Going the Extra Mile

Pharmacy Times, Volume 0, 0

Our profession is one in whichour customers (patients, otherproviders, and hospital administrators)have needs and expectationsthat consistently exceed our capacity torespond to the extent that we would in aperfect world. We as pharmacists arechallenged by the expense associatedwith drug therapy, bureaucratic and regulatorybarriers, limited human resources,space, equipment, time wehave each day, and much more. As aresult, we approach each day knowingthat we will do the best we can and constantlybalance needs with our capacityto meet them.

The great news is that this balancingact is supported by many wonderfulpharmacists who "go the extramile" in more situations than isreasonable to expect. Thesepharmacists go beyond what isreasonable because of theirdedication to the patient andtheir own personal commitmentto uphold their oath toserve others in pursuit of maximizingdrug therapy outcomes.As the leader of more than 100pharmacists, it is unreasonablefor me to expect this level ofcommitment for each encounterin which they are involved. Itrust that each pharmacist recognizescritical situations, inwhich going the extra mile isreally needed, and their abilityto give that extra effort wheneverthey can.

One of my staff members recentlyspent an inordinate amount of timeassisting a senior who was mired in theMedicare Part D debacle. She tirelesslymade numerous phone calls back andforth to Washington(DC) and Atlanta (Ga),as an advocate for thispatient in an effort toreestablish his eligibilityfor coverage, minimizehis out-of-pocketexpense, and ensurethat he was able to getthe drugs he needed. Icannot share moredetails because itwould exceed thespace allotted for thiscommentary.

Although this actionsounds "routine," youare blessed to workwith colleagues whoconsistently go theextra mile. I know Ihave that kind of staffat the University of North CarolinaHospitals and Clinics in both acute careand ambulatory care environments. I amlucky to have every member.

As in many similar situations, thepatient, the prescriber, and even the hospitaldid not really appreciate what ittook to meet this patient's needs. Evenmore tragically, these efforts take placenumerous times every hour of the day.As a profession, we need to strive to congratulateeach other and celebrate oursuccesses, even if only to each other.Leaders must find new and differentways to globally appreciate their staffmembers' high level of effort, while strivingto improve their personal touch thatmeans a great deal to their colleagues.

So, on behalf of all the pharmacy leadersand managers out there, I congratulatethe thousands of pharmacists whoconstantly go the extra mile for theirpatients and customers. You are essentialto the processes of delivering top-flightpatient care and maintaining theimage of our profession. Thanks so muchfor your dedication, sacrifice, and personalcommitment!

Mr. McAllister is director of pharmacyat University of North Carolina (UNC)Hospitals and Clinics and associatedean for clinical affairs at UNCSchool of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill.