Student Pharmacist

Written by student pharmacists for student pharmacists, Student Pharmacist magazine provides the latest on career preparation, leadership, legislative activities and advocacy efforts, patient care projects, APhA–ASP Chapter innovations, life on rotation, tips from new practitioners, and more.

We're counting on you
Kranthi Chinthamalla
/ Categories: Student Magazine

We're counting on you

Throughout his tenure as APhA CEO, Tom Menighan has made it a priority to listen to the needs student pharmacists and mentor APhA-ASP leadership. Here he is pictured with the 2019-20 APhA-ASP National Executive Committee at APhA headquarters.

According to research from Dell Technologies and the Institute for the Future, 85% of jobs the students of today will hold in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. Let that marinate for a few minutes.

We’re constantly grappling with disruption in health care, but we’re also becoming more highly evolved. We are in an age of significant advancement in medical science and complexity in therapies. Today we’ve got medicines to treat chronic diseases that used to be fatal. And digital therapies, artificial intelligence, pharmacogenomics, robotics, neural networks, and blockchain will change how we communicate and work with patients and other members of the health care team. And it’s all the result of bold innovators—the kind of innovator you can choose to become.

A concept that originated in the Harvard Business Review and is now the subject of a best-selling book, “Innovators DNA” names the five skills of effective innovators—associating, questioning, observing, networking, and experimenting. The students of today will need to be innovators as they visualize and create the jobs of the future. Interprofessional education, now an academic standard, will be transformative as our health care teammates and peers increasingly rely on the expertise only pharmacists can provide. How can we best meet that need? Is it technology, or is it a more personal touch? Is it extending pharmacists into the physician practices across the street? Is it getting more involved in decisions about coverage and spending and/or gaining the authority to practice at the top of your skill set? None, some, or all of them? Asking these questions, testing possible answers, measuring our impact—this is how we move forward.

Many of the student pharmacists who are active in APhA–ASP remain part of the APhA family for life. We even have many former APhA–ASP members on staff. Perhaps more importantly, by staying involved and connected, you can continue to shape our profession around safe medication use, optimal patient care, and expansion of our clinical services. Just in the last decade, we’ve developed the pharmacists’ patient care model; patient self-management credential; and a new team-based, patient-centered vision for pharmacy. The future is unknown but limitless.

Your APhA connections and engagement are crucial to your future success. Reflect on the five characteristics of innovators, and how many of them are embodied in showing up for a meeting among folks like—and not like—you in your practice. Lifelong members form relationships with people just like them, and also with people who aren’t like them. Familiarity with diverse perspectives enriches your understanding of your colleagues, your patients, and the world—personally and professionally—because great minds think differently. We’re going to need all those minds as we innovate to build tomorrow’s pharmacy profession.

Unfortunately, those who disconnect from the growth opportunities experience disruption in a negative way. They may even find themselves examining why they entered pharmacy. It doesn’t have to be that way. To me, the future of today’s students appears bright, if they continue to stay hungry for learning and advancement, professionally and personally, after graduation.

If you’ve kept up with APhA news, you know that our strategic priorities include provider status and pharmacist recognition, DIR reform and quality measures, pharmacist well-being and resilience, substance use disorder and pain management, and importation and other drug pricing issues. These are issues that are key to our future. Keep talking about them. Keep collaborating on them. Keep thinking about them.

It’s very likely one or more of you will come up with the solutions. We’re counting on you and APhA is here to help you along the way. 

This will be my last time addressing you in Student Pharmacist as CEO of APhA, as I will “graduate” to an encore career on June 30, 2020. Keep showing up, keep saying yes, and be fearless about rejection. Approach practice with gratitude and an attitude of service, and I’m confident you’ll have a career as fulfilling as mine has been. Thank you in advance for what you will contribute to patient care!

Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA, is the APhA Executive Vice President & CEO in Washington, DC.

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