National Pharmacist Day Elicits Pride for the Profession

JANUARY 11, 2019
Kristen Coppock, MA, Editor
Pharmacists are celebrated January 12, every year.

On National Pharmacist Day, public awareness is generated for everything these health care providers do for patients, as well as behind the scenes. The day is also an opportunity for these professionals to express pride in their work and share aspects of the job that keep them motivated.

August Troccia II, PharmD, at Elmira Psychiatric Center in New York, is proud to work alongside other health care providers, helping patients improve their overall health and quality of life.

“Although our [pharmacist] focus is primarily medication-related, there are often opportunities to form a personal, yet professional connection with the patients,” Troccia, wrote in an email interview.

“Working in an institutional setting, I am able to see their progress from admission to discharge," he wrote. "This unique opportunity is a constant reminder of how powerful interprofessional collaborative care can be.”

At Cooper University Hospital in Camden, New Jersey, Yamini Patel, RPh, said that her role as a hospital pharmacist is very rewarding.

A source of pride is how pharmacists are working with other providers to navigate changing laws and recent drug shortages.

“You are part of a big team of professionals solving problems to come up with the best solution for each individual patient,” Patel said. “Our opinions are valued, and we are and integral part of the health care system.”

Tyler Redelico, RPh, at MD Anderson Cancer Center at Cooper in Camden, New Jersey, is driven by science and how it is applied.

“As an oncology pharmacist, I strive to know pharmaceuticals better than everyone in my department. I am inspired by the constant advancements in oncology, and by my colleagues who provide top-notch patient care,” Redelico said.

Steve Austin, PharmD, manager of Cabrini Pharmacy Services in Seattle, Washington, wrote in an email interview, that pharmacists are becoming increasingly more responsible for medications patients receive or do not receive, such as controlled substances.

“We are viewed as one of the most trustworthy professionals in America, and we earn our stripes on a daily basis,” he wrote. “What motivates me to continue are the bright people that continue to lead our profession and see not just what we currently do but what we can do and how to get fairly paid for those more advanced services.”

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest Job Outlook for pharmacists, is predicting a 6% growth in employment for the profession, from 2016 to 2026. Although the number of pharmacy schools has grown in recent years, creating more graduates competing for jobs, demand for pharmacists is expected to increase.

Health care facilities, such as clinics and hospitals, will need more pharmacists to oversee medications and perform patient care tasks, including cholesterol testing, according to the bureau.

In addition, an aging population will generate more need for prescription medications.

Pharmacists also are seeing the profession evolving and expanding to better meet health care needs. Some, including Austin, favor provider status being granted to pharmacists.

“I believe that doctors will still have hierarchical power, but their numbers will be insufficient to meet the needs of the general public. Therefore, our role as pharmacists will increase to more prescriptive control and basic clinical assessments,” Austin wrote.

“Pharmacies will no longer rely on doctors for basic changes and refill authorizations and will be increasingly responsible for the patient on a more regular basis," he wrote.

Elizabeth Lovern, PharmD, a patient care clinical pharmacist at Cooper University Hospital, summed up pharmacists’ roles by comparing these professionals to lovable trolls guarding a bridge.

“We are there, seen and unseen, guarding the bridge to patient care. We provide our expert knowledge alongside physicians and nurse, reviewing and processing medications so only the most appropriate care, will continue ‘over the bridge’ and onto the patient,” Lovern said. 

"It is in guarding that proverbial bridge and providing healthy happy outcomes that continues to strengthen my passion for pharmacy," she said.

Share your own pharmacist pride and what inspires you on social media with the #APharmacistIs campaign.


Reference

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational outlook handbook, pharmacists. US Department of Labor website. bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacists.htm#tab-6?rel=0" ?rel=0" . Updated April 13, 2018. Accessed January 10, 2019.

 

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