I chose pharmacy because I wanted to be a part of the health care team.
My mother has been in the nursing field all my life, and I grew up hearing her talk shop with her friends. I even stepped in as a triage victim in a few of the critical care trauma courses she taught on weekends.
When I was in high school, pharmacist George Edwards hired me as a register clerk at his community pharmacy. From then on, I knew that pharmacy would be the career path for me.
Some impactful things that come to mind over the course of my pharmacy career include saving a Humana member $80 per month by recommending that her primary care provider change her Tricor to generic fenofibrate capsules of similar dosage, and helping my community through a natural disaster.
It was the spring of 2011 when the 100-year flood hit northeast Arkansas. It had been raining very heavily for several days when the Mississippi River flooded its banks and started backing up the tributary river that runs through my community.
The wide, muddy Black River cuts through the Pocahontas town center and runs a stone's throw from the local Wal-Mart parking lot. When the Black River broke free from its banks and poured over its levees, it dumped millions of gallons of water onto cropland, into homes, and up to the front doors of the Wal-Mart pharmacy.
The Wal-Mart remained closed for 3 long days.
Patients of the Wal-Mart’s pharmacy flocked to our independent pharmacy seeking emergency fills, toiletries, and other necessities. Many of these patients needed insulin or other live-saving maintenance medications, but their prescriptions remained filled and locked inside the flooded supercenter.
Our pharmacy staff worked tirelessly to obtain new prescriptions and get emergency fill disaster overrides from insurance companies in order to fill these duplicate prescriptions. It was the first time I ever felt truly excited to call an insurance company!
During that time, I felt that our pharmacy staff was able to connect with patients in a different way, and I had many patients personally thank me for the great lengths we went to help them stay healthy during that challenging time.
Those 3 days made me realize the impact that pharmacists can make in trying times. We can help patients through tough times, whether it’s a great flood or just making ends meet each month.
For American Pharmacists Month, I would like to thank a few of the pharmacists who have impacted me personally and professionally.
The first is my great-grandfather, the late Franklin Samuel Graves. He worked as a pharmacist in Illinois and Missouri in the early 1940s.
Although he passed away long before my birth, I feel connected to him as a colleague. His Missouri state license hangs in my office next to my framed degree, reminding me of those who paved the way for pharmacy today.
I would also like to thank George Edwards for trusting me with the task of serving his patients first as a register clerk, then as a technician, then as an intern, and finally as a licensed pharmacist. I also truly appreciate my mentor, the brilliant Mike Broyles, PharmD, for teaching me the ins and outs of clinical hospital pharmacy.
As an independent clinical pharmacist, contributor for Pharmacy Times, and owner of BT Pharmacy Consulting LLC, I am able to reach patients in person and through the pharmacists I work with. I help educate and guide other pharmacists to implement and create clinical services businesses so that I can extend my reach to even more patients.
I am grateful to be a part of such a trusted and impactful profession. I truly love those moments in my career when I have used my training to benefit a patient, and I never forget a patient who takes the time to thank me for the services I provide.
If you have a pharmacy story that you would like to share, please do so on social media using the #ThankAPharmacist to show your gratitude the pharmacy profession.
Blair Thielemier, PharmD
Blair Green Thielemier, PharmD is an independent consultant pharmacist living in Arkansas with her husband and daughter. Her latest project is the first-ever virtual pharmacy conference, the Elevate Pharmacy Virtual Summit. She is also the founder of Pharmapreneur Academy, an online e-Course and Community where she guides pharmacist-entrepreneurs through the process and barriers of building a pharmacy consulting business. She is the author of How to Build a Pharmacy Consulting Business, a contributing author for Pharmacy Times and guest host on the Pharmacy Podcast. More information about Dr. Thielemier can be found on her website.