Weaver has ‘dream job’ as pharmacist for Veterans Affairs
OKLAHOMA CITY – Cassidy Weaver has been working at her job as an academic detailing pharmacist for six months and it has already been an adventure and what she had hoped for after attending college for seven years.
The 27 year-old Cherokee Nation citizen just moved back to Oklahoma and got a job as a pharmacist with Veterans Affairs. Her “dream job” requires her to travel throughout Oklahoma, but she is based in Oklahoma City.
After graduating from Sallisaw High School in 2010, she attended Oklahoma University in Norman for her undergrad studies and four years of pharmacy school at OU’s Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. After graduating in 2017, she did one-year pharmacy residency program in Gainesville, Florida, where she studied geriatric pharmacy to learn how to care for the elderly using pharmaceutical practices.
She said her job is a “unique” job.
“Typically, when you think of pharmacists, you think of a person who wears the white coat and counts the pills behind the counter at a pharmacy, but I work at the VA now, which is where I did my residency as well,” she said. “At the VA, the roles of pharmacists are a lot more expanded. We have pharmacists with scopes of practice that can manage and treat high blood pressure, diabetes – they have prescriptive authority, which is really cool.”
She added her job is unique even for a pharmacist.
“Basically, academic detailing is an educational outreach for (medical) providers. I meet one-on-one with providers to share information about evidence-based medicine. So, I try to encourage them to prescribe at the highest level while adhering to our clinical guidelines,” she said. “It’s a dream job really. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I finished residency. I did my residency in geriatrics, so I thought that would be great, and I still wanted to work in the VA because I think it’s a great place to work, and I like the patient population.”
Along with geriatrics, Weaver said she is interested in substance abuse or addiction, including opioid abuse. She explained being an academic detailing pharmacist was pretty close to what she was looking for in a job.
“I like to talk to people, and I like to have my own schedule and have a little more independence with my job,” she said. “So this job was like a perfect match because I get to talk about addiction, and I still get to have a hand in the care of older adults in that geriatric population in the VA, so it all just fell into place.”
She is assigned to serve VA patients throughout Oklahoma, so she has been traveling “a ton.” She splits her time between the two VA hospitals in Oklahoma City and Muskogee and also travels to VA clinics throughout the state quarterly or more often.
“I get to meet a lot of people. I’ve met so many doctors in the last six months,” she said. “A lot of my job is relationship building because I’m trying to motivate them (physicians and other providers) to perhaps change their prescribing behaviors.”
She has also traveled to Denver for regional VA meetings and has already traveled Boston and Vancouver, Washington, for training during her first six months.
Being on the road in Oklahoma or flying to another state is fine with Weaver because she said she loves to travel. Also, by traveling from hospital to hospital or clinic to clinic and visiting with doctors about patient care, she gets to help more patients than she would being a pharmacist for one VA health facility.
“I feel like I’m able to help people on a much larger scale with this job, so I really like that, and I really enjoy the one-on-one interaction and getting to meet so many people and getting to travel and getting to talk about addiction and substance abuse, which is something I’m pretty passionate about.”
She is proud of her Cherokee heritage.
“I’m very, very proud to be Cherokee. I think the more people I’ve met and the more places I’ve gone, the prouder I get because living in Sallisaw you throw a rock and you’ll hit a Cherokee person,” she said. “It’s great to talk about being Cherokee and have people ask me questions about being Cherokee. I think it’s a unique thing. I’m very proud of it.”
She added it’s likely she wouldn’t have been able to finish college without the Cherokee Nation’s help providing scholarships through seven years of school.
“I got scholarships every semester. Even in middle school and high school they gave me school supplies and healthcare,” she said. “I’ve used healthcare services at Three Rivers (Muskogee) and W.W. (Hastings in Tahlequah) and at Sallisaw (Redbird Clinic), and the interactions I had there with the pharmacists, that was part of my journey to want to become a pharmacist. I definitely attribute my path and a lot of my success to being a Cherokee.”