The Soul of Pharmacy: Part 2

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The final installment in what I had originally written. Why the talk about the ‘soul’ of pharmacy. 

For part of our dry lab series, we had to do some reading on professionalism and the ‘soul’ of pharmacy. This article, written in 1996, spoke about the need for change and focusing on the patient. With a lot of the newest changes in healthcare, which are still relevant in this current time. Direct to consumer advertising has made consumers blind in wanting certain things and thinking they need this, the US Healthcare System focuses more on treating the problem once it occurs rather than push means to prevent it. This list goes on and on. I could rant about this for days. 

But what is the article about? A call for action? What I had believed then and there was that it was a reminder that as a pharmacist, you’re going to be stuck in the middle of three roads: the patient, the economy, and the bureaucracy. You have to balance the three, because they are all equally important in their own way, but you can never seek to loose the grip on what is most important, and the reason why you have a job in the first place: the patient.

Let’s be honest: the physician has a very important roll in society, but they also are at one of the greatest disadvantages. They’re forced to see many patients over and over, and required to make quick judgments and be consumed by a busy work schedule. When patients have questions about their therapy, they can never seem to get a hold of someone to find out. It is just the way it goes, unfortunately. But where they lag in the healthcare field is our greatest moment to shine. Pharmacists are easily accessible and go through the training of pharmacology, therapeutics, and much more to be able to deliver that high quality of care to patients. Using our knowledge and understanding of these topics, we can pull together a good plan and be a valuable asset to the team setting, as we have already began to do over the last several years and growing rapidly. Pharmacists now even have practitioner status is California! How amazing.

As you could tell by Part 1, I believe strongly in this profession. I want to make a change and stand up for this and do great things for others. I have seen it already and feel it is my calling. We cannot lose sight of the patient, or we will never be as valuable to the changing world as we were meant to be.

In closing of this, I wanted to share a story that occurred over the last month. I work at a pharmacy where a few weeks ago, a lady called scared out of her mind and needing help. Her liver and GI system had been damaged from using a drug that she had been prescribed, and after getting no information from her doctor and having severe diarrhea and other symptoms. She asked for my help, and I did all I could. She has recovered and since been overjoyed about it. 

My boss has been getting upset with me for spending too much time on the phone. Another pharmacists tried to explain to me that this is the ‘real world’ and that what I was being taught was wrong. That doesn’t make money, and I would be fired from the retail setting if I was out there working now. 

It was difficult to hear from them, and I almost felt betrayed. As if someone who calls for help does not deserve an answer because ‘it’s not making money,’ or we’re ‘loosing productivity.’ I can understand part of their argument, that when I stop to help someone for extended periods of time, it causes work to pile up because more people need to stop to answer the hoard of incoming calls. This stops the pharmacists from checking the scripts and getting them out on time, and it creates a hassle. But at the same time, I do not feel that forsaking the patients needs is the right thing to do, either. So again, I must try to find a balance in this.

Can you see why this article in the beginning was written? We’re searching for our soul in this profession; a center balance of existence that encompasses all. We must find that correct balance, because the future of our nation, the world, and the people we share this world with, may soon find themselves depending on it.

 

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