Sunday, August 29, 2010

Witnessing the Michigan Difference through Conversations

Posted by Shelley Ling at Sunday, August 29, 2010

At a conference table, four pairs of eyes focused on one person as he described to us his roles and responsibilities in the UMHS pharmacy administration. As I listened to him talk, many questions popped into my head. What is his background? Who or what inspired him towards this career path? Were there untold stories of struggles or fruitless efforts? What is his vision for pharmacy...

I just finished a month-long institutional hospital pharmacy rotation at none other than the University of Michigan. Each week, we were assigned mini-rotations from operations to decentralized pharmacy services, all of which helped us to gain a bigger picture of how the hospital pharmacy system works. One of my favorite is definitely the week when we got to meet and to converse with pharmacists in administration. Despite the differences in roles, I have found admirable qualities shared by all of them.
  1. Very few of them wanted to go into administration at first. This is not surprising since administration is a pretty nontraditional field in pharmacy. But ultimately, they have stayed in administration and love what they are doing, because they feel that it is the most effective way for them to impact patient care.
  2. They are extremely diligent. Many of them work as much as 70 to 80 hours a week to meet the demands of their responsibilities.
  3. Most of all, they are patient advocates. "How can we offer better care for our patients?" is a question they constantly ask themselves, because they want to offer the best care possible. For example, when Dr. Pam Walker saw a crucial role that can be played by pharmacists in the emergency room, she fought for that to happen despite initial setbacks. Sometimes, she would have to wait or to change her approach, but her vision kept her moving persistently forward. "Be aggressive, but not too aggressive. Not right now. Wait for the proper timing," was a piece of advice for her from her mentor.
Listening to their stories, their passion for pharmacy and for their patients is unmistakable and contagious. They are great role models for us because they not only embody so much knowledge and experience, but so much heart. And we wonder, what will our stories be? As long as we uphold the same attitude as they do and have a vision we are willing to strive for, we can only begin to imagine the possibilities... what a great way to start off P4 year!

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