A family affair: Multigenerational pharmacists share their stories
They speak about their parents with utmost adulation. They are joyful that they are working side by side with their relatives. They can’t hide how proud they are of their sons and daughters.
These are the pharmacists whose grandparents, parents and siblings are pharmacists. They also are the pharmacists who are married to pharmacists, and whose children are following in their footsteps.
Whether they are multigenerational pharmacy owners, or hang their white coats in vastly different healthcare settings, their passion and enthusiasm for pharmacy has made the profession truly a family affair.
Drug Store News sat down with several pharmacists to find out what has inspired them to keep pharmacy in the family.
“Everybody says they have the best dad, but I really do,” said Heather Ferrarese, who has been working side by side with her 80-year-old pharmacist father Brian Ferrarese at Bartle’s Pharmacy in Oxford, N.Y., which has been serving the community for over 50 years.
What drove Ferrarese to the pharmacy profession was the relationship her dad has within the community. “I saw all the good that he did. In a small family business, we offer 24/7 emergency services, and just seeing the respect and appreciation that people had for him. I wanted to emulate that as much as I could,” she said.
With that goal, Ferrarese returned home after graduating from pharmacy school to join her dad, who still practices. “He’s about 15 feet away,” she said with a chuckle. “Most people think it will be very difficult to work with your father. I’ve come to know my dad in a completely different way. I always need his guidance. I really admire his work ethic and his caring for the community.”
When Ferrarese isn’t taking care of patients, she’s on the forefront of legislative issues that impact pharmacy. She is president-elect of the Pharmacist Society of New York, of which her dad has been a member for many years.
Janet Engle and Andrew Donnelly
What is it like being married to another pharmacist?
“We both understand the stresses and the importance of each other’s jobs,” said Janet Engle, who met her husband Andrew Donnelly when they were both working in the same pharmacy.
“We also had a lot of mutual interests besides pharmacy,” Engle said. “Our careers are similar in that we both have held faculty positions and various administrative positions, but that is where the similarity ends.”
Engle is now the executive director of the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education while Donnelly is the director of Pharmacy Services at UI Health, and associate dean for clinical affairs and clinical professor, department of pharmacy practice, at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy.
“We don’t need to spend a lot of time explaining things that come up at work,” Engle said. “It is also nice that we can help each other out by reviewing publications or posters, for example.”
Engle’s husband also keeps her current with trends in hospital and ambulatory pharmacy as he oversees a large pharmacy department that has seven outpatient pharmacies.
Another benefit to both being pharmacists is that often the couple is speaking or presenting posters at the same pharmacy meeting, as they did at an international pharmacy meeting in Seoul, South Korea.
The couple’s oldest child, who is going into her P3 year of pharmacy also teaches her parents new things. “Our daughter gave me a very good perspective on the challenges that student pharmacists were facing with the pandemic,” Engle said.