Fourth year pharmacy student Stephanie Kustos loved the unique research rotation with Dr. Pius Fasinu

My name is Stephanie Kustos, and I am a fourth-year pharmacy student. When thinking about choosing electives for P4 rotations, I decided that I was interested in doing research, particularly relating to anticoagulation. Luckily, Dr. Fasinu had recently proposed to start a rotation specifically for students interested in research, so I selected this “special elective” as one of my rotations. During this rotation, I did not carry out hands-on research in a lab, as what comes to mind when one hears the word research. Instead, this rotation consisted of reading an extensive amount of research studies, guidelines, case reports, clinical trials, and other primary literature, and developing a hefty review paper about a particular topic.

Dr. Fasinu was incredibly supportive throughout the whole process, and I am thankful for his kindness and encouragement.

While some may consider this boring, I absolutely loved it! Dr. Fasinu was incredibly helpful and flexible when picking a topic, and while his interests differed a little from mine, we were able to come up with a topic that we were both excited about. Our paper was a review of the direct-acting oral anticoagulants and their reversal agents, which is something that had always fascinated me throughout my previous three years of pharmacy school.

I thoroughly enjoyed this rotation for a number of reasons. For one, the topic was one that I was passionate about and I had always been a student that excelled in reading and writing. I also enjoyed this rotation because it was somewhat self-instructed. While I did receive guidance from Dr. Fasinu, I was in charge of my hours and created deadlines for myself. It was nice to be able to work on what I wanted when I wanted, and Dr. Fasinu gave me the freedom to do so. We met at least once a day for a half hour to an hour and discussed my progress, and each week we made goals that we wanted to achieve by the following week.

The first week of rotation was spent picking a topic, designing a general outline, and doing an extensive literature evaluation of articles that would be included in the review. The next two weeks were dedicated to writing the rough draft of the paper, which was accomplished by using Google docs, so we could each see what the other was working on without having to be in the same location. Dr. Fasinu and I took turns editing the paper and adding our own touch to the piece. I created the figures, graphs, and tables, while Dr. Fasinu worked extensively on the formatting of the manuscript. The last week of the rotation was spent deciding on possible journals to submit to, as well as working on the final version of the manuscript.

This rotation helped teach me the importance of dedication and persistence. While it was somewhat easy to have self-motivation during the rotation because of my interest in the topic, the work did not stop after the month ended. Dr. Fasinu and I had to submit the manuscript to a couple of journals and had to do extensive editing in the following months before it was accepted for publication. Overall, I’m glad that I had this opportunity to work with Dr. Fasinu and learn what it is like to write a paper with the intention of publishing. Dr. Fasinu was incredibly supportive throughout the whole process, and I am thankful for his kindness and encouragement. I highly encourage other students to consider choosing this elective, as they would not be disappointed!