Expert: The Impact Pharmacists Provide to Expanded Scope and Care to Patients

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Cheri Schmit, RPh, Senior Manager of clinical Solutions at Cardinal Health, discusses the role of the pharmacists, how the pharmacy profession has changed, and what is to come in the field.

Cheri Schmit, RPh, Senior Manager of clinical Solutions at Cardinal Health, discusses the role of the pharmacists, how the pharmacy profession has changed, and what is to come in the field to highlight American Pharmacists Month.

Pharmacy Times

Can you introduce yourself?

Female pharmacist working in chemist shop or pharmacy. Pharmacist using the computer at the pharmacy. Portrait of young female pharmacist holding medication while using computer at pharmacy counter - Image credit: Dragana Gordic | stock.adobe.com

Image credit: Dragana Gordic | stock.adobe.com

Cheri Schmit

My name is Cheri Schmit and I'm a pharmacist. I have been a community pharmacist most of my career, and have been with Cardinal Health for about the last two years.

Pharmacy Times

How did you get into pharmacy?

Cheri Schmit

In high school, we took some kind of aptitude tests that was supposed to help us figure out what a good career for us would be, and mine came back as something in the health care profession. We had an assignment to go job shadow a couple of different people who had careers in our chosen field. I chose one of the two people that I job shadowed, and then wrote a report about was the local pharmacist in our community in our hometown. I grew up in a very rural area, so there was only one pharmacist in the entire county. I went and spent the day with him, and at the end of the day I was just really fascinated — pharmacy was much different than what I thought it was. Just seeing how he cared for people, and what he was doing,cradle to grave care was very interesting to me. So I asked him, if I could work for him for free, to kind of learn more about the profession. He laughed and said, 'you're hired, anyone who offers to work for free has a job,' and so I really kind of fell in love with it in high school. That directed me to go to pharmacy school in college.

Pharmacy Times

How have you seen the profession change over your career?

Cheri Schmit

I really think everything has changed and not much has changed at the same time. But I think the biggest change is pharmacists have always been healthcare providers. They've always been that place that patients went, they've always had a relationship with patients. I think the biggest change is that we're now starting to see legislation kind of change that allows pharmacists to do what they we are trained to do. Kind of catching up to the knowledge and training that pharmacists have— seeing pharmacists really providing expanded scope and care to patients like immunizations and point of care testing, and allowing them to be a healthcare destination and play a larger role in the patient's team.

Pharmacy Times

What is the most rewarding part of pharmacy for you?

Cheri Schmit

Definitely the patient's is the most rewarding part. We can't always help them, but just being able to be there for them and offer them advice, and when they're just so appreciative of what you've done for them. The relationships that you have with patients, that's been the most important part. Now with my new role at Cardinal Health, for me, it's the relationships that we have with pharmacists. Just seeing all of the different practices, seeing what these pharmacists do in their communities is amazing, and how they care for their patients and just being able to learn from all of them and all the different practices throughout the United States.I've obviously always had a passion for pharmacists, and pharmacies, and especially community pharmacists. I really think that the value that they play is so understated because they have these trusted relationships with patients—not that other health care providers don't as well, but we just see them so very much. The first pharmacist that I've worked for was really cradle to grave in that community and so I think the biggest value is that pharmacist have so much knowledge about the patient. Then combine that with their education and knowledge, they really are in a perfect setting to be a liaison for the patient, to help educate them about their care, help monitor their care, to make sure that everything is working appropriately as it was designed to do. Then directing them to receive care from other health care providers when they need it. Oftentimes patients have so many different providers, so they may not know which one to go for which things or maybe they don't have a provider at all, and they're just using urgent care. I really think that pharmacist is kind of a glue that hopefully help holds everything together for patients. As I said with Cardinal Health Visiting pharmacies all over the United States, the role they play in their communities go so much further than health care.

Pharmacy Times

What is the value of the pharmacist to you personally, and to the overall health care system?How are you celebrating this American Pharmacists Month?

Cheri Schmit

That's a great question. I really think just trying to lift up the profession and the role of pharmacists and make sure that everyone knows what pharmacists do. It's such a busy time in pharmacies right now with immunizations going on, so just making sure that I reach out and thank the pharmacists that I know and making sure that they feel appreciated for what they do.

Pharmacy Times

Is there anything you'd like to add?

Cheri Schmit

I had the opportunity to be elected to serve as president of the Iowa Pharmacy Association. It's a 3 year term where you serve as President Elect, and then President and I'm now chairman of the board. That has been such a great experience because I've gotten to learn more about the practice within my own state and work on a legislative level to help expand opportunities within our state for pharmacists, but also being exposed to pharmacy associations from other states. Working with NASPA and NCPA, just getting to know leaders and stakeholders across the profession and the industry, and how we can align our voices to really help promote the profession and help promote the practice for patients as well.

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