I recently heard author and speaker John C. Maxwell say that people spend more time planning their Christmas schedule and gift purchases than their careers. I have reflected on this statement and, unfortunately, find it to be true for many people. Student pharmacists approach pharmacy school with the primary purpose of getting through it, not using the time to develop skills and networks that will assist them with future professional needs. Some pharmacists are in a job because they have not thought much about what they want to do, or do not have the right skills to do something different.
I have spent time thinking strategically about where I want pharmacy to take me. While I don’t usually share my dreams with others, I do have personal career milestones that I want to achieve and things I want to look back on at the end of my career to say I did. Whether I am able to accomplish all of these things is not the reason I selected them. One needs to have a goal to aim for and a plan to get you there—in the hopes that you will get close to what you want to achieve. If you have not completed this process for yourself, I can almost guarantee that your growth and development will not be as great compared with where you would be if you had an organized approach.
I try to set personal and professional career goals each year—and challenge you to do something similar. In the hopes of encouraging you, I have listed some of mine.
Advance health-system pharmacy — While my practice interest is in administration, this resolution could apply to all sectors of pharmacy practice. I hope to advance the evidence supporting various interventions and technology on the medication use process that leads to better and more efficient patient care. I believe that advancing the medication use process is an undefined and unrecognized discipline within pharmacy, but one that could be transformative for achieving the new health care delivery and finance model.
Continue to get more involved in global pharmacy — My hope is that I can intimately engage in 1 or 2 projects that have investigators located outside the United States. This could be a collaborative research project or a consulting activity with the purpose of advancing the role of pharmacists in the hospital setting. My goal is to forge new relationships with people I have not met, with the end point of learning a new health care system and contributing to its betterment. I would also want it to result in publications and speaking opportunities.
Read more books — While I am very diligent in reading pharmacy journals and newspapers, I need to read more books. I had set a goal to read 24 books in 2013—that’s an average of 2 per month. These were to be focused on management or leadership, religion, non-fiction, or fiction. Just something that interested me and broadened me as a person. Unfortunately, I did not reach my goal this year. I believe this is important for my own professional growth and development, so I will have it again as a resolution in 2014, thinking through how I can reschedule my week to be more intentional with this.
Make the Health-System Edition of Pharmacy Times have desirable content and be something everyone looks forward to reading every 2 months. I hope my commentaries (in each edition and monthly online) are insightful and somewhat challenging to your underlying beliefs, and something you can tell others about. I enjoy having the platform to share my ideas, but I hope I am reaching a broad and diverse audience with quality information.
These are just a few of my resolutions for 2014. I don’t know if all of these will be realized, but I am certain they will further my personal and professional development in a manner that will aid in reaching my future career aims.
Do you make professional resolutions each year? Do you have insights on how I might reach mine? Just let me know.
Stephen F. Eckel, PharmD, MHA, BCPS, FASHP, FAPhA, FCCP, is associate director of pharmacy, University of North Carolina Hospitals, and clinical associate professor and director of graduate studies at the University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy. In 2013 he was awarded the Excellence in Innovation award by NCAP. He is a fellow of ASHP, APhA, and ACCP, one of only a few pharmacists to be recognized by all 3 societies.