Oath of a Pharmacist
The principles expressed in the pharmacist's oath are ideal, but in the community pharmacy setting, are they realistic?
At this time, I vow to devote my professional life to the service of all humankind through the profession of pharmacy.
I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of human suffering my primary concerns.I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal drug therapy outcomes for the patients I serve.I will keep abreast of developments and maintain professional competency in my profession of pharmacy.I will maintain the highest principles of moral, ethical, and legal conduct.I will embrace and advocate change in the profession of pharmacy that improves patient care.I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of the responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public.
I found a copy of the Oath of a Pharmacist that was provided to each member of my graduating class by the AACP while searching for something in my basement a few days ago. The ideas expressed in the oath are the ideal. Let’s compare the ideas with reality in the community pharmacy.
I will consider the welfare of humanity and relief of human suffering my primary concerns. Not a 15-minute guarantee. Not playing insurance agent. Not dealing out gift cards. Pharmacists want to help those who are hurting and impact the health and well-being of the patients who come in to see us. Trying to do this while filling 300+ prescriptions per shift is difficult at best.
I will apply my knowledge, experience, and skills to the best of my ability to assure optimal drug therapy outcomes for the patients I serve. Um...yeah. With less than two minutes per prescription, "optimal drug therapy outcomes" means that the patient isn't going to die from the prescription. Community pharmacists are simply not given the time to do this. DUR. In retail/chain pharmacy? Other than glancing at a pop-up window for drug-drug interactions, what DUR is being performed?
I will keep abreast of developments and maintain professional competency in my profession of pharmacy. Community/retail/chain pharmacists are actually able to pull this point off. At least a majority are able too. Sometimes I wonder about the competency of the floater pharmacists who come through. And I’ve always been concerned about the competency of management. Seriously. But so has every other pharmacist.
I will maintain the highest principles of moral, ethical, and legal conduct. Pharmacists, yes. Manufacturers, no. But somehow pharmacists are lumped in with pharmaceutical manufacturers… and the insurance companies. For some reason people think it's the pharmacist who decided to increase their Lipitor copay from $15 to $45. But we’ll take the blame. And give you a $25 gift card for your trouble.
I will embrace and advocate change in the profession of pharmacy that improves patient care. Advocate change. Most pharmacists are afraid to speak their minds to management. Until more pharmacists speak up, all the changes that are implemented won't be for better patient care, but for better earnings reporting to Wall Street. But don't hang your hat on the changes that are being proposed by academia. You have to remember that the bills still need to be paid. Before rolling out major changes to how pharmacy is practiced, we need to make sure that we will be reimbursed for the changes. Too many times the profession has started doing things for free, with the hopes of getting reimbursed when it becomes mainstream. You know where we are now, right?
I take these vows voluntarily with the full realization of the responsibility with which I am entrusted by the public. Pharmacists are aware of the responsibility that we are entrusted with. Maybe some members of management need to spend a week behind the counter, shadowing pharmacists to see what responsibilities we have to the public rather than handing down additional tasks that benefit the corporate.