One of the most interesting aspects of my current job is the facilitation of patient safety rounds across a large health system. Regardless of the location of the rounds – pharmacy, ICU, outpatient clinics, even security – I always encourage the staff to speak up about their challenges and ideas for improvement. Although sometimes it’s easier to stay quiet, if we take that approach, change will never happen. Sometimes taking care of our patients means becoming an advocate – not only for them, but for our profession.
The word “advocacy” can be disconcerting, especially in today’s hyper-political environment. But advocacy, in its truest sense, is not about a political sentiment – it’s about actively supporting a cause, principle or policy. This concept of active support is something each one of us pledged to pursue when we took our pledge of professionalism/oath of a pharmacist. Generally, pharmacists agree to improve patient care by embracing and advocating for change.
September is the time when ASHP members can practice their skills as an advocate because that is when ASHP councils come together for ASHP Policy Week. Many of you have been actively involved with ASHP Policy Week in the past; however, this will be my first time and I am excited to participate! For those not familiar with ASHP Policy Week - it serves as the kickoff to the ASHP policymaking process and the foundation of ASHP's advocacy efforts. The nearly 100 ASHP members who serve on five policy councils and the Commission on Affiliate Relations spend time deliberating the profession’s most pressing issues. The result is the formation of recommendations and policies that are a key part of ASHP’s advocacy efforts, and form the basis of our outreach to decision-makers like Congress, quality organizations, and other stakeholders. After ASHP Policy Week, the ASHP Board of Directors meets to review outcomes that are then approved by the House of Delegates during its session at the ASHP Summer Meetings & Exhibition every June.
So how can you become involved and advocate for your profession? Starting in September, you can recommend that you or a colleague be considered for appointed to ASHP Committees for the 2021-2022 term. Additionally, you take action on your own by contacting the legislative representatives in your state. Be succinct, prepared, and ready to discuss with them the current issues affecting the pharmacy profession and our patients. Their job is to listen to an informed citizenry. Part of our job is to be that citizenry.
At this time, I also want to congratulate our newest elected members of the SICP Executive Committee. I am pleased to welcome Delia Charest Carias as our new SICP Chair-Elect and Lucas T Schulz as our new Director-At-Large-Elect. I look for forward to working with them, and with you, as we advocate change in our profession that improves patient care!
GregORY Burger, PharmD, CPPS, FASHP
Chair, Section of Inpatient Care Practitioners