Show what you’ve got
A unified profession filled with pharmacists making the most of their skills would be a powerful force. Something even more powerful is consumer demand.
We need to let the public know that we can provide services that are useful and valuable — services that they need and want, and can't get from any other healthcare provider.
Just as the electronic gadgets that people did not previously know that they needed have now become indispensable, we need to become indispensible to the people we serve.
The unfortunate reality is that most people just want their pills and consider us their current means to that end. If we cannot effectively show them that we are capable of providing valuable services, sooner or later the antique laws will change and someone making a fraction of our income will be very happy to take the medicine out of the big bottle and put it into the small bottle.
The survival of our profession rests on our creation of an overall demand for our services, which begins with making people realize that they need more than their pills. The best way pharmacists can start to create such a demand is simply by doing the best they can do every day to be good pharmacists.
It’s up to us
Making the changes required to come together as a unified profession while practicing good pharmacy may seem challenging, especially if work settings preclude good pharmacy practice. However, if pharmacists were to remove themselves from such settings, it is likely that such actions would have a positive impact on the profession. If all or many would stand up, speak out, and/or get out, employers would have little choice but to change working conditions.
Ultimately, many pharmacists would have to make some temporary sacrifices to ensure a better future for the profession. For many, the worst-case scenario would be loss of a job that causes exhaustion, stress diseases, and desperation.
Are the two areas for opportunity I described realistic? That is up to us. Up to you!