I left the pharmacy ‘world” when I left Colorado. That could explain the lack of blog posts.
After eating, drinking and breathing all things pharmacy for 10 years as a Colorado Pharmacists Association/Society board member, committee chair and officer, and then another 20 years as the organization’s executive director, I went cold turkey. Rare interactions with other pharmacists, no discussion about pharmacy topics, no pharmacy education programs, no legislation concerning pharmacy. Those who knew me pretty well never expected that. I didn’t either.
Yet I found it interesting that I was able to do that. Was it burnout, change of priorities, change of location, changes in the profession? I don’t think it was burnout. After all, when I left the association, I worked full time as a pharmacist in a long-term-care pharmacy for little over a year before I started ramping down my hours to 16-20 hours per week.
My priorities definitely changed.
I was fortunate to be able to retire without having to work at all. I always dreamed of golfing in my retirement, and that dream was realized after moving to Prescott, Arizona. Another priority was to have my mother-in-law move with us so we could share the same house.
I had no intention of practicing pharmacy in Arizona, so I did not reciprocate my license, although my Colorado pharmacy license is still active. The only ties I had to pharmacy after the move was staying informed about what has happening in Colorado pharmacy by continuing to be a member of the Colorado Pharmacists Society and reading their newsletter. I would occasionally get an e-mail from the Colorado State Board of Pharmacy about a stakeholder meeting or a rules change announcement, but that was it.
So if it wasn’t burnout or all the changes in my life, was it frustration with the pharmacy profession? I did some serious soul searching to help me answer this question. Here is what I came up with:
- Pharmacy students are coming out of pharmacy schools expecting to be able to use their clinical skills and knowledge and are sorely disappointed (and frequently carrying large student loan debt) when they enter the workplace and discover very little opportunity to do so.
- Pharmacists are being asked to do more with less – a long-standing situation. Hours are being extended and shift overlap is being reduced. Pharmacist hours are being replaced by technician hours. Corporations are implementing policies and initiatives that place added stress on the pharmacist to fill more prescriptions, give more injections, provide more services. Pharmacist burnout is becoming more and more prevalent.
- To the best of my knowledge, collaborative drug therapy management (first introduced in the early 1970s) still has no plan or blueprint of how the pharmacy profession can transition from product based to service based, generate revenue sufficient to support the direct and indirect costs of the practice activities and actually have a profitable business model.
All these things have been percolating in the back of my brain since leaving the echo chamber that I lived in for the past 30 years. What echo chamber?
Everything pharmacy leaders were doing to increase the pharmacist’s role in the health care profession was taking the profession one step closer to the stated goal of moving the profession from product based to service based. But is it? It definitely has stimulated me to return to my laptop and start sharing thoughts and information that ValuePharmacists’ readers may find interesting.
So, here I am!