"Keep dreaming and doing!"
Gamecock alumna Sonia Shaw Everhart (1997 Pharm.D.) came to the University of South Carolina to gain knowledge from an entirely new set of professors after earning her B.S. in pharmacy from another university. That same drive to learn and achieve has helped her rise to the top in the field of critical care pharmacy.
Tell us about what you do:
I currently work as a Critical Care Clinical Pharmacy Specialist at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina. I split my time between the bedside in the Intensive Care unit at Atrium Health Cabarrus, a tertiary, community teaching hospital, and our Virtual Critical Care program.
During my time at the bedside, I am responsible for managing clinical protocols, pre-rounding and multidisciplinary rounds for all ICU status patients. I precept fourth-year pharmacy students as well as our PGY1 and PGY2 pharmacy residents. My time at VCC is spent in pre-rounding and rounding at one of our smaller facilities without a critical care pharmacist on staff. I also review charts and make medication recommendations to the bedside providers for five additional facilities across North Carolina - and soon, one facility in Georgia.
I am also involved with the Society of Critical Care Medicine and currently serve as the chair of the Tele-Critical Care committee. I serve locally on the Education Sub-committee of the Carolinas/Virginias Chapter of SCCM to help plan our annual scientific symposium. I also participate in the Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacology section of SCCM as part of the Education Committee to plan the Pre-Congress forum. I have co-authored several papers related to our VCC program - the most recent was published in the Journal of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.
Why did you choose the University of South Carolina?
To gain pharmaceutical knowledge from different teachers. My mentor in the Dean of Admissions office at my undergraduate institution said it was a great way to learn more.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
When I was little, I thought I wanted to be a teacher. Then, I started working in the pharmacy and knew that I wanted to be a pharmacist. When I started pharmacy school, I thought retail was where I was going to practice but I ended up volunteering in the hospital in my hometown and was hooked. I never looked back from hospital pharmacy.
What class or professor was most memorable to you?
Walt Sowell for his love of internal medicine and inspiring me.
What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
To never give up and that persistence pays off. When Virtual Critical Care was introduced as a new program for our health-system, it did not include pharmacists. If you have seen the critical care literature, you know that critical care pharmacists are an invaluable part of the team. I worked with the Medical Director for the program along with our division of Pharmacy Clinical Services to start the VCC program.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Critical Care Medicine in 2020.
How do you spend your time outside of work?
I love to read and bake. At least monthly, I volunteer with NC MedAssist. We also travel to Walt Disney World at least once or twice a year – I love the festivals at EPCOT and being able to experience amazing food and drinks.
What skill would you love to master?
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?
Currently reading “The People We Meet on Vacation” and listening to a series by CJ Archer on Audible.
What is top of your bucket list?
To visit the other Disney parks around the world.
What is your advice for current students / future pharmacy professionals?
Two quotes from Walt Disney resonate with me all the time. They are, “All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.” Meaning, if something doesn’t work out the first time or even a second time, don’t give up. You can always find a way to do what you want. Which leads me to the second quote, “It’s kind of fun to do the impossible.” Keep dreaming and doing!