University of Texas College of Pharmacy

On October 14–15, I participated in Dean Lynn Crismon’s Advisory Council meeting at the University of Texas (UT) College of Pharmacy in Austin. This is one of two College of Pharmacy advisory committees on which I serve in order to maintain a close-up perspective of issues and opportunities with students and educators.

Following this meeting, at the invitation of Diane Ginsburg, the current President of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, I spoke at the convocation of about 200 pharmacy students that included the P2 and P3 classes at UT–Austin. Thanks to Diane and her classes for their hospitality and great questions.

During my talk, and during a similar talk a couple of weeks ago at the University of Maryland, I asked the students about their concerns about life after graduation. Did they worry about getting a job? Did they expect they could get their dream job? Did they know and buy into the Joint Commission of Pharmacy Practitioners 2015 vision statement?

Our students today are getting a phenomenal education, and are well trained to serve current roles as well as new, perhaps even unimagined roles in the future. We must keep supporting them and their growing demand for quality experiential training and support, and for residencies that will help them prepare for these new roles. We are very aware of the challenges and changes in the workforce. Yet I was energized by these students’ understanding of those challenges and their enthusiastic outlook toward the future.

The profession is growing and has created opportunities in all practice settings for growth and the assumption of new responsibilities in patient care. It’s natural that there are and will continue to be growing pains and pressures. Systems and organizations are feeling the pressures of declining margins and reimbursement on products, and the drive to increase service offerings in an uncertain payment environment. We must keep pulling together.