President's Message - What Kind of Pharmacist are You Going to Be?

by Mike Fotis, ICHP President
May 1, 2014

What kind of pharmacist are you going to be? As a student or resident, did you work to earn your own understanding of the material? Or were you content to simply restate the information that was taught? Did you learn to ask questions, or were you satisfied learning only how to answer questions? Did you practice setting goals or only how to meet goals set by others? 

Many pharmacists act to solve problems for their patients and colleagues, while others only identify problems. Informing a prescriber that “this chart I have in front of me lists an important drug interaction between the two medications you want to prescribe” is not a way to help to solve problems. Assessing the risk of a meaningful drug interaction and providing alternative options is an example of helping to solve a problem. 

Have you mastered the elements of Evidence Based Medicine (EBM)? Can you use EBM to resist marketing pressures to recommend medications because of their unique mechanism of action, or impressive data from preclinical studies, or data from non-comparative studies? Do you interpret clinical trials on your own and review expert recommendations? Or are you content repeating back what others have stated? 

How will you practice pharmacy? Will patients and colleagues from other professions know you and ask for you by name? Or will your name soon become Pharmacy? Will you use your knowledge of rules and regulations to help remove obstacles for patients, or will you add obstacles?  Do patients see you as a valuable resource or someone they must work around? Do  patients and colleagues view you as someone who does the right thing or someone who keeps the routine going? 

When there are choices, will you act in the interest of the patient, a healthcare corporation, or an insurance provider? Will you make an effort every day to make a difference, or do you plan to “mail-it-in”? 

When do you plan to sort out all of these issues? Do you think it wise to wait until you are in the middle of a situation and in the heat of the moment? 

In the end I guess your whole career comes down to what kind of a pharmacist you are going to be. What will you do? It is entirely your decision, isn't it? However, I think that how you practice will go a long way towards defining what sort of person you are.  

My sincere congratulations go out to all of the new Pharmacy/PA/ and Residency graduates. Isn't this exciting?! 

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