Upon Retirement, a St. Mary’s Pharmacist Recounts Her Journey

June 23, 2021

Written and shared by Dawna Hatton.

A picture of Dawna Hatton when she started in her career in 1980 next to a picture of her today.
Then and now: Dawna Hatton at the start of her career (left) and today.

What piqued my interest in pharmacy was kind of twofold: In my hometown (Arnett, Okla.), there was only one drugstore. I can remember as a child watching the pharmacist, with his white coat, looking so professional, and being very intrigued by his expertise as he typed the label and filled the medicine vials. I can remember thinking that would be something I thought I would love to do someday as I saw it as a way of helping people, especially the older, frail people that I saw getting their prescriptions filled. So, the seed was planted as a young child.

Then when I was a senior in high school, for career day I chose to go to the Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU) College of Pharmacy for a tour. I was so fascinated with the lab I observed that day where they were testing the effect of some medications on rats, as well as the facts I learned about pharmacy as a profession, I came away certain this was the career path for me!

After almost 40 years as a pharmacist, what I have found most rewarding is knowing that I have made a positive difference in someone’s life. Whether it be just the little widow that doesn’t understand how to take her medications that we counsel, to the renal compromised patient that requires daily dosage adjustments, we are instrumental in ensuring that medications are appropriately dose safe and effective.

Pharmacy is a constantly evolving profession that presents many challenges. This past year, the ever-changing challenges of treating and preventing COVID-19 are just an example of this. Staying abreast of current treatment regimens and making interventions that could be lifesaving make this profession rewarding in knowing the important role that we serve and one that we embrace as we move forward. Pharmacy as a profession is still one of the most highly respected professions, and knowing that we have the opportunity to make someone’s life better is the ultimate goal.

A Special Connection with St. Mary’s 

St. Mary’s holds a very special place in my heart, not only because I have been privileged to be a part of the St. Mary’s family for these past 15 ½ years, but also because both of my children were born here. My second son was born with multiple medical issues. I witnessed the exceptional medical care he received from the doctors, nurses and the Medi-flight crew in the few hours that he was here before being transferred to Children’s (Hospital).

That memory of how professional yet caring these St. Mary’s team members were will forever be ingrained in my mind. So yes! I considered it a privilege to later have the opportunity to become a St. Mary’s team member myself … to have the opportunity to give the best possible care to each and every patient, whether it’s a baby that is minutes old or a great grandparent that is living their final hours. As I retire, I know that I am blessed to have had this opportunity to serve as a pharmacist for over 15 years here, and I come away knowing I’ve worked with the best … for the best!