What Pharmacists Can Learn from the Super Bowl


There many similarities between a football player on an NFL team and a pharmacist on a health care team.

There many similarities between a football player on an NFL team and a pharmacist on a health care team.

Here are 5 lessons that pharmacists can learn from teams in the Super Bowl and incorporate into their everyday practice.

1. Winning teams have great game plans.

Winning football teams follow a defined strategy in which virtually every step in a game is spelled out. They spend countless hours rehearsing these plays with practice drills in preparation for game day.

Health care teams should be familiar with their own game plans for treating patients. Training for health care employees should stretch beyond clinical staff to include nonclinical staff, as well.

Although football is just a sport, patient safety has a profound effect on patient lives. As such, the “practice makes perfect” edict makes perfect sense for pharmacists.

2. Winning teams are led by great head coaches and assistant head coaches.

Winning football teams have assistant head coaches who advise the head coach on offensive and defensive plays.

A head coach has to manage all players on a team, but assistant head coaches can specialize in particular areas of the game to help him. For example, an assistant head coach for offense is generally responsible for managing all offensive players.

In any type of patient care setting, there is a senior leader of the group, company, or organization. Assistant leaders support this senior leader by handling specific areas of the business.

These senior leaders and assistant leaders can make or break an organization, which often depends on the level of trust, respect, and confidence that the rest of the staff has in their leadership.

Health care employees must believe in their leaders in order to deliver high-quality health care, but they must also have the support and guidance of dedicated leaders both on and off the frontlines of the field.

3. Winning teams know how to find great talent.

Progressive and forward-thinking organizations know that in order to attract talent, they must know where to look and attract the cream of the crop.

It is not enough for the coaches to have a great game plan. They must also teach that game plan to talented and eager-to-learn individuals who can bring a fresh perspective.

I am a big proponent of scouting early and offering incentives that form mutually beneficial relationships. My first professional job stemmed from an internship I landed while attending pharmacy school.

4. Winning teams don’t dwell on losing.

Neither team in this year’s Super Bowl had a perfect season.

In health care, quality assurance projects are going to have some setbacks along the way. There will always be naysayers whose sport of choice seems to be giving criticism.

Health care professionals have to rise above these setbacks and failures and always adhere to providing the best care they can. Stay your course and know that your goal is worth the agony of dealing with the naysayers. Saving lives and providing quality health care is well worth the time and effort.

5. Winning teams’ success depends on their TEAM culture.

A true culture of teamwork is evident when we support each other not only when things go smoothly, but also when they don’t.

The term TEAM is also an acronym: Together Everyone Achieves More. Only by adhering to this mindset can health care providers truly become what patients want and deserve.

Unlike in football, where there is always a next year, those of us in health care need to get a win with every patient at every moment. Our performance can never lapse because lives are always at stake.

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