Pharmacy field suits Farmer City up-and-comer just fine

Check out Tyler Ludwig’s path.

  • Farmer City, Illinois, (population 2,037) where he lived with his family.
  • To Illinois College in Jacksonville (population 19,446) for his biochemistry degree.
  • To pharmacy school at the University of Illinois at Chicago (population close to 10 million).
  • To a new pharmacy residency at Carle in Champaign-Urbana (population about 230,000).

“Don’t judge a book by its cover,” Ludwig said (pictured second from right). He tells everyone Carle has much to offer up-and-coming pharmacists and other providers.

Always rePharmacy staff representing Carleady for the next challenge, Ludwig said the potential for a rich experience made Carle the right choice for him.

Coordinated by inpatient pharmacists Elise Kim and Andrew Kesler (pictured far left), Carle’s program features time in a host of clinical areas. Since summer, the program has immersed Ludwig and Ashley Shar (pictured second from left) in the Intensive Care Unit, Heart Failure Clinic, Oncology and Family Medicine. They partner daily with pharmacists, physicians, nurses, dieticians, social workers and other professionals.

“I was out of the area for school for eight years. What I remember and what I came back to are not the same Carle,” he said, spotlighting the integrated system’s last decade of growth. A Level I Trauma Center and Level III Neonatal Intensive Care unit, Carle serves the region’s patients with hospitals, clinics and a health plan, Health Alliance.

To build on their patient-care expertise, Carle pharmacists are talking with colleagues and connecting with candidates this week at the American Society of Health System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting & Exhibition. Complete with football great Peyton Manning as its keynote speaker, it is the largest pharmacists’ gathering worldwide. 

Touting his employer there comes naturally for Ludwig.

At first, he was surprised by the number of patients transferred to Carle from smaller hospitals.

“People come a long way to get care here,” Ludwig said, reflecting on his Internal Medicine rotation. “We see things you just don’t see elsewhere.”

He’ll tell residency candidates what else he’s learning.

“I’m learning the realities of health care here every day. School teaches you the ideas, but it doesn’t always teach you what else people might be facing besides their illness or injury,” he said.

“We’re providing great care because we know we’re helping real people with real-life challenges.”

In his spare time, Ludwig plays strategy games online and reads fantasy books by George R.R. Martin and Stephen King.

Tyler Ludwig on left photobombing a college friendWhen he’s at work, Ludwig is thrilled to take an active role in patient care. Instead of being behind the scenes, Ludwig and his colleagues participate in daily whiteboard rounding and perform chart reviews on the floor.

“I’m right there,” he said. “If I have questions or concerns about a patient’s medication, I can ask a nurse. I can ask the patient. I can ask anyone.

“By sharing what we know, we add value to each other’s work. It’s an opportunity to test the waters, to try different areas of interest.”

The pharmacy residency program is yet another way Carle innovation elevates the work for employees and, most importantly, the care for patients.

“In a hospital setting, you need experience to become a clinical pharmacist. This program helps you get more experience quickly,” residency co-organizer Kesler said.

“Patients benefit because the program allows us to expand our clinical services.”

Not sure where his path will lead, Ludwig knows he’s gaining the experience he needs.

“I’ve never been able to picture doing the exact same thing for 20 years, so this residency is positioning me for wherever I want to go,” he said.