American Pharmacists Month 2015: Demonstrate your value to the community

Celebrate in October

October is upon us—which means it’s time to celebrate American Pharmacists Month! This annual month-long event offers pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, and student pharmacists the opportunity to remind the community of their valuable role in the health care system. It is a time to recognize pharmacists’ significant contributions to health care and the commitment to patient care in all practice settings across the country. “Know Your Medicine—Know Your Pharmacist” serves as the theme and core message of the month.

October 1: Third annual 

October 1 is the day of the global #Pharmacist Tweet-a-Thon. Join pharmacists and pharmacy organizations that will celebrate American Pharmacists Month by sharing their contributions to health care and their communities. Last year, more than 11,000 pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, student pharmacists, and patients tweeted about contributions to patient care. 

Ways to celebrate

Make your plans to celebrate APhM with your patients, staff, and community. There are many ways to educate patients in any pharmacy setting. Invite patients to bring all their prescription and nonprescription medications so pharmacists can answer any questions and conduct a medication check-up for potential interactions, unnecessary or duplicate medications, adverse reactions, and expiration dates. 

Consider scheduling special events where patients can meet and talk to their pharmacist. Use the time to promote vaccinations and influenza immunizations or to host screenings for cholesterol, diabetes, and osteoporosis.

Community pharmacies can conduct aisle tours targeting specific groups, such as parents or older adults. This activity can help patients better understand how to select the right products for their conditions. Emphasize the importance of reading labels, knowing the active ingredients, and asking the pharmacist questions. 

If you work in a hospital or managed care pharmacy, make the rounds visiting patients. Answer any questions they may have about pharmacy services, their current drug therapy, or how to transition back to a normal medication routine when they leave the hospital. You also can share your knowledge with fellow employees by conducting brief tours that showcase daily pharmacy operations.

For those working in a long-term care facility, visit exercise or dance classes to talk with patients about how their fitness and movement activities affect their medications, and vice versa.

Also, remember that Pharmacy Technician Day is October 20. Do something special that day for these essential but too-often unrecognized members of the pharmacy team.

Lobby for provider status

American Pharmacists Month is a great opportunity to advocate for the profession and provider status. APhA will be doing its part to lobby Congress about the integral role pharmacists and their patient care services bring to patients and the health care system. 

As part of APhA’s community outreach, APhA and the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists have partnered with the cochairs of the House Community Pharmacy Caucus, the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the National Community Pharmacists Association, and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists to host the Third Annual Health Fair on October 28 on Capitol Hill. Student pharmacists from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Pharmacy; University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; Howard University College of Pharmacy; Shenandoah University Bernard J. Dunn School of Pharmacy; and Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy will assist with blood pressure, blood glucose, and cholesterol screenings and bone density testing. Medication reviews and counseling also will be available.

Inspiring ideas for celebrating American Pharmacists Month

Student pharmacists are gearing up to celebrate American Pharmacists Month (APhM) as chapters of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists plan activities for October. University of New Mexico student pharmacists are planning a “White Coats Across Montaño” walk across the highly trafficked bridge to kick off the start of APhM. They also plan to make it a trending topic by using the hashtag #APhM2015 on any related pharmacy status updates throughout October. University of Minnesota student pharmacists plan to distribute coffee sleeves to local coffee shops and hospitals with APhM messaging.

Numerous schools and state pharmacy associations, including the University of Florida and Alabama Pharmacy Association, are seeking a proclamation from their local government for official recognition for American Pharmacists Month.