My congratulations and advice to 2015 pharmacy graduates!

Congratulations to all the 2015 pharmacy graduates! After completing a rigorous schedule of classes, and balancing work, school, and family life (not to mention pharmacy volunteer or leadership opportunities), you made it! On behalf of your chosen profession, welcome. We look forward to helping you continue to build your professional connections.

Often in the spring, I am privileged to speak with graduating classes of student pharmacists as they receive their diplomas and become new practitioners. My major themes this year included building awareness about our legislative push, encouraging continued connectivity, and how APhA’s New Practitioner Network can help you in the next stages of your profession. 

Each of you is taking a flying leap today into a new career, but you aren’t without a net to catch you. APhA is working hard to gain provider status for recognition of pharmacist services. Through two congressional bills (H.R. 592 and S. 314), we’re in hot pursuit of getting you on the team and in the game as an important member of the emerging health care team. When we achieve legislative success, you will have the opportunity to practice more fully in team-based care.

You can be proud that your professional organization is investing millions of dollars so consumers can have access to your care. We formed the Pharmacists Provide Care campaign, a national campaign to promote patient access to health care through pharmacists’ patient care services. And we are helping to lead the Patient Access to Pharmacists' Care Coalition, a large coalition of national pharmacy groups that includes more than 35 organizations united in the cause to secure provider status for pharmacists.

For you to have expanded opportunities to provide care on the team, you need to be connected and involved. To be effective advocates, you’ll need your own elevator speech, and that takes focus. It took me 6 years to refine my own to 12 words, which read:

We promote consumer access and coverage for pharmacists’ quality patient care services.

These 12 words are a great jumping-off point for conversations in support of provider status. What are your 12 words?

When starting a new career, it can be challenging to stay connected to the profession, but I encourage you to make an effort to do so. From my experience, whatever you invest in time, talent, or treasure for our profession will pay off! Please don’t fade into obscurity. Show up. Stay engaged. Serve.

We’re making it easy for you by building and cultivating the New Practitioner Network—with more on the horizon! You’ll find folks just like you who understand your new challenges and are ready to help.

Again, here’s a special congratulatory message from Mark Walberg.

Congratulations to the class of 2015!