Rx for demoralized pharmacists everywhere

August 10, 2014

Acrobats working 50 feet in the air without a net have the guts to jump. Think about it.

Jim "Goose" RawlingsWhen you think about it, most of the practice of pharmacy involves minimizing risk. We try to help people maintain or achieve better health through the management of appropriate drug therapy to reduce the risks of acute or chronic medical conditions. In an ideal situation, we explain the risks of therapy noncompliance to the patient, and the patient responds with the appropriate behavior. Or perhaps we select an alternative to current drug therapy to improve an outcome.

It doesn’t always work out that way, but most of the time, those are the things we’re shooting for to minimize patient risk.

I recently spent a long weekend in the capital of risk, Las Vegas. There are all kinds of risks there. Gambling, too much eating and drinking, limited sleep, hot sun, and other risky stuff I’m sure you’re familiar with. They all contribute to making Las Vegas an above-average place for risk. There is also above-average entertainment there, some of it very exciting, because it’s well … risky.

Don’t try this at home

Ever since we got home, I’ve been thinking about a show we saw at our hotel. It involved a well-known circus group and featured acrobatics based on the music of a very popular band from the ’60s. I’ll let you fill in those blanks.

The show was exciting - lots of leaps and jumps, and sometimes you would just gasp at the difficulty and danger of what they were doing. Most of the performance took place at least 50 feet above the floor, with no safety net.

I just wondered, which performer made the first jump? When this very difficult routine was first choreographed, who did it first?

I’m sure there were safety nets initially, but at some point there were not. Eventually the performers took that first big jump, without a net to catch them if they failed, and the results of failure could have ended their careers … or their lives.

 

But you could try this

That leads me to my question for all of you pharmacists out there. Who is going to take that first jump?

Who is going to make that call to a union representative because they have had enough of harassment and poor working conditions?

Who is going to hang out that shingle in California and just consult?

Which group will go to their state BOP meeting and complain about the way understaffing is contributing to a high number of misfills and errors?

And when the BOP does nothing, who will give HIPAA-friendly examples of shift-related errors to their local TV station?

Who is going to start taking on the risk and jumping?

Just do it

You might be looking at jumping as more risky than staying put. I can just hear you saying, “I have loans to pay/kids to raise/house payments/car payments/private school tuition.” Yadda, yadda, yadda.

Or how ’bout this: “I can’t afford to lose my job and I like my nice comfortable life, except for the pharmacy part. I do like the pharmacy paycheck, though.”

Here’s what comes to mind:

“I get up, and nothin’ gets me down. You got it tough, I’ve seen the toughest around. And I know, baby, just how you feel. You got to roll with the punches and get to what’s real.”

As usual, good rock and roll gets it just right. Thank you, Van Halen.

Just jump. Might as well jump for yourself, not for somebody else.

Go ahead and jump.

Just jump.

Jim "Goose" Rawlings is a senior pharmacist in central Indiana. E-mail him atredgoose54@gmail.com.