The Fall 2018 class of Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) Scholars includes students from all over the region, in various stages of life with one common goal – to make a difference in healthcare throughout Appalachia. Twice a year, students from across the region are invited to apply for the ARH Scholars program. Recipients are awarded a $5,000 academic scholarship to pursue a degree in healthcare.
Zachary Grimmett is a Belfry, Kentucky native and Belfry High School graduate. He is currently attending University of Charleston School of Pharmacy (UCSOP) while working as a Pharmacist Intern at Tug Valley ARH. In this role Zachary is gaining experience with both inpatient and outpatient pharmacy work. This means he gets the opportunity to work on the hospital floor and in more of a traditional pharmacy setting. Before beginning this journey, he worked at Food City grocery store where he learned basic customer service skills that he has carried into this new career.
“My position at Tug Valley ARH has helped me tremendously in school and in life,” says Zachary. “Even the retail experience I had in the grocery store has transferred so well into the medical field. Before I was working with customers in a retail setting, and now I’m working with patients, but the communication strategies I learned have transferred so well into my future endeavors.”
Zachary has always had an interest in the medical field. However, he was first introduced to pharmacy after taking part in the medical exploration program that Tug Valley ARH hosted at his high school. Motivated by the potential impact he can make, Zachary is excited to continue his career in Pharmacy after graduating from UCSOP in May 2020.
“My mother was a medical transcriptionist, so since I was a kid I’ve been exposed to the healthcare field, physicians and doctors, listening to their speech and seeing how they work with patients. Pharmacy really interested me because their scope of practice was for the treatment of people and that is really my goal, to make people better. I know that sounds really simplistic, but it’s so touching to think that is my goal in life. Through medical treatments I can help give my patients a better quality of life.”
He is lucky to have a great support system in his family and friends. Aside from his family offering insight into the medical field, his close-knit friend group supports each other through every endeavor.
“I’ve had a lot of influential people in my life from friends to family and coworkers,” Zachary says. “My coworkers always support me, encourage and educate me, and I look up to them because of how they treat their patients. As for friends, I’m from a small community and I have a circle of friends who all support each other regardless of our career path. I also look up to my family because on one side I have coal miners and people who did a lot of hard physical labor and I respect that and want to be the hard worker that they are. On the other side I have managers of corporations and I look up to them because they have run successful businesses.”
As a first time ARH Scholars applicant, Zachary was ecstatic to learn he was a recipient. He is thankful that ARH sees the value in offering programming like this to encourage people in the community to pursue an education and career in healthcare.
“I was really shocked, but thrilled and blessed when I found out I was an ARH Scholar because I thought since I was a first time applicant they might just overlook me,” he says. “When I found out, it was such an overwhelming feeling. I was actually on a trip when I got the news and I just stopped everything I was doing and had an emotional moment.”
While Zachary is not completely sure what path he will take after graduation, he’s excited to serve his community regardless of his decision. He is interested in continuing his education to obtain board certification in both pharmacotherapy and critical care. These certifications will allow him to offer an even higher level of care to his patients.
“I would really like to work for ARH because it feels like home to me. It’s in my community and it has always been our local hospital,” he says. “I hope to make an impact on every patient’s life I come in contact with, whether that be an inpatient or outpatient setting. I hope to make a difference for each patient individually, but also on a grand scale. I want to improve the community as a whole by creating a higher quality of life and better health outcomes for everyone.”