The Rodney Dangerfields of healthcare


Really? Still? Why?

Michael J. SchuhSome pharmacists not only may lack respect for themselves, they don’t project to others the expectation that they deserve it.

It astounds me that:

  • After five or six years of clinical training 

  • With a background in advanced mathematics, chemistry, biology, physics, therapeutics, pharmacology, and pharmacokinetics 

  • With maybe more years of education and additional college degrees in other fields

  • And with maybe one to two years of residency - 

- Some pharmacists think that they need still more training.

Or think that they are not qualified to make simple clinical assessments. 

Or think they add nothing to healthcare of sufficient worth to justify charging for their clinical expertise, as any other healthcare professional does.

Or think that they do not provide even as much value as almost anyone else who provides professional services, such as the local barber, plumber, cosmetician, mechanic, or personal trainer.

Help me out here. Can anyone explain these things to me?

Why in the world?

With regard to clinical training, we have come so far.

We have convinced at least a good proportion of other healthcare professionals and the public that we contribute positively to patient health.

We are on the threshold of becoming legally recognized providers everywhere.

So why do we insist on denying that we know anything of real worth?

Why in the world would a profession not want to project the belief that its members are competent in the work they were trained to do?

If we do not respect ourselves or wish to earn respect, if we do not project confidence to those who would seek our expertise, should we expect the public or other healthcare professionals to see us as valuable to the healthcare system?


A matter of degree?

Do some of us feel less competent because we possess a BSPharm instead of a PharmD degree?

We shouldn’t.

Why not? Because whatever level of pharmacy education we possess, we are capable of rendering clinical services: We were trained to do so.

We have shown at least basic competency as licensed professionals. We are capable of differentiating a possible serious condition from an insignificant one. We are capable of determining whether a patient should see a physician or not.

We are not trained in diagnostics, but much of what we do is “res ipsa loquitur” with basic medical training.

A PharmD is a terminal healthcare professional clinical degree. It means you have achieved the highest degree in that field, the same as those professionals have done who have earned an MD in medicine, an EdD in education, a PhD is in research, an AudD in audiology, or a DBA in business. Why should we think any less of our training than others do who have achieved technical training at the highest level in their fields?

Rodney Dangerfield

Rodney Dangerfield became famous as a comedian because in his comedy routine he bewailed the fact that he got no respect. We all understand the concept.

Dangerfield employed that concept superbly. He got a laugh becauseweall understand it.

In real life, as well-educated and highly trained professionals, do we really want to be Rodney Dangerfields? 

Mike Schuh is a clinical MTM pharmacist in Jacksonville, Fla. Contact him at

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