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APhA CEO Blog

To the pharmacist in the arena

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August 07, 2017

Have you ever come home exhausted from work, on one hand pleased that you took care of so many patients that day, but also struggling with insufficient resources or lack of appreciation?

Who hasn’t?

So in 1987, I left the community pharmacy practice I loved to join APhA staff, determined to change how pharmacists are valued in health care. In taking that step, I was inspired by a Teddy Roosevelt quote a good friend shared with me:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I shared the quote with John Gans—with whom I was privileged to work on many levels—as he entered the arena to advocate for all pharmacists during his amazingly impactful 20 years as APhA’s CEO. In 2009, when John retired, he presented me with a framed copy of Roosevelt’s quote to inspire me as I took on my new role as his successor. Today, we’re in the arena on behalf of all pharmacists working toward broad recognition for your contributions.

Recently, an APhA intern was reading the quote now hanging in my office, and it hit me how much these words apply to the pharmacists “in the arena” of everyday practice, who “strive valiantly” to care for patients while facing demands to do more with less in a rapidly changing health care system.

I share Roosevelt’s words hoping they’ll inspire you too. We’re leading the charge to gain provider status for you. Our pitch on Capitol Hill would be meaningless without YOU, the pharmacists “in the arena” of today’s health care system. You inspire me every day!