IN 1982, THE YEAR I GRADUATED pharmacy school, students entered a 5-year curriculum, graduated with Bachelor of Science degrees, and the focus was more on learning the chemical profiles of pharmaceutical products, rather than learning how to help patients manage their drug therapy. At that time, pharmacists were not recognized as health care providers.
Today, students enter a 6-year curriculum, can secure adjunctive MBA or JD degrees, graduate with a Pharmacy Doctor degree, and assume the role of medication experts in helping patients manage their health. On top of all this, pharmacists are formally recognized by the federal government as health care providers. My, how pharmacy has evolved!
Through this, patients have remained the focal point. The approach to patient care has become more intricate, but the end result remains the same. The responsibility of the pharmacist is to impart his or her clinical knowledge to help patients live healthier lives through proper understanding and use of their medications.
As a pharmacist, you will have a valuable role as a member of the health care team. Demonstrate your important and expanding role and do your part to contribute to the need to lower overall health care costs through increasing compliance and persistence in patient drug therapy.
Pharmacy is an exciting profession where you can truly have a positive impact on your patients'lives. You should be proud of your profession and take an interest in learning the issues affecting its practice, both on a federal and state level. Too often, once students secure employment, they lose interest in staying informed and staying involved with the issues affecting the practice. Don't let this happen to you! Demonstrate your professional leadership and passion about the profession, and do your part to help protect the viability and continued future success of pharmacy.
Ms. Rosato is the senior vice president of pharmacy affairs for the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) Foundation, and executive director of the Leadership Council for NACDS.
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