ASHP InterSections ASHP InterSections

June 28, 2012

Foundation’s Visiting Leaders Program Links Past to Future

Although John Darnell, Pharm.D., is just embarking on his pharmacy career, he already can see how easy it would be, a few years down the road, to fall into a pattern of professional inertia.

“One of my biggest concerns is that I won’t continue my education and professional growth beyond the minimum I’ll need to practice,” said Dr. Darnell, who is finishing up his first residency year at Legacy Good Samaritan Medical Center in Portland, OR.

From left, ASHP Past-President Sara J. White, M.S., FASHP, and Chelsea Smith, Pharm. D. candidate (2013), Oregon State University College of Pharmacy

An antidote to his qualms arrived in the form of ASHP Past-President Sara White, M.S., FASHP, who visited the medical center in March to meet with residents and share insights that she has gained during a long and distinguished pharmacy career.

“To meet someone who never became complacent in her career and still continues to strive to make pharmacy more progressive is inspiring,” said Dr. Darnell. “It was also humbling to meet a person whom my own mentors look up to.”

Challenging and Inspiring Residents

White, now retired, is the former director of pharmacy at Stanford Hospital and Clinics in Palo Alto and clinical professor at the University of California-San Francisco. Her visit was arranged through the ASHP Foundation’s new Visiting Leaders Program (VLP), a program that offers pharmacy residents a chance to engage with some of the most highly accomplished and esteemed leaders in their discipline.

Among the program’s goals are to challenge and inspire residents to become leaders themselves. The details and structure of each visit vary according to the needs of the host facility, but each two-day visit typically involves a blend of conversations and mentoring among the pharmacy leader and small groups of residents, meetings with preceptors and department directors, and a lecture. Often, the host institution invites residents, preceptors, and pharmacy leadership from nearby programs to participate in some of the activities, as occurred in Portland.

White’s advice centered on the fact that residents must embrace the idea that leadership is an inevitable process even if they never assume an official leadership title.

“I tell them they are the CEOs of their own career, and that even pharmacists who do not hold managerial positions still need to become what I term a small ‘l’ leader,” said White. “Every pharmacist on every shift has a responsibility to lead, because they’re accountable to their patients and colleagues to continually search for a way to improve the quality of care. That’s a kind of leadership.”

The residents won’t soon forget White’s blend of wisdom and optimism, according to Kate Farthing, Pharm.D. , BCPS, pharmacy clinical specialist for quality & patient safety at Legacy Good Samaritan, who coordinated White’s visit.

“The residents were able to connect to her and visualize how they will fit into the profession,” she said. “Even as great clinical practitioners, they still need to prepare for the challenges of leadership.” Dr. Farthing’s relationship with White goes back several decades; White hired Dr. Farthing to her first job at the University of Kansas in the early 1990s. “Sara truly is someone who embodies the Visiting Leaders Program,” Dr. Farthing noted.

Broadening Perspectives

Residency directors around the country quickly realized the value of the VLP soon after it was launched early in 2012. “All the slots were filled within two and a half months after we announced the program,” according to Richard Walling, R.Ph., director of the Foundation’s Center for Health-System Pharmacy Leadership. By the end of the year, about 450 residents will have taken part in the program, either directly through their residency programs or as guests of host institutions. Walling hopes to renew the VLP for 2013.

David A. Zilz, M.S., FASHP, addresses residents in the greater Cincinnati area as part of the ASHP Foundation’s Visiting Leaders Program.

In April, the residency programs in the greater Cincinnati area welcomed visiting leader David A. Zilz, M.S., FASHP, an emeritus professor of pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics and past president of ASHP. (The VLP is supported by an educational donation from Pfizer to the ASHP Foundation’s David A. Zilz Leaders for the Future Fund.)

Bonnie Hui-Callahan, Pharm.D., who is nearing the end of her residency at Kroger/University of Cincinnati College of Pharmacy, was immediately struck that Zilz seemed to know the residents so well even though he’d never met them before. “He asked us to send him our bios and photos, and it was clear that he studied all of them beforehand,” said Dr. Hui-Callahan. “That level of concern from someone so highly regarded in the profession was very powerful.”

Zilz assured the residents that the very fact of their residency gives them distinct advantages in reaching their goals. “As residents, they already have a unique set of skills that puts them in a strong position,” he said. Yet, he also counseled patience and flexibility and the need to pivot away from what he considers the entitlement mentality that pervaded residency programs a few years ago, when job options were plentiful and placement was usually assured.

“I’d like to see residents broaden their perspectives and be willing to move in directions they may not have previously considered,” he said. That might include pursuing additional degrees in fields as diverse as engineering, journalism, or business, which can provide a young pharmacist with a novel blend of qualifications that may lead to unforeseen opportunities.

“I encourage them to put together a holistic life plan and think carefully about how they can integrate their careers with their wider life goals,” said Zilz. “I believe they really enjoyed that.”

All told, Zilz met with several dozen residents from six different residency programs in the Cincinnati area.

“The residents were impressed by the level of personal interest he displayed,” said Marianne Ivey, Pharm.D., MPH, an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati, former vice president of pharmacy services for a health system in Greater Cincinnati with a large residency program,  and former ASHP president (she also is among the VLP’s slate of visiting leaders).

“It meant a lot to them that an honored colleague was so interested in helping their careers. Residents are so busy learning the practice of pharmacy and how to take care of people that they rarely have time to pause and consider the big picture with someone like David Zilz.”

June 12, 2012

From the President

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — Kathy Biesecker @ 12:12 pm

ASHP President Kathryn Schultz, Pharm.D., FASHP

I am an eternal optimist, and today, I’d like to talk about two concepts which have optimism at their heart.  First, the value of setting a goal and pursuing it relentlessly, and, second, the importance of being the “MVP,” or most valuable pharmacist, on the health care team.

Baseball, America’s pasttime, has always been a big part of my family’s life. Our sons played everything from T-ball to Babe Ruth. I am a Cubs fanatic, as well. If you know anything about baseball, you know that makes me the eternal optimist!

In preparing for today, it occurred to me that the baseball metaphor was perfect. We all need to be most valuable pharmacists, or MVPs, on our respective health care teams. We need to be MVPs because our patients need us more than ever. The numbers bear this out.

Over the last decade, we have seen a rise in preventable adverse drug events. One study of 400 patients at an academic medical center found that close to 20 percent had adverse events after discharge. Of these, adverse drug events were the most common type … at 66 percent. And of those, nearly half were preventable, and many could have been avoided with simple medication therapy management strategies.[1]

So what are we missing here?

I believe we are in need of a new level of intensity for how we approach our jobs, how we see patients and patient care, and how we exercise our power to change things for the better. We, as pharmacists, must step up to the plate, embrace change, and become accountable for the care we provide. We must become Most Valuable Pharmacists.

Up To Bat:  Traits of an MVP

If we are going to change patient care for the better, we all must become MVPs on our respective teams. But how? Clearly, becoming an MVP is not an easy process. It takes years, a complete devotion to your “sport,” loyalty to the team, and a number of personal and professional traits that I’d like to share with you.

The first of these traits is that MVPs have a winning mindset. They own both their successes and their failures. MVPs see failure as a “lesson learned,” building on the knowledge of what went wrong to make improvements. In that way, MVPs are both optimists and realists.

MVPs have an ability to change up the plays. They  continually look for innovative ways to contribute to the team. What can you do today to adapt to your changing workplace?

MVPs continue to work on their skills and knowledge of the “game.”

MVPs are good sports. When my sons were small, this was one of the hardest things to teach them… to be positive and supportive of the opposing team even if you fail to win. If we are “good sports” as Most Valuable Pharmacists, we know that we will have some setbacks. But we will keep focused on what’s important—our patients.

MVPs keep their cool. As a society, we don’t typically admire athletes who throw tantrums. We instead look up to the players who remain calm under pressure. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be passionate about what you do. It does mean that you should strive to maintain your balance when you get thrown a curve ball.

MVPs take care of their team. They motivate fellow team members, inspiring others to take action.

Finally, MVPs know how important fans are to the game. We must make fans out of our patients and their families. We also must make fans out of fellow health care providers and the C-suite. We can’t take for granted that administrators know who we are, what we do, and the value that we bring to the team.

Finally, we must make fans out of legislators and regulators, because they influence pharmacists’ scope of practice.

“Put Me in, Coach…. I’m Ready to Play!

I’ve laid out a case for the importance of becoming the Most Valuable Pharmacist within your institution. Now, how will you become an MVP? Here are six specific suggestions to help you on your path to MVP:

  1. First, ask for duties outside of your comfort zone.  Every pharmacist at Bethesda is a registered preceptor.  This was a big step for some, but they all play a part in educating our future practitioners – and they do a great job.
  2. Track your interventions to see how you are improving patient care. Share this information with your administrative team to demonstrate that pharmacists make a difference every day.
  3. Continually develop and refine your capabilities and skills. Practitioners, seek more education in an area that you really love or where you need to strengthen your skills.
  4. Build and manage your team. ASHP’s vision is that by the year 2020, all new pharmacists providing direct patient care will have completed an accredited residency.
  5. Seek leadership opportunities within your practice setting, with your state affiliate, and with organizations like ASHP. There is no better way to expand your horizons than to network with others.
  6. Embrace practice model change. No matter what your job is and no matter what the size of your hospital, there is so much we can all do to determine where our practice gaps are and to begin to close them.

I challenge each of you to step up to the plate for better patient care. Remember that MVPs have a winning mindset. They are optimistic in the face of difficult odds and work hard to make sure that they have the skills and knowledge to make the best plays at the right time. MVPs care passionately about what they do. And they understand that fans are always watching and rooting for their success. It isn’t easy, but it’s a highly rewarding role to play.


Editor’s Note: Kathryn Schultz, Pharm.D., FASHP, was inducted as ASHP President on Tuesday, June 12, 2012, at ASHP’s Summer Meeting in Baltimore. The full script of her inaugural address will appear in a summer issue of the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy

[1] The Incidence and Severity of Adverse Events Affecting Patients after Discharge from the Hospital, Ann Intern Med 2003;138:161-167Alan J. Forster, MD, FRCPC, MSc; Harvey J. Murff, MD; Josh F. Peterson, MD; Tejal K. Gandhi, MD, MPH; and David W. Bates, MD, MSc

Powered by WordPress