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Industry Voices

Susanne Hiland, PharmD and Jennifer Athay, PharmD
Published Online: Tuesday, March 15, 2011   [ Request Print ]

Building Trust, Making a Difference


Susanne Hiland, PharmD

Dr. Hiland is senior director of health and wellness regulatory affairs in the Health and Wellness Division at Walmart.

Congratulations—and welcome to the pharmacy profession! As the next generation of pharmacists, there are so many opportunities ahead for you. I hope you find as much satisfaction and fulfillment in your choice as I have in mine.

Much has changed in the profession over the course of my career, and much will change as you progress through yours. Though changes will continue to occur, there are things about the profession that should never change. These are the things that define us as pharmacists and as a profession: trust, quality, compassion, accessibility, and expertise. T

he trust that our patients place in us is cultivated by many things, including the advice you give, the accuracy and quality of the products you provide, and the care and compassion you display. Building trusting relationships with your patients will be one of the most satisfying things you do as a pharmacist. That moment when a patient comes to you and sincerely thanks you for making a difference in their lives will make all of your hard work worthwhile.

Building trust with the other health care professionals you work with is important as well. The world of health care is changing rapidly, and pharmacists are poised to play even greater roles and integrate even more into the health care delivery team. Pharmacists must not only stand ready to help, but take the lead and show that we truly are drug therapy experts who can positively impact health care outcomes and provide valuable, affordable, and accessible health care services.

A great career is ahead of you, and positive changes are in your future, if we as pharmacists get and stay involved. Pharmacists are leaders in the community. Strive to be a leader in your community, in your practice and in our profession. Again—congratulations! I know you will make a difference.

Why Chose Pharmacy as a Career?


Jennifer Athay, PharmD

Dr. Athay is director of student affairs at the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

Pharmacy is a well-rounded career with an exciting blend of science, health care, direct patient contact, computer technology, and business. Pharmacists play a vital role in improving patient care through the medicine and information they provide. As the role of the pharmacist continues to expand, medication expertise is the foundation for the medication therapy management that pharmacists provide. Students of pharmacy have learned about the importance of managing chronic diseases and the significant difference a pharmacist can make in individual patient care.

Pharmacy also is a financially rewarding career with a broad array of career opportunities in nearly all health care settings, including academic pharmacy. It is also a field you can be proud to be a member of—pharmacists are part of a trusted profession and are consistently ranked as one of the most highly trusted professionals because of the care and service they provide.

Although responsibilities vary among the different areas of pharmacy practice, the bottom line is that pharmacists help patients get well. Pharmacists’ responsibilities include a range of care for patients, from dispensing medications to monitoring patient health and progress to maximizing patient responses to the medications they are taking. In addition, pharmacists educate consumers and patients on the use of prescription and OTC medications every day. They advise physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals on medication therapy decisions and are a vital link in the health care chain.

Pharmacists also provide expertise about the composition of medications, including their chemical, biological, and physical properties and their manufacture and use, all of which brings the correct compound to the patient. They ensure medication purity and strength and make sure that medications do not interact in a harmful way. Ultimately, pharmacists are the medication experts, whose knowledge offers the best information available to manage their patients’ health and wellness. %u25CF





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