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Linda Zheng: Clinical Intern

In March, National CooperativeRx welcomed its fourth clinical intern, Linda Zheng, to the team for a six-week period. Linda is a fourth-year pharmacy student at UW-Madison, currently with us for her last of eight rotations required to become a licensed pharmacist. Originally from Sacramento, CA, Linda studied microbiology at UW-Madison and decided to stay for pharmacy school.

“I was intrigued by the thought of becoming a pharmacist because I was exposed to traditional Chinese medicine throughout my childhood,” Linda says. “Growing up in an environment where prescription medicine wasn’t really practiced caused me to think about how the body would react to different medications. I learned that the pharmaceutical field provided many opportunities for graduates, so I decided to pursue a career in pharmacy.”

When it came time to select her top choices for clinical rotations, Linda was interested in the Cooperative due to its niche role in the industry. “As a pharmacy student, you typically would think of organizations like Walgreens or the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” Linda explains. “I had never heard of National CooperativeRx before and found the position description to be challenging.”

Linda appreciates National CooperativeRx’s willingness to personalize plan design recommendations and adapt to the member’s needs. “I assumed every pharmacy benefit company was a ‘one size fits all,’ but that is not the case here,” Linda says.

During her time with the Cooperative, Linda has most enjoyed learning our high-dollar claim review process, which involves reviewing expensive prescription drug claims and removing questionable, fraudulent pharmacies from network. “I’ve always loved problem-solving, and it was interesting to see that problems I encounter in real-life practice are often multi-factorial,” Linda says. “I made an intervention the other week where I discovered a mental health medication was being prescribed at a higher dose than the maximum dose studied.”

As her internship ends, Linda is grateful for the opportunity and guidance from the Cooperative team, especially Jocelyn Kerl and Erica Guetzlaff, who are Linda’s mentors.

Erica emphasized how refreshing it has been to welcome Linda to our team. “Pharmacy students always challenge me by forcing me to come up with fun, educational projects and stay on top of the newest pharmaceutical research,” Erica says. “I also love motivating students to do one last academic push before graduation, although Linda didn’t need a ton of motivation from me!”

When asked what her ideal career path looks like after graduation, Linda said she plans to complete a two-year residency at UC Davis Medical Center near Sacramento, CA. “I chose to enter a residency program because I’m still unsure what area of pharmacy I want to pursue and I want to experience more clinical rotations to aid in my decision,” Linda states. “I enjoy a combination of clinical and business operations, which is why my residency will focus on health care administration.”

When Linda isn’t at her internship or studying, she likes to play tennis, sharpen her Mandarin skills (her family speaks both Mandarin and English), watch Marvel movies, and partake in Madison, Wis.’s vibrant restaurant scene: “My friends and I love to go to Bartaco – their spicy margarita is awesome!”

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