As a young child, Eric Gaines originally thought he would be a computer engineer. Gaines was an advanced student and finished high school at the age of 16 and then went on to study pharmacy and computer science. At 18, he was working as a network administrator for a pharmaceutical college. When Silicon Valley’s “Dot.Com” bubble burst, Gaines decided to study pharmacy.

(Photo Courtesy of Eric Gaines)

(Photo Courtesy of Eric Gaines)

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He graduated from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University earning a doctorate in pharmacy.

Gaines was always strong in math and science and he calls himself a “clean professional.” He said, that the medical school process took too long, with a residency and then (if you choose to specialize) a fellowship. Gaines also wasn’t too fond of bodily fluids so pharmacy was a good field to pick.

He started in retail pharmacy but then changed jobs to a hospital pharmacist where he was quickly promoted to a managerial position. In that new position with the hospital he recognized the importance of optimizing pharmacy therapy with cost. Gaines decided to go back to school and earn a master’s degree in pharmacoeconomics from the University of Florida at Gainesville.

After he received his master’s degree, he was promoted to Director of Pharmacy Services at Baylor Medical Center at Garland. As director, he oversees a team of 40 people and the distribution of medications throughout a 240-bed hospital. He makes sure that the hospital is in compliance with all rules and regulations set forth by the Texas State Board of Pharmacy.

Gaines also hires and coaches team members, as well as maintains strong working relationships with physicians, nurses and allied health professionals.

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How important is math in becoming a pharmacist?

“Math is one of the foundational courses. Being an above-average student in math and science are beneficial in the field of pharmacy. Having a good understanding of biology and chemistry, along with anatomy and physiology, is important in understanding not only how the drugs work but it is also essential to know how they interact with the body.”

What was the most important thing you learned in pharmacy school?

“The most important thing I learned in pharmacy school was to treat every patient as if they were my family. The medications that you are preparing or dispensing have to be perfect just like you would want it for your family. The other thing I learned is ‘almost isn’t good enough.’ In our field, you must get it right. It has to be perfect.”

What do you look for when hiring someone?

“I look for the appropriate educational background. This person should have a general zeal for the field and be a team player that has a positive attitude and a commitment to do a good job.”

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Robin D. Everson is a native Chicagoan who resides in Dallas, Texas. Her appreciation for art, food, wine, people and places has helped her become a well-respected journalist. A life-long lover of education, Robin seeks to learn and
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