EP 86: From Rx to MD: A Pharmacy School Grad’s Journey

Meet pharmacist and author, Nathan Gartland. He’s on a mission to help guide other pharmacists into becoming medical doctors. PharmD Gartland shares his journey from pharmacy to medical school and provides practical advice for healthcare professionals looking to make the same transition. You’ll hear about how he faced challenges along the way and what strategies helped him succeed in an ever-changing field of medicine. Listen now to get inspired by Dr. Gartland’s story –it might just be your path too!

To learn more about PharmD Gartland and the work he is doing check out his website:  www.physicianpharmacist.com


Podcast Transcript:

[00:00:03.450] – Speaker 1

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the Hope for Med podcast. I am your host, Dr. JB. And today’s featured guest is Dr. Nathan Gartland. He is a licensed and practicing pharmacist, current medical student, published author, and creator of The Physician Pharmacist, an online resource to help pharmacy students and graduates successfully apply medical school. Welcome to the show.

[00:00:29.690] – Speaker 2

Thanks for having me on the show today, Dr. JB. I’m very excited to share my take on surviving medical school and my background in pharmacy.

[00:00:38.830] – Speaker 1

All right, well, let us start from the beginning. Can you share with my listener your origin story?

[00:00:45.150] – Speaker 2

Yeah, absolutely. So I started out in pharmacy school. I guess this goes way back, because for those of you who don’t know, pharmacy school is two years of undergrad, typically, and then you do four years of graduate school level education. And so I started back. I had the typical story of, oh, I’m good at math and science, and so you should look into something in the healthcare field. I wasn’t that traditional kid running around, the four year old running around with a white coat saying like, oh, I’m going to be a doctor someday. That just wasn’t really my background. I fell in love with the healthcare field as I kind of progressed through my high school education, and I was fascinated by the chemistry. So that’s kind of the reason why I started focusing more so on pharmacy, because of the pharmaceutical background. And so I went to pharmacy school. I did two years at Ducane, which is down in Pittsburgh, and then I went into the pharmacy program, which is, again, like I mentioned, four years. The first three years are like your traditional style classes of textbook, didactic coursework, introducing all the pharmacology of medications and what they’re used for and how to appropriately manage the side effects.

[00:01:56.010] – Speaker 2

And then the final year, which would be my 6th year, is when we focus more on clinical rotations and we actually go out and practice under the supervision of another pharmacist. And so, as I progressed through school, I started to fall in love even more with patient care and hands on diagnostic medicine, which is what kind of sparked my interest into going to medical school and exploring that additional realm of health care. I had the experience with pharmacy, and it kind of shifted into, oh, I want to be more hands on. I want to look at these diagnostic labs and figure out what is exactly going on and then use my pharmacy background to help optimize that care. And so that’s how I kind of transitioned into the medical realm. I went on a medical mission trip down in Haiti, and that solidified my passion to be hands on and everything. And so I applied to medical school during my final year of pharmacy school. So I hadn’t even left the program or anything yet. And I got into medical school, and I actually graduated in 2020 from pharmacy school and then took all of my boards that summer, three Licensure boards for pharmacy in New York State.

[00:03:05.260] – Speaker 2

And then I took my last board on the first day of medical school. So it was a pretty busy time. And here I am, I’m a second year medical student. I’m gearing up for my first national board exam, which will then send me off to clinical rotations for medical school.

[00:03:22.930] – Speaker 1

Wow. And so are you using your pharmacy background while you’re in medical school?

[00:03:29.330] – Speaker 2

Yeah, absolutely. I’m actually working as a pharmacist, too, on the side, so it’s definitely a busy time period. I work about 18 hours a week, and I started out during the pandemic. I was doing vaccine support because there’s a huge shortage of available pharmacists or other healthcare professionals who could have administered the shots to the vast majority of the population. So I came on for that role for a lot of the mainstream, like grocery chains, and then I transitioned. As the pandemic started to wane a little bit, I went over and I’ve been doing a long term care facility. I work at a long term care like pharmacy, so we basically verify medications for large nursing homes or other psychiatric wards, patients that are inpatient for long term care. But yeah, I certainly use quite a bit of pharmacy, obviously in my professional practice, but I also use it every single day in medical school. So a lot of my classmates are a little frustrated that I don’t have to study quite as much. But then I just joke to them that I have way more loans.

[00:04:34.150] – Speaker 1

Yeah, I mean, the debt burden is definitely real. So can we explore that a little bit more in terms of debt for pharmacy school and debt for medical school?

[00:04:43.290] – Speaker 2

Yeah, absolutely. So with pharmacy school, it’s kind of ironic. My pharmacy loans are a little more expensive, actually, than my medical school tuition. And I think that just depends on where you end up going, whether it’s in state versus private. I still think it’s a little too high, but of course I’m going to think that. But that’s one of the big barriers that I have to talk with other pharmacists who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine is to kind of break down their financial situation and make sure is this an appropriate decision to make? Obviously, you have to follow your heart and follow your career ambitions, but at the same time, you have to consider the financial perspectives and do your due diligence when it comes to making sure that you’re not going to default on any of your loans. Or some of these pharmacists I work with are also a couple of years out of practice. They have mortgages and other things to worry about. So I’m not a financial adviser, but these are considerations that we talk about. And so, yes, there’s certainly quite a bit of loans from pharmacy school based on.

[00:05:43.650] – Speaker 2

Like my most recent searches I’ve seen, the average pharmacist will actually graduate with about $163,000 in student loans, which is still lower than I believe the national average for physicians around 220 ish. But it’s been rising every single year. So you can put those two numbers together and see what kind of financial position I’ll be in in a couple of years.

[00:06:08.150] – Speaker 1

Well, but you’re working, so that will help offset that in the end.

[00:06:15.750] – Speaker 2

Absolutely. Working right now keeps all of my expenses down. I don’t take out any extra crazy loans, so it maintains the lifestyle that I’m trying to live and pay for all the groceries and stuff. But yeah, a lot of my peers, when I graduated pharmacy telling me, like, oh my gosh, you’re crazy. You’re going to four more years of school and taking on all this extra debt when you had pharmacists traditionally have a relatively high paying salary of six figures starting. You also have to justify that incentive. And again, it’s not all about money, but they are considerations you have to keep in mind.

[00:06:51.510] – Speaker 1

Real considerations indeed, because all that debt accrues interest too.

[00:06:57.110] – Speaker 2

Yes. So I’m partly paying down the interest on those loans too, so keeping them pretty stagnant.

[00:07:04.630] – Speaker 1

So when you say pharmacists traditionally made a decent amount of money when they finished, is that changing?

[00:07:15.450] – Speaker 2

I’d have to look at the numbers to see exactly how much, but I believe the pharmacy pay has been staying relatively the same on the national average, but more community based pharmacies. We’re seeing a decline in the hourly rates. I don’t necessarily understand the rationale, and I don’t want to speak for other companies and stuff, but that is like an observation we’ve seen, especially in large metropolitan areas. I think one of the concerns could be that there’s too many pharmacy schools popping up and not enough positions available in some of these centers. Obviously, if you go out into an area that doesn’t have as much medical care, is a little less saturated, then the rates will be higher. But what we’re seeing, though, is that pharmacists are kind of transitioning away from the community based pharmacist that you see at your grocery store, and they’re moving more into realms of clinical pharmacy. I’m sure you work with several of them in your practice at some point as well, and that tends to be a little higher paying depending on the hospital system you’re with.

[00:08:19.070] – Speaker 1

Yes. I’m so excited that I have pharmacists that are easily accessible for me to bounce questions and ideas off of. They definitely saved me many times.

[00:08:32.370] – Speaker 2

It’s interesting too. Obviously, our whole education is focused just on medications and side effect profiles, but in medical school, in my experience, they don’t really focus too much on the medications, which I found, like, a little surprising. We’ll cover a couple of things, but we don’t cover 2nd 3rd line options, which tend to be used in practice. Quite a bit. So obviously we’ll learn about that more on when I start clinical rotations for medical school. But just with my first two years of dedicated training, I was a little surprised at how little pharmacy exposure there is.

[00:09:06.110] – Speaker 1

That’s true. And the thing about it is that especially with different insurances, they don’t necessarily approve your first line choice. And then you have to go back and scratch your head and be like, okay, so what else? Can I go ahead and prescribe this person? So that’s the reality.

[00:09:23.430] – Speaker 2

Absolutely. Formulary management is, I’m sure, just a nightmare to deal with.

[00:09:30.870] – Speaker 1

So you decided I was going to go and become a pharmacist, and during your training in pharmacy school, you said, you know what, I want a little bit more clinical. I want more hands on provider or healthcare professional patient experience. And so you transitioned. And so how was that transition for you in terms of the decision making and the entire experience?

[00:09:58.350] – Speaker 2

Yeah, it was quite a long journey because with medical school, I wanted to matriculate immediately into medical school once I graduated. So I had to have all these details figured out a whole year in advance. So I was doing it while I was in pharmacy school, and I didn’t have a lot of resources. Part of the reason why I even wrote my book in the first place was to kind of create a comprehensive guide for pharmacists who aren’t in, like, a traditional pre health committee or premed program. We don’t have any committee letters. We don’t have any instruction on how to apply to medical school. Everything is kind of pieced together through online resources. So that’s part of the reason why I just find it, because I sat there and I was thinking, why was it such a terrible experience? Let me write down a quick manuscript, and I let it sit for a while before, and then I wrote it this past summer, actually, while I was in medical school. So I just picked it up over the summer and it was kind of a fun, like, passion project in mind. But yeah, during pharmacy school, it was pretty busy time period.

[00:11:01.450] – Speaker 2

I also had to take in order to qualify to apply to medical school, I hadn’t actually taken physics too, so I had to kind of meet some of my prerequisites because you don’t really need physics so much in a pharmacy based curriculum. I would argue you don’t need much for medicine either. But that’s my own opinion. But anyway, so I had to do that on the side while I was balancing pharmacy school and writing all these essays. But I think the biggest challenge for me was figuring out a time to take the MCAT and really dedicate that much time. I progressed so far in pharmacy school at that point that all these biochemistry organic chemistry principles had been long forgotten, and I had to kind of find a way to relearn this material, but also find a passion to learn it. And the first time around, I actually took the MCAT once or two times, and the first time I did horrible on it. So that was kind of a major blow to, I guess, my confidence at that time period. I sat there and I didn’t want to touch anything medicine for a couple of months because I was just so disappointed in the outcome.

[00:12:10.450] – Speaker 2

And after some time recuperating and figure out where did I go wrong, I decided, I really want to do this. I really want to be a physician somewhere. And so I ended up taking it again. Bamcat. A second time during the middle of a pharmacy semester. At the same time, I was taking physics too. So that kind of helped fall into line a little bit there. But it was definitely a crazy time. And then I was actually doing all my secondary applications while I was on clinical rotation. So 9 hours on the hospital ward, and then you go home and, oh, now I have 5 hours of secondaries to write. Super fun.

[00:12:45.350] – Speaker 1

So what made you decide to go straight through versus taking some time between?

[00:12:52.230] – Speaker 2

That’s a great question. Actually, I kind of sat there, and I was like, if I take some time off and I work as a pharmacist during that time period, I might not be so inclined or motivated to even go back into school at that point. I kind of had that momentum already generated through, like, a busy semester. I had learned so much clinical information on my rotations that I was hoping that I could just apply that information without losing some of that wide variety of, I guess, information that I learned, like hospital based style material. Because at that particular time, if I had waited, I wasn’t applying to pharmacy residency, so I most likely would have had to stick with, like, a community based pharmacy practice. So I would have been more in a CVS or your Walgreens or something along those lines. And not to say that there isn’t a lot of clinical exposure at those centers, but there’s certainly less compared to your clinical pharmacist. So I was concerned about my medical knowledge declining a little bit, and I also had that momentum to continue on and just get it over with and carry it through.

[00:13:57.420] – Speaker 2

And I guess one extra year of being and attending because of that time period, which is extra salary and extra freedom out of the education system.

[00:14:06.430] – Speaker 1

You know what? It’s true. It’s hard to go back once you start making money to go back to being a broke student.

[00:14:15.250] – Speaker 2

I know. And I’ve just been eating ramen my entire life, so I don’t know anything different. Exactly.

[00:14:20.530] – Speaker 1

So it’s just one continuous ramen meal after another.

[00:14:23.670] – Speaker 2

Exactly. I love it.

[00:14:26.790] – Speaker 1

So what has your experience been as a medical student compared to when you were in pharmacy school? How is it different.

[00:14:35.990] – Speaker 2

Yeah, that’s actually a very common question I get from a lot of pharmacists. I can only comment on the first two years of medical school at this point because I haven’t transitioned into the wards yet. But interestingly, I think it’s very similar when it comes to like the rigor and like, the expectations of professionalism. A lot of I guess because of my pharmacy background, when I started medical school, it was more of the same. I already had the volume of classes that I was expecting to, the volume of content I was expected to know. I had already figured out a lot of the planning and strategic timing, how much time do I need to allocate to prepare for this exam, and so on. So with that regard, I think it’s very similar. Medical squad say a little bit more volume, but I wouldn’t say it was anything too crazy outside of that. With that said, I think also though, medical school obviously focuses very differently on like anatomy, on diagnostic approach to care a little less, at least in this particular stage, on how to kind of fine tune and optimize care. Versus in pharmacy school.

[00:15:44.510] – Speaker 2

You have the diagnosis already at the top of your question, all the questions you have, and you don’t have to think about any of that kind of material. You think of what kind of medication would I do? Or this is the patient’s profile and oh, there’s 25 interactions, let’s reduce some of these medications and avoid polypharmacy. So it’s just a little slightly different approach to how they teach or educate on those particular fields. So I think obviously medicine is going to transition as I start my wards. Then that kind of nature that I’ve had in pharmacy school will be applied more practically to my foundational diagnostic learning that I’ve done thus far.

[00:16:26.490] – Speaker 1

No, I mean, I think you definitely add a significant advantage to your co medical students with such a strong background in pharmacy and pharmacokinetics and all that stuff.

[00:16:42.290] – Speaker 2

Yeah, it certainly helps quite a bit and just the professionalism aspect as well, just having those two extra years of being or experiencing graduate school ahead of time. There are students that are coming in straight from undergrad who they were phenomenal in their organic chemistry or phenomenal in their biology classes, but then they never had to experience this much volume. And so some of them actually struggle when they start off medical school. They’ve all obviously made adjustments as time has gone on, but just kind of an interesting observation as well that I’ve seen.

[00:17:15.930] – Speaker 1

And in terms of the whole application admissions process, I know you mentioned that this is an area that’s not really addressed all that much. So what did you find and what are some things that you think are important for people to know?

[00:17:33.250] – Speaker 2

Yeah, so I think some of the big things that obviously apply to any kind of applicant is applying smartly. And what I mean by that is really coming up with a good and realistic school list is going to save you not only time, but money. I’m ashamed to say that I ended up spending about $10,000 on my medical school application journey, which is pretty high. I know it’s rising in costs, so that doesn’t seem as far fetched in today’s day and age, but I certainly didn’t apply very intelligently. I would apply to programs that were way too above my expectations or my metrics at the time period. I was applying to schools that had a very strong in state and out of state bias. So programs that like UNC or something like that, who primarily only take people from those particular states, I didn’t have any ties to the region either. So little tidbits like that that really can make or break how much time and how many secondary applications you actually fill out and how much money you invest in the process. Especially with a lot of the pharmacy applicants that I work with.

[00:18:46.790] – Speaker 2

They believe that their pharmacy background helps them a lot and makes their application unique, which it certainly does, but it doesn’t necessarily make up for other parts that are expected to be completed for an application, such as a very high qualified MCAT score or a higher GPA. They don’t really look or compare between a pharmacist GPA versus standard biology applicants GPA. They don’t really look at the courses. So because of that, a three two GPA and pharmacy school might be like, that’s a very good GPA from a pharmacy standpoint, but from a medical school application, that’s actually pretty low on this grand scheme of things. So kind of adjusting those expectations and applying very strategically can go a long way and also save you quite a bit of cash.

[00:19:37.350] – Speaker 1

So how do you figure out how strong of an applicant you are?

[00:19:41.450] – Speaker 2

Yeah, there’s a lot of different indicators. Without having usually like a pre health committee will help you gauge how competitive you are. Obviously, it comes down to interview skills at the end of the day, but you first have to have a very clean application that will get you through the door and get you to that interview spot and then the rest is the papers kind of turned over and you have to perform when it comes to professionalism, when it comes to being quick weighted. And obviously just being a charismatic as well helps quite a bit. But yeah, when it comes to good applicants, a lot of the big talk these days is holistic medicine and holistic applicants. And I 100% like, buy into that mindset as well. Just because you don’t have necessarily an amazing MCAT score doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get into medical school. You might have to adjust your expectations, that you might not end up at Harvard, but there’s other things that you can also improve your application on. Oh, I have ten research projects, and I have 20 publications or so on. You have ample clinical experience.

[00:20:46.190] – Speaker 2

You worked as an EMT for five years, and then you decided to go to medical school. A lot of those things can really help bolster an application despite not having maybe the top tier metrics. And when I say metrics, MCAT score or GPA, those, you know, raw numbers that they kind of gauge where applicants sit, and then they figure out where you are on that list, and then they’ll look into your application and see, oh, there’s other features that make this person interesting. I think they would be a qualified applicant to be at this medical school.

[00:21:19.210] – Speaker 1

Do you think that there’s any experiences that would be beneficial to being a medical student?

[00:21:31.770] – Speaker 2

Yeah, absolutely. Having good stats helps quite a bit, but experiences is a huge feature as well. For me, when I went on that medical mission trip to Haiti, that was very influential in my story and my experience and really changed my perspective on health care. And so I’ve crafted that experience into something that was foundational and almost added, like, a theme to my application in and of itself. I’m still super passionate about international medicine, and that’s something that I want to be more involved in in the future. It’s unfortunately super expensive to get involved with, but it’s something that I was really passionate, and it moved me. So I think experience is similar to that. Not necessarily if you don’t want to travel abroad, but like some kind of volunteering opportunity that really defines, like, who you are as an individual and why you want to get involved in medicine that could be working at an Alzheimer’s unit or volunteering your time elsewhere or just having some profound research project that you’re really dedicated to. I want to be MD, PhD, something along those lines, like those kind of experiences that really stand out and off the paper, but they also have to be monumental in the sense that it reflects who you are as an individual.

[00:22:50.150] – Speaker 2

So it’s not necessarily one experience. It’s like, oh, I did this. It needs to fit more of who you are as a person.

[00:22:59.050] – Speaker 1

So you brought up your experience in Haiti a couple of times, so I’m really curious to know what happened when you got there and what projects you’re working on when you decided to go.

[00:23:11.390] – Speaker 2

Yeah, absolutely. So how that actually started was actually a pharmacy medical mission trip, and it was the first one that had ever happened through our pharmacy program at the school. It was the first trip ever, and I had this unique opportunity to get involved in the project. And the goal was actually we went down to a bunch of different clinics down in Captain, Haiti, and we explored and we helped optimize pharmacy. That was the original goal of the mission project, was kind of optimized care, look at medications that they have down there, as well as provide medications. We got donations, and we were able to bring those down, and they were actually shipped down as well. And then using creating systems for them to from a pharmacy standpoint would be like inventory, making sure products aren’t expired. If they are, like, how do we dispose of them properly? And there’s a huge lack of access to medical care in a lot of countries outside the US. And so not to say that the US. Also struggles with this issue as well, but internationally, it’s something I’ve never seen before, like how much they lacked just when it came to running waters and things.

[00:24:24.290] – Speaker 2

And so it was a very eye opening experience for me. We pretty much operated physicians down there. We actually worked with a physician, and we were going in and triage patients, obviously under the supervision of the physician down there. But it was just a very unique experience, and it really shifted my whole interest in this is hands on medicine, this is patient care. And it really was just a monumental exposure for me, and I would encourage everyone to kind of get these experiences as well.

[00:24:59.710] – Speaker 1

Yeah. So you mentioned Haiti, because I have a soft spot for Haiti because I’m patient. I came from Haiti, born there, raised in the States, and it was a visit to Haiti that was also very monumental to me during my medical school training, where I transitioned from the path of internal medicine into emergency medicine because I went to Haiti after the earthquake back in 2010. So Haiti can definitely leave profound impressions on people. I just think working and interacting with people that are in need really can have lasting effects on your life.

[00:25:43.310] – Speaker 2

Absolutely. And not as an aside, too, I absolutely love the food down there.

[00:25:50.510] – Speaker 1

I have to say. I’m not biased, but Haitian food is the best food in the entire world.

[00:25:57.010] – Speaker 2

Actually. I’d agree with that.

[00:26:02.290] – Speaker 1

All right, so given your experiences and going through pharmacy school now, going into medical school, doing it all straight, not taking a break, have you ever experienced any symptoms of burnout?

[00:26:20.250] – Speaker 2

Right about now, as we gear up for our step one boards, we’re getting towards the end of our semester, I wrote a book, and I run a side company as well, so we’re pretty busy with that, fielding questions from other pharmacists I’m working on, also filming other podcasts as well. So I’m reaching a point right now where it’s very busy, and I’m starting to see the limits of how much I can really dedicate to these different parts of my daily life. And I think an interesting thing, too, is, like I said, I’m testing those limits. And observation I’m starting to see is that the quality of which I wish I was putting into these different ventures is kind of declining because I can’t focus my efforts entirely or 100% on those. And so I’ve kind of had to sit back and think about it. It’s like, wow, I really need to start studying for stuff, but I love doing this or I love doing that, how can I make sure that I stay focused on my task at hand but also not getting too burnt out, like switching from one thing to the next to the next to the next.

[00:27:30.830] – Speaker 2

So kind of having that introspection I think is important and I’m starting to take less and less on because I’m noticing, like I said, that decline in the quality of how I wish I was doing things. And so also I’m starting to exercise a lot more now too. And that has been super important just to kind of clear your head and find that solace away from all the school work, all this work in the pharmacy, all this extra business sided material. So I definitely experienced a little bit of burnout now. I hadn’t really experienced it before, which is interesting with how busy I’ve been. I think I’m just reaching out one of those points where I’m pushing the limits a little bit too much and I need to take a minute, sit back and focus on passing the step exam.

[00:28:19.470] – Speaker 1

Step one is a huge undertaking and trying to do anything besides study for step one is a lot.

[00:28:30.770] – Speaker 2

Yeah, I would wholesomely agree with that. What’s that?

[00:28:36.260] – Speaker 1

No, go ahead.

[00:28:37.640] – Speaker 2

I was just going to say it certainly is a big undertaking, but having someone and the rest of my classmates to stuck me with is just super important as well because we’re all kind of going through the same experience. So kind of having those mental checks with your classmates saying like, oh yeah, this does really suck and this takes a lot of time out of my day, but other people are experiencing as well and we’re going to get through it together. I think it’s also just super important.

[00:29:02.910] – Speaker 1

There is a time and a season for everything and with step one, there’s a finite date of which you’re going to be taking that test. So if you had to lighten your load a little bit, it’s not like you’re lightning it for forever. You’re lightning it until you get to that date.

[00:29:22.850] – Speaker 2


[00:29:23.640] – Speaker 1

Start refocusing your efforts in other areas.

[00:29:27.630] – Speaker 2

Exactly. And that’s kind of the realization I’m coming to as well. While the state is approaching pretty quickly, I got to limit some of these other involvements to make sure that I’m doing 100% on the particular things that I have to get done.

[00:29:42.250] – Speaker 1

But I heard that step one has transitioned to pass fail.

[00:29:46.650] – Speaker 2

It has. Which is a pretty interesting time to be in medical school at this point because for our listeners, step one was pretty much foundational when it came to an objective measure of how you would get a particular residency. The higher your score, then that correlated with how likely you were to get especially competitive residencies. And so. Now that this monumentous exam has shifted into a pass fail like status, we’re kind of unsure of how are they going to objectively measure these students like myself, for these other competitive specialties. Essentially, they’ve removed one of the major qualifications. It’d be like them removing the MCAT or something along those lines for getting into medical school. So it’s a very interesting time. There’s a lot of speculation, especially from residency coordinators. What are we going to look for then in applicants if we’re not looking at the step one score? And the banter has been that maybe we’ll shift the focus more on research on personal grades as well as a step two exam. So a lot of speculation here. Those are what I’ve heard down the grade line. But we’re still kind of unsure because we are the first class to actually do it.

[00:31:01.430] – Speaker 2

So we’re the guinea pig class. So it’ll be super fun to get through this. It certainly made my life a little bit easier that it is pass fail. So the stress has been offloaded a little bit, which is nice.

[00:31:15.990] – Speaker 1

No, I think step two, man, step two is so long ago for me. But step two, if I remember, was more applicable to my day to day experience. And if I remember correctly, if you did poorly on step one, then you would take step two early so that you could have step two on your application so that those residency programs could consider your step two numbers in making decisions for you. So step two as the source for decision making has been a part of the process for a long time, and they may just end up taking it into account and maybe giving it more weight than they did in the past, which I think is absolutely appropriate.

[00:32:01.030] – Speaker 2

Yes, absolutely. Especially after we spend a year on clinical rotations. The material that’s actually tested on, like you mentioned, is much more applicable to actual medicine versus step one materials, more textbook based, a lot of little nitty gritty details on topics that aren’t necessarily applicable to daily medicine. They’re more like buzzwords and different things that you might see once or twice in your entire career. And that’s in specialists. Some specialists don’t even see some of these disease dates, which is kind of interesting and probably one of the reasons why they kind of shifted away from the heavy focus on this style exam, because it doesn’t translate as well to clinical practice.

[00:32:43.650] – Speaker 1

So if my listener wanted to find out more about you in the book that you’ve mentioned a couple of times during our conversation, can you tell them how they can do so?

[00:32:54.630] – Speaker 2

Yes, I mean, they can find me. First of all on LinkedIn. It’s just Nathan Gartland. You’ll see Farm D to MD or something along those lines. That’s the book that I also wrote that’s the title is Farm D to MD. And you can find it on Amazon. You can also check out my website if you don’t want to buy the book or anything like that. I have to have a different information, different blog posts on application principles, particularly more so for nontraditional students. But if you are in pharmacy and are considering something along these lines, then it might be just a fun read to check it out. And the website is Physician Pharmacist, and you can find that at www.physicianpharmacist.com.

[00:33:34.790] – Speaker 1

Okay, perfect. And in closing, do you have any pearls of wisdom you would like to leave with my listener?

[00:33:42.470] – Speaker 2

I would say pearls of wisdom, I think just enjoy every moment of the experience. Whether you’re in school, whether you’re in a different, whatever, field of medicine, or even if you’re outside of medicine, each day is just such a great day. And you got to take a step. Appreciate each day as you progress through it. Because it’s crazy how fast my pharmacy school training went, and now I’m already a second year medical student, and I’m just looking back and like, wow, where did all this time go? So it seems tough day to day, but the weeks really do go by pretty quickly. So enjoy it all and appreciate it.


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