As we look ahead to the New Year, it is often helpful to reflect on the year we just completed. For me, part of the reflection was thinking about why I became a pharmacist so many years ago (so many, many years ago!). I remembered how I chose pharmacy as a career when I was a high school junior after spending five weeks in the hospital with osteomyelitis in my foot. I was fascinated by the every-four-hour nafcillin infusion that effectively cleared up my infection; I was equally drawn to the idea of a career in healthcare that would help others in need. I suspect most of my fellow ASHP colleagues also experienced this “calling.”
For so many reasons, the past year was tough for healthcare professionals, myself included. But a recent experience renewed in me that sense of why we do what we do. Last fall, in anticipation of the upcoming COVID-19 vaccine, I received the appropriate certification so I could help on the frontlines of this enormous undertaking. For the past several weeks, I’ve been part of a multidisciplinary team helping to administer the vaccine to our community’s healthcare workers. There is a distinct and powerful sense of relief and hope as each person receives their shot… some are even moved to tears. It is an honor for me to be part of this, as it reminds me why I chose healthcare as a profession. This new year, I encourage you to reflect on what you’re doing, what you’ve done, and how you’re directly contributing to the betterment of all our patients, coworkers, and community. Each one of us is “essential!”
I also spent time thinking back on the enormous success of last year’s Midyear Clinical Meeting and Exhibition. The “Unstoppable” theme was very fitting – more than 25,000 people attended! It’s hard to pinpoint the best part: interviews with actor Tom Hanks and Dr. Anthony Fauci, poster presentations, vendor booths, continuing education, Section roundtable discussions, and even great networking – all virtually! Although we all missed the in-person connections, we also realized the value in making such opportunities available to those unable to travel.
Prior to the Midyear meeting, the SICP Executive Committee met and discussed future directions of our Section. Our updated strategic plan will include the following: working on tools and resources for telehealth, remote learning, and the Pharmacy Practice Initiative 2030. I so appreciate the work of the leaders on the SICP Executive Committee and their forward thinking.
Lastly, I want to congratulate our SICP Distinguished Service Award Winner: Jacqueline Olin, Pharm.D., BCPS, CDE, FASHP, FCCP. This award recognizes a member from our Section whose volunteer activities have supported the mission of our Section and have helped advance the profession. If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Dr. Olin’s acceptance speech and other Section Award Winners, you can find them at this link: SICP Distinguished Award Winner. I promise you will be inspired – and hopefully, their words may inspire you to take the time to reflect back, look forward, and reaffirm to yourself why a career in pharmacy is more than just a job. It’s a calling.
GregORY Burger, Pharm.D., CPPS, FASHP, EMT
Chair, Section of Inpatient Care Practitioners