The medical fields are changing quickly. We, as pharmacists, need to know where we are and where we are going. If we don't adapt to the changes that are occurring, we may find ourselves to be extinct.
Over the next few weeks, leading up to American Pharmacists Month, I'm going to run a series of posts on issues that I perceive to be important as we move forward. Be forewarned, my experience has been in the retail environment for the past 15 years so my writing will be biased towards those who practice in the retail setting. I don't have the numbers, but I believe that most pharmacists work in a retail setting so I believe that we should address issues facing those in retail first.
That being said, the first topic in my state of the profession series is...
When you describe your occupation to somebody that you just met, what do you say you are?
- Retail pharmacist?
- Clinical pharmacist?
- Consultant pharmacist?
- Hospital pharmacist?
- Nuclear pharmacist?
All of these are valid answers to the question. But the answers are part of one of the problems we face as professionals.
We fragment ourselves.
By identifying with the particular practice setting we are involved with, we break ourselves down into, for lack or a better term, special interest groups. Me, I work in a community retail setting. If I view myself as a retail pharmacist only, I'm not going to concern myself with issues that affect other practice settings. By self-segregating ourselves into these groups, we lose the ability to speak as a whole profession.
I still have my dictionary from college. One of the definitions of unity in my dictionary is the quality or state of not being multiple : ONENESS.
Do you feel that the profession of pharmacy is unified? If not, what can you do to bring the profession into a state of unity?
I'm going to offer a simple solution that will hopefully start to bring unity to the profession. The solution lies in the answer to the question that I posed earlier.
When somebody asks you what your profession is, there is one and only one answer:
I am a Registered Pharmacist.