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Join us in congratulating pharmacist Jesus Castillon on being named the University of Texas Preceptor of the Year for the DFW Region.
"Receiving this award is validation for the time and effort invested in our future pharmacists," Jesus said. "I'm thankful to Cook Children's and the pharmacy department for giving me the opportunity to assist our future pharmacists in providing safe pharmaceutical care to our pediatric population."
The role of preceptor is something that Jesus holds a special place in his heart. "Preceptors are so important because they help students apply what they have learned in theory to clinical practice," he explained. It's those breakthroughs by his students that Jesus relishes.
"To see a student struggling and then all of a sudden you see them catch on, it literally gives me chills," Jesus shared. "Preceptors are vital to the overall education and can help students discover their passion."
For Jesus, it was in an Eagle Pass High School classroom that he discovered his passion but he wasn't the student. He was the integrated physics and chemistry teacher and he learned a career-changing, life lesson from a student.
"I had given my class an assignment to do a research report on careers dealing with science," he recalled. "One of them did the report on the pharmacy, which hadn't dawned on me, and that spurred my interest in learning more about that option."
This was proof that no matter what role you are in, you can learn from anyone around you.
Having lost his father at a young age to a heart attack, a career in medicine had been in the plans for Jesus for many years. So, his high school teaching career was going to be 'a means to an end' as the Baylor University graduate had always planned on going to medical school.
But with a newfound passion for pharmacy, he took the step to leave the very high school in which he graduated as valedictorian from. Heading south to the University of Texas to get his pharmacy degree and spending years as a retail pharmacy technician in Randall's/Tom Thumb, his new venture would eventually land Jesus on Cook Children's campus in 2006.
Arriving in Fort Worth, three opportunities presented themselves – Cook Children's, Texas Health Resources &38211; Harris, and Tom Thumb. Despite having three attractive possibilities, the decision was actually quite simple for Jesus.
"While I got job offers from all three, Cook Children's literally called me to offer me the position before I even got back to my car after the interview," Jesus said with a grin. "That's all I needed. I want to work where I am wanted!"
Sixteen years later, he knows that he made the right decision and wouldn't change a thing. "Working on the hematology/oncology floor is a perfect fit for me and I couldn't imagine working with any other patient population," Jesus said. "But it's the overall attitude across the whole hospital that I love. Everybody is here for the kids."
For big kid at heart, who has been spotted roaming the halls dressed as Frozen's Kristoff during Halloween before, our pediatric environment makes sense. Jesus gets to return to his teaching roots in the pharmacy by embracing his laudable role of preceptor, where he can continue to nurture the importance of education in others.
With a fondness in his voice, Jesus credits his mom with that desire. "Having grown up with a single mother, she made us know that education was the way to better ourselves and better our situations," he looked back. "I just look to follow her example to work hard and help others."
And Jesus is definitely doing just that and the proof is in his latest recognition. Much like the lead his mother gave him to follow, when we all work hard and help others, it's with immense pride that we can shout #WeAreCookChildrens.