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Exploring the world of pharmaceuticals through Merck internship

Shannon Brady outdoors

After her mother underwent treatment for breast cancer with “countless drugs and chemotherapies,” sophomore nursing student Shannon Brady notes she “witnessed the effects drugs had – both positive and negative - on the patient.” Because of this experience, she sought a summer internship where she could “learn more about the pharmaceutical world and develop a deeper understanding of the work behind that impact on patients and families.” Shannon spent 12 weeks this summer in the Global Regulatory Affairs, Pharmacovigilance Licensing and Business Development department at pharmaceutical company Merck & Co.  

The Drexel Hill, Pa. native worked under two Villanova Nursing alumnae, Julia Lanouette ’11 BSN, associate director, Global Regulatory Affairs and Clinical Safety (GRACS) Pharmacovigilance Licensing and Business Development, and Yvonne Gibble ’00 MSN, executive director of Pharmacovigilance Licensing at Merck. Shannon is the first FCN student to partake in the internship open to sophomores through seniors.

“It was a tremendous experience where I was able to learn about nursing beyond the bedside,” explains Shannon, “I worked with high level data involving analysis, extraction, and visualization building. I became very accustomed with Microsoft tools and the remote working environment.” She also notes that networking across professions was another benefit of her internship as she met additional nurses as well as engineers and a chemist. 

Shannon says that as she returns to school for the fall 2021 semester of her junior year, “I look forward to integrating the knowledge I gained from this internship and applying it to the clinical setting.” She is keeping her options open but has interests in oncology, women’s health, critical care and advancing her education with a master’s degree once she settles into her career.

Regardless of where she lands, Shannon knows the value of her internship and the exposure to different career opportunities for nurses. Her passion is evident, “From my first day, I was inspired by Merck’s ‘patient first’ mantra because that same theme is shared by nurses. I do not know where my nursing degree will take me, yet I am driven to make an impact on my patients just as this internship has impacted me.”