Chicken or pig?

Insomnia

Are you a chicken or a pig? You may be asking yourself what in the world this question has to do with health-system pharmacy. It actually stems from a leadership scenario about breakfast—if you’re having bacon and eggs for breakfast, the chicken is a bystander while the pig is committed and involved. What does all this have to do with health-system pharmacy? Lots!

Do you consider yourself a committed and involved pharmacist, or are you more of a bystander? Are you actively involved in pharmacy or health care organizations? Do you seek out educational activities, even if your hospital is not able to pay for your registration or travel? Do you participate in hospital activities, including those that may not directly involve the pharmacy? Are you involved with activities in your community? Or do you leave all this to others?

Involvement in a professional organization can mean many things—from attendance and participation in meetings, to serving on a committee or task force, to running for a leadership position. Participation provides many benefits, such as continuing education, e-mail lists, mentors, or publication opportunities. But most importantly, participation helps keep you updated on the key players and current trends within pharmacy and health care. By interacting with others, it is possible to learn of new opportunities within pharmacy, as well as innovative best practices for common issues or problems.

You can participate on committees or task forces within professional organizations or within your own health system. Working on a committee is an ideal way to learn new skills that you may not often see in your current position. For example, if you need some experience with budgeting, join a committee that handles financial obligations. If you want experience working on a website, join a committee that oversees your health system’s Internet presence. These opportunities help you diversify your skills by participating in activities not part of your daily job.

Committees are also good places to help develop career objectives. Smaller committees and task forces are opportunities to establish meaningful professional relationships. By developing these connections, you can learn more about the organization or health system and find out what kinds of resources exist for career development.

Leadership roles within a professional organization, although not for everyone, can be extremely rewarding. The skills used in leading an organization correlate well to the skills needed for advancement into management roles within a pharmacy or hospital.

So, back to the original question. I hope that thinking about the answer hasn’t given you insomnia, but are you a chicken or a pig? If you are an active, involved pharmacist, then encourage others to do the same. If you are more of a bystander, then consider how you might get more involved in a pharmacy or health care organization.