Few people have as many stamps in their passport as Brenda Riser ’85, PharmD. By specializing in contract work and utilizing her experience in pharmacy she has been able to see the world.
“Contract work has allowed tremendous flexibility during my career,” said Dr. Riser. “It allowed me to experience and enjoy new towns and cities I would not have explored without working these assignments. Also, in the latest chapter of my life as a single mom, it has allowed flexibility in scheduling to enjoy our adventures in traveling.” Dr. Riser, her mother and her daughter form a tight family unit. “Three generations of women live and travel together,” Dr. Riser shares. The flexibility of contract work also allows her to volunteer at her daughter’s school, as well as attend her daughter’s academic and athletic events.
Dr. Riser was awarded the 2017 National Staffing Employee of the Year All-Star for the health care sector by the American Staffing Association. She shares what receiving this award means to her personally: “What a humbling experience. […] My boss’ nomination and support means everything to me. To be recognized in such a large industry boosts my confidence.”
She has had over 500 assignments during her tenure with Rx relief®, a leading specialty pharmacy placement firm which utilizes a network of over 50,000 pharmacy professionals. “I have been fortunate to dabble in many niches of pharmacy through my relief work,” Dr. Riser explains. “I always enjoy the challenge of something new and I believe I am adaptable to what the clients need. I have taken on both short and long-term contracts. I try to keep abreast of the changes within our profession.”
Dr. Riser explains how she first got connected to Rx relief®: “Carl Franklin was a customer of mine when I worked in retail. I went to pharmacy school with Tom Maez [’85, PharmD], so both bosses were actually friends prior to my employment with them. I first began with Rx relief® as a client, utilizing their staff to cover my temporary needs. I then began working with them part-time to supplement my extensive traveling.”
Dr. Riser believes that contract work allows pharmacists “to experience niches of our profession they might not get exposure to, but requires a great deal of confidence and hard work.” For those interested in this career path she emphasizes that one must be open to learning new information, personalities and systems. “The main challenges have been gaining enough knowledge and skill to provide the client with the level of competence they deserve. It requires a great deal of flexibility and adaptability to become a part of the staff and team in a limited amount of time.” Travel is also a key component. Dr. Riser adds, “An openness to travel to the client is a must.”
The element of travel has a strong appeal for Dr. Riser. “I have travelled my entire life, starting as a child with camping, exploring the U.S. and Canada,” Dr. Riser explains. “As a teen, my family took our first cruise in 1978 on the original Love Boat and I was hooked. I have been on over 60 cruises all over the world. I have visited all the continents except Antarctica, which is still on my list. My favorite places have been those that had animal experiences and encounters including Tanzania, Tasmania, Australia and the Galapagos Islands. My daughter has caught the travel bug as well; starting at 4-months-old with her first passport and adventure to Tahiti.”
Photo credit: Chance James Photography
By Anne Marie H. Bergthold