ASHP InterSections ASHP InterSections

August 8, 2013

Leadership: Central to Pharmacy Practice Advancement

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

Paul W. Abramowitz, Pharm.D., Sc.D. (Hon.), FASHP

EFFECTIVE, FOCUSED LEADERSHIP AND EXECUTIVE PRESENCE are essential to driving pharmacy practice advancement, thus optimizing patient care. ASHP and the ASHP Foundation are committed to supporting pharmacists in their professional and leadership development journey to achieve this goal.

Leadership in clinical practice and effectively working collaboratively on interprofessional teams are what drives practice change. And, through a number of initiatives, ASHP and the Foundation are dedicated to assisting pharmacists across the complete spectrum of their career… from student, to new practitioner, to emerging clinical and administrative practice leaders, and, ultimately, as experienced leaders.

No other pharmacy organization has the depth and level of commitment to your practice leadership development that ASHP does. Please let me review with you this level of commitment and showcase examples of leadership development opportunities that ASHP and the Foundation are offering our members.

Pharmacy Leadership Academy

The Pharmacy Leadership Academy (PLA) has been in existence for five years, and nearly 400 practitioners have completed this transformational leadership development program. The Academy is helping to launch talented new clinical practice leaders and assisting other established leaders in reaching new heights in their careers.

At the Foundation’s ASHP Summer Meeting Donor Breakfast, I heard three pharmacists speak about their life-changing PLA experiences. I was touched and thrilled to hear their heartfelt stories of professional success, and I suggest that you read their inspiring messages and view the video on the Foundation’s website.

What impressed me about the graduates’ messages was their self-confidence, poise, passion, and full commitment to their patients and to leading our profession to new heights. This month, 68 pharmacists began the year-long, distance-based PLA program. They are poised to reach new heights in practice leadership.

If you are interested in catapulting your career, I encourage you to consider enrolling in the next class. In addition, directors and chief pharmacy officers should also identify members of their staff who are primed for success and enroll them in the 2014 class.

leadersINNOVATION Masters Series

ASHP and the Foundation also offer the leadersINNOVATION Masters Series, which consists of two, six-week distance-learning programs: “Developing Transformational Leadership Skills” and “Designing Transformational Change: Strategy and Tactics.”

This leadership development series is an excellent option for pharmacists who may not be able to fulfill a year-long commitment, or who seek a program before the start of the next PLA class. The leadersINNOVATION Masters Series begins August 18. Courses position practitioners to deal effectively with rapid changes in the health care environment and to position pharmacy for the type of transformational change that can expand and advance pharmacy practice.

The series is ideally suited for an emerging leader, a recent pharmacy resident graduate, or for an established leader needing guidance on how to move pharmacy practice to the next level. It also may be exactly what you need for your own professional development or what you have been seeking for one or more of your staff.

leadersEDGE Webinar Series

The new leadersEDGE Webinar Series is another leadership development program that will be launched by the Center for Health-System Pharmacy Leadership in September 2013.

This 90-minute program will address major, cutting-edge leadership challenges facing pharmacy practitioners in health systems. The first program will address the current state of the “Business of Pharmacy.” Webinar faculty will focus on the critical capability and capacity necessary to transform practice. It is the perfect program for pharmacists interested in staying in front of major leadership issues facing our profession.

Opportunities for Students, Residents

At ASHP, we believe that our student pharmacists and pharmacy residents are the lifeblood of our profession.

Pharmacy students face a competitive environment when they graduate and are looking for opportunities to develop and ultimately showcase their leadership talents. ASHP has a host of opportunities through the Student Societies of Health-System Pharmacy, Leadership Speakers BureauASHP Student Leadership Award ProgramStudent Leadership Development Workshops, and the national Clinical Skills Competition.

The future of our profession is in the hands of our pharmacy students and pharmacy residents. ASHP remains committed to providing leadership opportunities for them, including the Visiting Leaders Program, which has been developed explicitly for pharmacy residents.

Showcasing ASHP’s Many Leadership Offerings

During my many years working in hospitals and health systems, I relied upon ASHP, as my professional organization, to assist me in that journey at all steps along the way. It was a challenge for me to keep up with the many offerings of ASHP, and I know many of you face the same challenge.

That is why, at this critical juncture, I am taking the time to showcase ASHP’s commitment to our leadership development programs. Please take the time to share this message, and have your colleagues or your staff members review these fantastic program opportunities.

Feel free to share your thoughts with me about your leadership development needs, and remember that focused and effective leadership is central to pharmacy practice advancement at the bedside, in the pharmacy, in the clinic, and in the administrative office.

August 6, 2013

Midwestern Glendale Students Dive into Drug Shortages Advocacy

From left, Mindy J. Burnworth, Nicole M. Wilson, and Benjamin J. Thompson display the drug shortages poster they created to educate others about this national problem.

ONGOING NATIONAL DRUG SHORTAGES that are negatively impacting pharmacists’ ability to care for patients can seem like an overwhelming problem to most practitioners.

But Benjamin J. Thompson and Nicole M. Wilson, students at Midwestern University College of Pharmacy, Glendale, Ariz., decided that they had a lot to contribute by educating fellow students, pharmacists, legislators, and other health care professionals about the issue.

They dove into the world of advocacy, partnering with mentor Mindy J. Burnworth, Pharm.D., BCPS, associate professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice, to develop a poster on the issue.

Thompson and Wilson reached out to Burnworth during their first year of pharmacy school. Having settled into the routine of their studies, they were ready to expand their horizons in an area that interested them.

“We had gotten into the rhythm of tests and classes and were getting frustrated with not doing anything beyond that,” said Thompson. “We had talked about drug shortages and reached out to Burnworth through email with the idea of an introductory research project.”

From there, it was a matter of deciding on a project that would offer the students not only a chance to develop new skills, but provide a tool for advocacy.

“The poster format was short, sweet and concise, and it hit key points to discuss with pharmacists, physicians, and academicians,” Burnworth said.  “And, because legislation was being proposed in Congress at that time, the poster needed to include talking points to cover with legislators.”

Moving Through the Learning Curve

The team began by developing a timeline of tasks. All three conducted independent literature reviews, and together they narrowed their resources down to those that identified the impact of drug shortages on health care and highlighted legislation that proposed an early warning system as a way of addressing them.

Burnworth Melinda head shot

Mindy J. Burnworth, Pharm.D., BCPS

There was a learning curve in conducting the research, said Wilson. “We stumbled a little through trying to find the right articles and doing the literature search,” she said. “We needed to be detail-oriented, and because it was the first time we had done this, it took more time [than we expected].”

The poster took the form of a timeline that spanned from September 2010, when the Institute for Safe Medication Practice (ISMP) conducted a national survey of practitioners to assess the threat drug shortages pose to patient safety, to June 2012, when Congress reauthorized the Prescription Drug User Fee Act.

Highlights included the 2010 Drug Shortages Summit co-convened by ASHP and other stakeholders, several bills proposed to address the issue, and President Barack Obama’s 2011 Executive Order directing the Food and Drug Administration and Department of Justice to take action to reduce and prevent drug shortages. In her role as mentor, Burnworth shared resources and examples of posters for the students to use as a guide, and she discussed the nitty-gritty of poster production—how to find a printer, what the costs would be, and how to schedule poster reproductions.

She also gave the students pointers on submitting their work for presentation at meetings and conferences. All told, the process took two months from first meeting to printed poster. A mock poster session with fellow students and faculty gave Thompson and Wilson the chance to perfect their presentation and prepare them for their discussions with health providers and legislators.

The two then presented the poster four times in 2012: at the university’s Research Day, the Arizona Pharmacy Association’s Health-System Academy and Annual meetings, and ASHP’s Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas.

“Our mission was to make pharmacists aware that there was already a drumbeat for reform, and encourage them to contact their legislators and advocate support for the specific legislative items that had already been proposed,” said Thompson. “I found that people seemed much more inclined to take action once they realized that a proposed solution was already in place, and most of the people we spoke with indicated that they were strongly considering taking the time to contact their legislators.”

Poster Sparks New Interest in Advocacy

One goal of the project was to educate Thompson and Wilson about political advocacy. The students followed four key steps wherein they identified the salient issue; identified local, state, and national legislators; communicated with their legislators via telephone, email, or in person; and tracked the status of their efforts by following relevant legislation through government websites. It’s a formula the students plan to use going forward.

“Finding an opportunity to get involved during our first year of school was especially rewarding as it enabled us to share our experiences with our classmates, and take on roles as leaders and educators when other students wanted advice for similar projects,” said Thompson, who indicated that he continue advocating for ways to address drug shortages and is considering branching out into other issues. Wilson intends to advocate for provider status for pharmacists and advancing the profession as a whole.

The content of the poster and the steps the students took fit well with ASHP’s grassroots advocacy, said Joseph M. Hill, ASHP’s Director of Federal Legislative Affairs.

“The timeline presents the continuum of policymaking at the federal level. It shows the slow, multiyear process. It’s almost a case study of how an issue moves through Congress,” he said.  “Overall, the students’ process could be used as a guide to work on other issues, not just in meeting with members of Congress, but other stakeholders with an interest in an issue.”

—By Terri D’Arrigo


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