Reflection #1: Hatu Nguyen, PharmD Candidate 2019
From Dr. Ronald P. Jordan, I learned the importance of taking an interest in policy and advocating for our career as pharmacists. The Patient Access to Pharmacy Care Coalition is an important organization that pushes for expanding the roles of pharmacists and helping them gain provider status, allowing us to bill for our services. California has just passed SB493, allowing pharmacists to prescribe travel medications, birth control, and smoking cessation drugs. However, the organization still needs help nationally to spread awareness about the role of the pharmacist, so that we can change the public perception that pharmacists merely count pills and dispense. I learned about some important avenues about how to take an active role in advocating for my position. Some of these ways include attending a board of pharmacy meeting, or visiting PharmacistProviderCare.com and write a letter to the senator. My “keeper” idea is to get involved in pharmacy legislation and get to know our local senators who can speak on our behalf. It is important to be active in legislation because our actions today influence our outlook tomorrow. I plan to partake in legislation by attending the legislative day seminars and by attending the upcoming conference in San Francisco.
Reflection #2: Shela Pournazari, PharmD Candidate 2019
In the presentation, Dean Ronald Jordan introduced himself as the former president of APhA and because of his former position Chapman University School of Pharmacy chose him to be their dean. From there, he delved into describing the importance of advocacy in the scope of pharmacy by mentioning that when he began pharmacy school, a facilitator mentioned to him as a pharmacist he had to “Get into politics or get out of pharmacy!” As of now, pharmacists have come a long way to gain provider status and it is astonishing that it has taken so long as we, as pharmacists, are the drug experts yet other healthcare professionals have little knowledge of drugs but are given prescriber authority. It has been a multi-decade goal for pharmacists to gain such status and $300 billion worth of medication related misadventures could potentially be prevented had pharmacists been involved in prescribing. In order to resolve the multi-billion dollars spent on medication errors, pharmacists must be involved on the healthcare professional team. Medications help with the management of symptoms however, if used improperly they are equivalent to any other poison that is lethal for the patient.
The bill SB493 was able to get passed because of pharmacists, Dean Robinson and various pharmacy school students who played an immense role in advocacy particularly WesternU students. Dean Ron mentioned that when there is an advocate for change, the field of pharmacy can progress immensely and as pharmacists this is essential because we must be able to free up regulations so that we can practice effectively. Due to SB493 pharmacists can now prescribe travel medications, prescribe smoking cessation and contraceptive medications. Getting involved in politics is essential and various coalitions exist which are collectively known as Patient Access to Pharmacist Care Coalition. My keeper from the seminar was when Dean Ron mentioned that as he began pharmacy school his facilitator said as a pharmacist you either “Get into politics or get out of pharmacy!” This idea stuck to me because it made me realize how much of a difference I can make on the individual scale if I were to go visit my Congress man, write a letter or go to Capitol Hill to have my voice heard. It is reassuring to know that in a democratic government we are able to have our voices heard and that changes can occur in the profession from our activism. Some of the practical applications that I made to my life are that if I were to visit these locations to have my voice heard I must dress professionally with my white coat, bring business cards and a camera.