Demonstrating Value of Pharmacists to Obtain Hiring Approval


Illustrating how pharmacists improve the lives of others in the health environment, and using data to back that up are the 2 most necessary steps in gaining approval for a new hire.

Complex processes and budget cuts can make it extremely difficult to hire a full time equivalent (FTE) pharmacist, but a session at the 2020 Hematology/Oncology Annual Meeting in Tampa, Florida addressed best practices for obtaining approval for FTE hiring.

The pharmacy field and health systems are entering the “perfect storm,” said Scott Soefje, PharmD, MBA, BCOP, FCCP, FHOPA, director of pharmacy cancer care at Mayo Clinic. Despite a rise in demand for their services, and increased complexity in patients, Soefje said there is a shortage of medical oncologists, gynecologic oncologists, oncology nurses, genetic counselors, and certified tumor registrars.

Oncology pharmacists are the perfect people to fill this role, however, according to Soefje. Medication management services involve collecting information, assessing that information to make clinical decisions, creating care plans, and following up with the patients—all of which can help alleviate the shortages.

But to successfully get approval for a new oncology pharmacist, Soefje said you must first understand the process. Speak with others in the health system who have successfully gone through the process, and ask what they recommend, he said. On the other hand, Soefje also urged attendees to speak with people whose proposals had been denied, and understand what went wrong.

Health systems often have a myriad of steps to take, including gaining approval from multiple committees, groups, and leaders. After speaking with others who have undergone the process, Soefje recommended making a list of all the committees, approvals, endorsements, and supporters that you will need, and then methodically tackling them.

At Mayo Clinic, Soefje said the Operations Coordinating Group controls FTE allocations and applicants must get approval from the pharmacy leadership as well as the clinical department in which the new hire would be placed. These are the people who have to convince, he added.

“If your pharmacy, chief pharmacist, whoever, is on board, then you’re halfway there,” Soefje said.

In order to sell them on why a new oncology pharmacist is necessary, demonstrate how the new hire can help achieve institutional goals and identify things that clinicians struggle with. If they struggle with efficiency, demonstrate how an oncology pharmacist can help.

Asking the financial department for data may also help demonstrate the value of oncology pharmacy, Soefje said. Illustrate how the daily duties of the pharmacist free up time for nurses and clinicians, and thereby increases revenue opportunities.

Data is the key, Soefje concluded. Illustrating how pharmacists improve the lives of others in the health environment, and using data to back that up are the 2 most necessary steps in gaining approval for a new hire.

“Let’s face it,” Soefje said. “That’s what it comes down to these days. Are you valuable to somebody? And oncology pharmacists are.”


Soefje C. Practical Tips for Justifying Oncology Pharmacist Clinic Positions. Presented at: Hematology/Oncology Pharmacists Association 2020 Meeting in Tampa, FL: March 11, 2020.

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