Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.
I know that pharmacists are busy and don’t have much time to cook up elaborate schemes and promotions for the week of October 19, 2015. That’s why I’m providing 13 ways to celebrate Pharmacy Week that will boost awareness of the profession and strengthen your pharmacy team without taking up too much of your valuable time:
1. Thank your staff or co-workers
Taking a few minutes to express your sincere appreciation to your staff or co-workers is probably one of the easiest and most important things you can do in observance of Pharmacy Week.
It’s not even necessary to make a grand, expensive, time-consuming gesture. A few kind words and a quick #ThankAPharmacist tweet will do the trick.
2. Schedule special events for patients
Whether you’re hosting a meet and greet with the pharmacy staff or providing free blood pressure screenings, offering a few community events goes a long way toward boosting public relations.
Work with your co-workers to create a special display in the pharmacy to promote Pharmacy Week. It’ll show your patients that pharmacists have a fun side and boost morale among pharmacy employees.
4. Reach out to senior citizens
Senior citizens tend to take several medications at once, so it might be a good idea to review their medication history and check in with them to find out if they have any questions about their medications. You could also offer to answer questions about Medicare or prescription drug discount programs.
5. Participate in a community event
Organize a team of co-workers to walk a 5K, donate to a charity, or volunteer for a community event. This is not only great exposure for your pharmacy, but also a great team-building opportunity (see No. 9).
6. Invest in yourself
Take some time to take an online continuing education (CE) course, read a journal article, or attend a seminar to learn more about a topic that interests you. Your patients will also benefit from your greater knowledge.
7. Advocate for pharmacy issues
From patient privacy protections to increased funding for prescription drug payment assistance, there are many important issues in the pharmacy community that need attention from legislators and community leaders. Write a letter, send an e-mail, or sign a petition in support of a health care-related issue that you feel strongly about.
8. Help a pharmacy student
We’ve all been students at one time, so Pharmacy Week is a great time to give back to the next generation of pharmacy professionals. Allow a student to shadow you, proofread a CV, or speak to a class at your local pharmacy school.
9. Make time for team building
Schedule time to have some fun as a group. Although it can be difficult to get everyone together at the same time due to work schedules and patient needs, try to arrange an after-work happy hour, pre-work breakfast, or another type of off-the-clock event.
10. Offer freebies
Consider handing out pens, samples, care packages, or other goodies to your patients as a gesture of goodwill, if your pharmacy’s budget allows.
11. Develop or revise promotional materials
Do you get a ton of questions about the same medication week in and week out? Pharmacy Week is an excellent time to review your current publications and determine whether any information needs to be updated or created.
12. Partner with local businesses and organizations
If pharmacy policy allows, offer to distribute flyers that promote health-related events or offers for local business, such as health clubs, retail stores, or restaurants. Ask whether the local business would reciprocate by distributing pharmacy-related materials to their customers.
13. Create a “suggestion box” for employees and/or patients
Take suggestions on how pharmacy operations can be improved in the future. Then, actually consider the suggestions and implement those that are feasible.
You don’t have to have hours of free time or a huge budget to celebrate Pharmacy Week. When it comes to outreach and public relations, a little effort goes a long way.