industry, medical equipment industry, in fact healthcare sector in general.
Some Pharmacologists are huge public health champions.
Some are working with big multinational companies and NGOs; some even run NGOs.
Some Pharmacologists are also excelling in business.
One of the major limitation is not getting enough recognition.
And the latent war for supremacy that happen in medical science does not make matters better.
An holistic approach to healthcare should involve synergy between different professions and disciplines.

The Harsh Truths about being a Pharmacologist and a Pharmacology Student
Hanat: these opens a whole new light to pharmacology
Pharm Omokaro: I’m glad to hear this
Hanat: What is the most valuable criticism you’ve received?
Pharm Omokaro: It is hard to pick one. I’ve had a lot of valuable criticisms.
Well here is one
When I finished my national service; I had many things in mind that I wanted to accomplish but I wasn’t really sure about the path to take and how to go about it.
I was confused, jobless and broke.
At that point I was ready to settle for anything.
I went for an interview in Port Harcourt with a company that may not have valued my skills or ability.
After the interview, a friend reached out to me and showed his disapproval about the interview.
Initially, I did not understand the motive.
But at the end of the conversation I realize that he had the best intention.
I learnt from him that starting one’s career with an organization with poor structure will affect the trajectory of ones career.
Apparently, the organization that interviewed me in Port Harcourt would not have been a good fit for me.
That conversation changed my life.
Hanat: Glad you found out fast enough
Hanat: Tell us about a time you helped someone in confusion make an health wise decision?
Pharm Omokaro: As much as I can, I always try to help people see healthier choices and allow them make their decisions.
Many people make the wrong decision because they do not have the right medical fact.
I present medical facts to people.
I once did a research on the Adverse Effect of Aphrodisiac and someone reached out to me to find out about a safer aphrodisiac choice.
I presented him with the medical fact, which is that a young man in his 20s most likely does not need pills to enhance his sexual performance.
All he needed was to avoid stress, eat fruit, rest well and he is good to go.
I never really got any feedback from him after our conversation.
Hanat: He was probably shy to admit you were right
Hanat: Male ego maybe
Hanat: What role do you feel pharmacologist play in the success of health care team
Pharm Omokaro: Personally, I believe that the role that Pharmacologists play in the advancement of health care is felt most in the area of Research.
We are currently still trying to recover from a Pandemic that changed the course of our lives.
We had to rely/still relying on Researchers to find a vaccine for COVID-19.
And some of the specialists in these Research group are Pharmacologist.
Hanat: Describe a time you were willing to help someone who refused your help?
Pharm Omokaro: There is no particular one that come to mind now. I’ll give it a thought and get back to you.
Hanat: Everyone has an exaggeration on their job application,what’s yours?
Pharm Omokaro: This a good question. 😁
Pharm Omokaro: I will not exactly say I exaggerated during my job application.
I make sure I amplified my strength.
The panel could see that I had so much confidence that an entry level candidate shouldn’t have.
Pharm Omokaro: Okay, maybe my driving ability was not as good as I made them to believe. 😁

The Harsh Truths about being a Pharmacologist and a Pharmacology Student
Hanat: Driving???
Hanat: Wow
Totally didn’t see this coming
Pharm Omokaro: Yes
Hanat: Did you’ve any mentors that helped you as you explored possible career paths?
Pharm Omokaro: Yes, I did.
I’ve had some persons who I have talked to about career path.
Only one of them, I have even referred to as a mentor.
And that is the person that actually helped me rewrite my CV (he thought me how to write CV) and even encouraged me to sign up to LinkedIn.And also made sure I did not settle for less.
He is still a strength support to my career growth.
And I am grateful for knowing him.
Hanat: What attracted you to pharmacology over other health care professions??
Pharm Omokaro: It was definitely the phonetics. The pronunciation had a musical vibe.😁
On a serious note, my attraction to Pharmacology was instantaneous or should I say love at first sight.
The attraction grew overtime.
I believe it is because the discipline is about therapy.
In anatomy and physiology, you talk about the structure and functioning of the body.
In pathology, you talk about what is wrong with the body.
After you get all these information, then you discuss therapy. That’s when Pharmacology comes in.
Hanat: What do you believe is the biggest misconception about pharmacology
Pharm Omokaro: People usually think it is the same thing with pharmacy.
Well, it is not.
Hanat: Want to expatiate??
Pharm Omokaro: Pharmacy is the science or profession that deals with the preparation, formulation and dispensing of drugs.
Pharmacology is the science that studies drugs; the effects, the uses, the interactions, etc.
Pharmacy is a professional discipline and so requires a licence to practice.
Pharmacology is the science of drug.
You cannot study Pharmacy without Pharmacology.
Most Pharmacy school (if not every) have the Department of Pharmacology in the college. A pharmacist should be well trained in Pharmacology.
Before Pharmacy became a structured profession. People have always studied drug.
So, one can say that there was Pharmacology before Pharmacy.
In many schools in Nigeria, Pharmacology is available as a postgraduate discipline in the College of Pharmacy and College of Medicine.
One can say that Pharmacology is interdisciplinary, you might be a doctor, pharmacist, biochemist, physiologist and may still want to be a Pharmacologist. And it is possible.
It is the unique perspective of these various professionals that makes Pharmacology interesting.
Some schools in the US now have the department of Pharmacology within their department.
You can find Pharmacology within a department like Biochemistry or even Neurobiology.
This is why Pharmacology is not the same as Pharmacy.

The Harsh Truths about being a Pharmacologist and a Pharmacology Student
Hanat: I’m sure I’m not the only one not convinced about the difference that exist between pharmacology and pharmacy.
Hanat: What does a typical work day look like for you?
Pharm Omokaro: Let me try to paint a picture;
Going to hospitals, pharmacies, medical laboratories, medical equipment stores and engaging with Health Care Professionals to discuss new and innovative approach to the management of diabetes and also to make them see the values and benefits associated with using my brand.
It also entails presentation of facts, persuasion, negotiations and finally sales.
Hanat: Seems real busy
Hanat: Anything else you would like to share with us?
Pharm Omokaro: About what?
Hanat: Anything random, It’s an open question
Pharm Omokaro: Well, one can be incredibly talented, smart and gifted but without the right information, good network and support system; one may never attain his/her fullest potential.
That is why I love what is happening at Med-zone TV.
A community of people interacting and learning while improving to become better individuals.
Hanat: What advise would you give students entering pharmacy school??
Pharm Omokaro: Give Pharmacy your best shot.
The system is made to stretch you but you will be fine.
Hanat: Thank you for your time Sir


Interviewer: Olalere Hanat Asake
Lagos State University, Nigeria

The Harsh Truths about being a Pharmacologist and a Pharmacology Student


This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Specialsammy

    This is really an eye opener about pharmacology.

  2. Francesca

    This was really helpful
    I have a question.
    Can you study pharmacology as a degree independently in Nigeria??

    1. Jummy

      Yes, you can. Though not in all universities. I know it’s a course in LASU and OOU

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