/publications/career/2006/Careers_2006-02/Careers_2006-02_3141

AN EVOLVING PROFESSION FULL OF OPPORTUNITY

Author: Craig Fuller

ASK A COMMUNITY PHARMACIST what he or she likes most about his or her job, and you are likely to hear, ?It?s all about people.? From helping with minor aches and pains to educating patients on drug therapies, pharmacists develop relationships with their patients. In an age of managed care, chain community pharmacists play a vital role as the nation?s most accessible?and trusted?health care professionals.

Chain community pharmacists work in a profession that changes and evolves as technology and patient needs grow and change simultaneously. The job of the pharmacist is expanding from a role focused on dispensing medications to an additional role of assisting patients through medication therapy management. Pharmacists are trained to be medication experts, and patients already have long-established trusting relationships with their pharmacists. Not to mention that pharmacists are also the nation?s most accessible health care provider?95% of Americans live within 5 miles of at least one community pharmacy.

Pharmacists also have the great opportunity to become involved politically in their careers. Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, ?Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen,? and I could not agree more. Community pharmacists are in a great position to become advocates for community pharmacy. Even as pharmacy students, you can help influence public policy that will affect your profession by educating yourselves on current issues and bills and speaking with those in your community to advocate for the pharmacy industry.

The chain community pharmacy is among the most ambitious in the pharmacy profession. We encourage you to join our team, but regardless of where you practice, you are entering an exciting and fulfilling profession. Good luck to all of you!

Mr. Fuller is the president and chief executive officer of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores.