A pretty heavy topic for my final chair message! But it’s been on my mind a lot this week, as I just learned I will be receiving the Kansas Council of Health System Pharmacy’s 2021 Legacy Award. I share this with you not to brag – I am stunned, and humbled – but to invite you to join my introspection. What does it mean to leave a legacy? Does it signify great accomplishments, or just the fact we’re getting old (and for some of us, bald)?
Reflecting on legacy made me think of my dad, a Kansas farmer and extraordinary man. Kenneth Burger grew up in rural Kansas during the Great Depression and left school in eighth grade to begin farming – a calling he followed for more than 70 years. One late summer day about five years ago, I took my dad on a drive through the fields of our family farm. We stopped on a hill and looked down at the field of bright green corn plants, standing peaceful and tall in the blazing sun. Knowing how tough farming is, I asked Dad why he chose to do it, year after year. His answer was simple, but powerful.
“I like to watch things grow.”
Unfortunately, Dad passed away three years ago, so he will not get to see me accept the Legacy award. But his late summer wisdom helps me understand legacy in ways that scholarly literature never will.
To me, legacy is not about us and the accomplishment we acquire. It’s about the seeds we plant along the way, as we become mentors, teachers, trainers, and leaders. With every action, every decision, every interaction – we are unconsciously planting our vision of how our profession of healing should grow. It’s easy to get caught up in the mechanics of a profession: boosting the CV, climbing the corporate ladder, working at the prestigious institution. While those can be important for advancement of our personal careers, let’s not forget the advancement of the pharmacy profession as a whole. That can be accomplished in ways great and small. You can change the mindset – or the life – of a fellow healthcare worker or patient by planting and nurturing the seeds of positivity, pride in one’s work, and the innate belief that patients are the reason we do what we do.
Pharmacy, like farming, is not just a job. It’s a calling.
And a calling often means you do extra work, hard work, behind the scenes. So, I want to publicly acknowledge those in our SICP Advisory Groups and Educational Steering Committee who committed their time, energy, ideas, and efforts to help advance our profession. Please join me in thanking them for their work. Below are just a few highlighted projects and activities developed in 2020-2021:
Medication Safety Advisory Group
- Just Culture Toolkit
- Smart Pump Governance Structure Document
- Medication Safety Podcast Series on ISMP Targeted
- Medication Safety Best Practices for Hospitals
Small and Rural Hospital Advisory Group
- Antimicrobial Stewardship/Clinical Initiatives within Small and Rural Hospitals Work Group
- Promoting Longitudinal Care Models/Transitions of Care Work Group
- Providing Remote Pharmacy Services and Telehealth Work Group
Compounding Advisory Group
- Toolkit for Insourcing Environmental Monitoring
- FAQs on Extending Beyond Use Dating Document
- Non-Sterile Compounding Resource Center
Pharmacy Practice Experiences Advisory Group
- New Syllabus for Drug Information
- FAQ’s for Pharmacy Residents Precepting APPE Students
- Clinical IPPE Engagement Topic List and Operations IPPE Engagement Topics List
Education Steering Committee
- Mentoring/Leadership Journey’s Webinar
- Resilience as a Second Victim Podcast
- Mentor Toolkit
I want to also commend the work of ASHP councils and the House of Delegates. As the SICP delegate, I attended the virtual Regional Delegate Conference and had the opportunity to discuss proposed policies before the June House sessions. If you haven’t had a chance to review the proposed policies and recommended amendments, please visit ASHP House of Delegates Connect. Your feedback is valuable as we move closer to approving these important new policies.
I want to also mention the work and diligence of the ASHP Board of Directors in the recent virtual Strategic Planning Session. We reviewed the current strategic plan with a focus on enhancing our goals in areas such as diversity, equity and inclusion; telehealth; and pharmacy advances in pharmacogenomics, artificial intelligence, and informatics. The interim update of the ASHP Strategic Plan will be released late summer.
Lastly, I would like to thank the SICP Executive Committee. What a pleasure to work with such an engaged and dedicated group of pharmacists! Committee members include Immediate Past Chair Doug Meyer, incoming Chair Delia Carias, outgoing Director-at-Large Sarah Stevens, Director-at-Large Allison King, and incoming Director-at-Large Luke Schulz. I also would like to thank Leigh Briscoe-Dwyer, our ASHP Board Liaison, and Erika Thomas, our ASHP SICP Director, for their assistance and leadership. Despite the challenges of meeting and working in a 100% virtual environment, this team never missed a beat.
It probably seems like planting seeds in the dirt and discussing policies on Zoom are two activities with nothing in common. But each one brings the hope of not only bearing fruit this season, but for seasons and years to come. And the way we conduct these activities – honoring the places and people around us – is also an important part of “watching things grow” and creating legacies. For this, I am grateful to be able to serve ASHP as we continue to watch our profession grow, as we support each other in efforts to improve healing for our patients.
Thank you, Dad.
GregORY Burger, Pharm.D., CPPS, FASHP, EMT
Chair, Section of Inpatient Care Practitioners