Chapter 1: Beginning the journey

Note from Tom: In honor of his emphasis on the power of stories to advance pharmacists’ professional status, APhA President Brad Tice will contribute a monthly guest blog on the topic. Enjoy the first edition!

Wow, how fast a month can go! When speaking at the APhA Annual Meeting in the second general session, I announced three “asks” of pharmacists for the year. The first is to tell your story of what it means to be a pharmacist and the impact you make. To carry that theme forward, I’ll be producing a chapter every month to share the story of my year as president of APhA!

This first month was off to a great start. I got to present at USP’s inaugural Pharmacoinformatics Conference, share the work of APhA, and participate in the discussion of how pharmacy and pharmacists need to be positioned in the evolving health care system. I also got to present at the Premise Health Client Forum. If you have never heard of Premise Health, you should check it out! It is a great onsite health clinic model using pharmacists to deliver advanced patient care for some of the country’s largest employers. And guess what? They are driving savings when pharmacists are involved! Imagine that!

Do people remember your stories? Well, yes, they do! Here is one from President-elect Michael Hogue at the airport. It is obvious that the TSA agent noticed pharmacists’ impact in people’s lives.

From President-elect Hogue: “Today I’m flying to West Virginia. I decided to wear my APhA long-sleeve shirt. As I’m going through the TSA checkpoint, the TSA agent says, ‘Does that logo stand for the American Pharmacists Association?’ I (proudly) replied, ‘Yes, and I’m the President-elect.’ He then proceeded to tell me, ‘Thank you for what you and all of the pharmacists do in this country. We really need you guys with our aging population. We appreciate your contributions.’”

Some pharmacists have told me they could use help understanding what I mean by “tell your story.” Here are just a few pointers to hopefully make it easier:

  1. Identify a situation where you have impacted someone’s life through the practice of pharmacy.
  2. Tell the benefit to people of what happened, so that they see, hear, and feel the difference pharmacists make.
  3. Point out the value pharmacists can bring and how it could be so much more!
  4. Do not be afraid to use the same story over and over. You may need a few stories, but remember, each new person likely has not heard your story, so do not be afraid to reuse them.

Here is another example that was in Pharmacy Today in April.

Jessica Marx is a pharmacist in community practice. She recognized one day that a patient was having recurring kidney stones and was also taking high doses of vitamin C. She remembered reading that large doses of vitamin C can cause kidney stones. She says she was simply “doing her job” in telling the patient that she may want to consider reducing the amount of vitamin C. The patient listened and came back to thank Jessica, reporting that she has not had a kidney stone since. Just imagine if pharmacists actually got paid for delivering this type of a service and could make it the standard part of their practice!

I love hearing stories of pharmacists making a difference. Who knows? Maybe your story will be in a future chapter. Have a great month and look forward to the next chapter in our story this year!