Michael D. Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, FFIP

Michael D. Hogue, PharmD, FAPhA, FNAP, FFIP

Michael D. Hogue is the 15th Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Pharmacists Association (APhA).

Read more about Michael 

Published on Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Dream stealers and dream keepers—A message for graduates, and perhaps all of us

As I write this week’s blog, I’m preparing for commencement addresses at two schools of pharmacy: Auburn University’s Harrison School of Pharmacy, and Howard University School of Pharmacy. Walking around college campuses this time of year reminds me of the hope of the future, and as I strolled around the Loveliest Village on the Plains it hit me that there is a stark contrast between this week and next month for these graduates.

This week, student pharmacists will step out of the only thing you’ve known for twenty-something years: school. You’ve inched closer to the work side of the equation with a year’s worth of advanced patient care experiences; yet next month things are going to be very different for you. You’ve been surrounded day in and day out by other people who are also in a hopeful pursuit. The pursuit of a degree. You’ve been surrounded by loving parents, spouses, in some cases children, faculty members, college administrators, all cheering you on with “You’ve got this!” “You can do it!” “Don’t give up, keep the faith!”  Smiling faces amid the tears of worry, a gentle hand reaching out to guide them along and pick them up when they’ve stumbled or hit failure.

Next month it will be different.  Rather than being surrounded by encouraging mentors who believe in you, you will find yourself in a world where you will be defined by your resume.  Meeting the frustrations and stress of a practice where you may be isolated for hours at a time without much human contact, or worse isolated without any positive encouragement from anyone. Occasionally a grateful patient will smile and say thank you, and this will provide the small thimble of peace and hope that drives you, the new pharmacist, along. 

This message is for all of our new graduate pharmacists. Inside of you today as you embark on this  journey of caregiving through pharmacy is a dream and hope - that is your future. You saw it clearly as you walked across that stage and picked up your diploma. As the months and years pass, it will begin to fade. The frustrations of life and of work will sometimes become downright discouraging. You might even forget why you got into this field in the first place. Let me encourage you while it’s fresh in your mind, to write yourself a letter today about that dream and the hope that you are so excited about in this moment. The path of your journey won’t be straight – it will have corners and turns and even a few potholes. But it will be even better than you imagined if you can keep that dream in front of you. If you can remember the “why”.

You have to protect your dream. How do you do that? I have a simple formula that I want to suggest that has served me very well for over 30 years.

 First, you have to decide every day that today is going to be a great day – yesterday is gone. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is all you have, so you must decide what your attitude is going to be no matter what you face.

Second, surround yourself with positive people. You may not have a choice with whom you work every day, but you can influence those folks by being positive in their presence. And you can also choose who you spend your time away from work with. Choose wisely. Distance yourself from people who make you feel worse about yourself or about the world around you, and draw closer those whose presence makes you feel better and who encourage you.

Third, resist the temptation to throw down. Never, never let those whom you supervise see your frustration or hear the negativity you are experiencing. Think about it carefully – when you tell all the people whom you supervise how bad things are, who is it really helping? It’s creating stress for them. Great bosses uplift their people even if the circumstances are not ideal.

And lastly, commit yourself to staying plugged in to your profession. Dream stealing often happens when you run out of options and feel trapped. Our profession is so versatile; the opportunities are tremendous. And this is particularly true for those who have a wide network of colleagues from multiple practice settings and specialties. You never know when your road to your dream is going to take you down a path that someone in your network can help you achieve. Commit to keeping your membership in APhA and your state pharmacy association active and commit to networking with others through meetings and professional forums. Whether you realize it or not, it will pay off in the future.

Graduates, I am so hopeful for your future! And I’m hopeful for mine, and all of the professionals reading today. There is a bright horizon for all of us if we keep our hearts and minds focused on the hopes and dreams of the future. 

For Every Pharmacist. For All of Pharmacy.


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Author: James Keagy

Categories: CEO Blog

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