Reality: Have it your way


If you don't like the "reality" you're looking at, you can change the person who's doing the looking.

Key Points

I read David Stanley's column in the January issue of Drug Topics ["You talkin' for me?"]. I was struck not so much by his remarks about professional organizations as by the comments of Mr. Stanley and others about "their reality" as it relates to the practice of community pharmacy. As I thought about this, I wondered about the concept of a "collective reality." Is there such a thing?

In my opinion, there is no collective reality. Our lives are unique and based on our own experiences, choices, and perceptions. As individuals, we are responsible for all that we create.

But the rest of the responsibility lies with each of us. When we graduate from pharmacy school, we all have choices to make. As pharmacists, we are blessed with many career options. Some of us see big dollar signs and head straight to the nearest pharmacy chain. Some of us choose to do residencies. Others go into the pharmaceutical industry. Each choice is a conscious decision. We are not forced to work anywhere. Equally conscious is the decision to stay in a situation that feels "de-professionalized" and makes us miserable. We make decisions and create results. It's that simple. And what we do with those results determines our satisfaction with our profession and our lives.

Our personal choices and those of our employers and governing bodies may add up to a stressful environment, no matter where we practice. It's what we do when we find ourselves in that stressful place that can make a difference.

There are more ways to reduce stress than I can possibly put in this column. But here are a few strategies that have worked for me.

And if all else fails, maybe it's time to let go and make a change. No amount of money is worth being miserable for the rest of your career. Even if you've practiced in the same setting for 20+ years, it is possible to do something new. "But what about my vacation time, my 401K, my retirement plan, etc?" you ask. I hear you, but again, it's all about choices. And fear. That's another column!

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Anna Garrett, PharmD, is president and founder of the National Association of Women in Health Care (, an organization dedicated to helping women in healthcare take better care of themselves. She is a pharmacy manager at Mission Hospital in Asheville, N.C. Contact her at

The opinions expressed by guest editorial writers are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Drug Topics' staff or the staff of Advanstar Communications.

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