American Pharmacists Month 2019: Pharmacists Share Lessons Learned and Career Advice For New Pharmacists

October is one of our favorite times of year, and not just because the leaves are turning and everyone is mostly back to their regularly scheduled programming after the summer months, but because it’s American Pharmacists Month (AKA, #APhM2019)!

American Pharmacists Month is a time to celebrate and recognize the incredible contributions pharmacists make to patients’ lives and the broader healthcare community. Last year, we spotlighted some of our pharmacist friends sharing the reasons they became a community pharmacist. To celebrate this year, we reached out, asking for lessons learned and advice pharmacists would share with new and future generations of pharmacists. Here’s what we heard:

“Always work hard at the passions you select to pursue in your career while remaining open to new adventures and opportunity. Pursue change that helps improve healthcare. Take care of your health first! Form good health habits early, including proper nutrition, exercise, and safe healthy behaviors. Be kind to everyone and never burn a bridge back to a relationship, organization, or group of people. Do your part in what you take on and always do what you say you are going to do. Dependable, persistent performance is the key to success.”

Ron Jordan, R.Ph., FAPhA
Dean, Chapman University, School of Pharmacy (CUSP)

“1. Do the right thing always. Never compromise doing the right thing whether it is personally or professionally.

2. Listen generously. If you have ever given a talk without taking a poll or listening to what people want to learn from you first, you will realize how easy it is to put people to sleep!

3. Practice blameless problem solving. Having a blameless conversation is the way to get to the root-cause of a problem and improve it collaboratively.

4. Embrace change. We can count on taxes, death, and change! Being unwilling to change only makes life painful. Having a joyful attitude about the good that change can bring can be positive for everyone involved.

5. Celebrate success and keep things fun.”

Orsula V. Knowlton, PharmD, MBA, FAPhA 
Co-Founder, President, and Chief Marketing & New Business Development Officer 
Tabula Rasa HealthCare

“Go ‘Beyond The Fill.’ It’s not just about dispensing medications, but providing the best patient care! You have a large impact on healthcare no matter what type of practice you are in —hospital, retail, or pharma.”

Udit Parikh, PharmD, MBA
Associate Director of Clinical Programs, PrescribeWellness

“When working with others, don’t try to win every argument. Don’t analyze why they used those words or that tone. Get to the problem and then fix it. Move on.”

Karine Wong, PharmD

“Be willing to step into another role or help a team member when the moment calls for it. We win and lose as a team. One of the things that I have learned in my career as a pharmacist and now in an administrative role is to get to the point quickly. Present a patient to a doctor in a succinct way — make a great thirty-second elevator pitch to grab someone’s interest fast; don’t overwhelm patients with too much information.”

Sandra Leal, PharmD, MPH, CDE, FAPhA
Chief Executive Officer, SinfoniaRx

“To deeply connect with your patients, you must develop empathy. Someone wise once said, ‘no one will care what you know unless they know that you care,’ and I truly believe that.”

Dr. Farah Madhat 
Executive Vice President of Operations, PrescribeWellness

“I think new pharmacists need to hear that you don’t have to do it all yourself — take every opportunity you can to get the help you need and use the resources that are available.

When I was starting out, I knew nothing about owning my own business. I thought I had to do everything myself. I now have a team around me that does their part. Don’t go somewhere where you don’t care about your peers (and vice versa). I like helping people, and I like owning a store. I feel like we are a family. I know what my staff and patients’ kids are doing and they know what my kids are doing — those relationships are what it’s all about.”

Debbie Yerby 
Pharmacy Owner, Debbie’s Drugs

And don’t forget: in addition to American Pharmacists Month during October, we’re also celebrating National Women Pharmacist Day on October 12 and Pharmacy Technicians Day on October 15.

Thanks for sharing your lessons learned. Tag us at @PrescribeWell on Twitter or @PrescribeWellness on Instagram to share your perspective.

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