ASHP Event Brings Pharmacy Leaders Together
"Everything that I went to was really helpful and sort of inspiring," said Cyndy Walters, supervisor of ambulatory care pharmacy services at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center. "You came home kind of ready to hit it hard."
Walters paid special attention to workshops on employee recruitment and retention, and she learned that the little things employers do can make a difference in how workers feel about their job.
She said one of the conference speakers told the audience that pharmacy administrators at her hospital each year send their staff members a birthday card and meal voucher as a thank-you. "It's just kind of a nice touch, and so we thought we'd start that in January," Walters said. She noted that her pharmacy already gives "latte cards" as a gesture of appreciation for staff members in the coffee-oriented Seattle area.
The meeting also provided Walters an opportunity to network with other managers about the details of implementing a self-scheduling program for pharmacists, an idea that the department is interested in pursuing.
Jared S. Calish, Pharm.D., a pharmacy practice management resident at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, was one of 10 residents who signed up for the meeting. Calish said he had hoped to meet and network with a larger number of residents but still found the conference worthwhile.
"The speakers were great," Calish said, noting that he had attended the workshops on pharmacy technology and medication safety.
He said that a session on using personal digital assistants in the pharmacy left a strong impression on the audience: "We didn't know that there was all this software out there" for the devices.
Calish said he found it reassuring to discuss dosage-related issues in medication safety and technology with conference attendees from different practice sites. "Everyone is facing the same issues," he said, adding that "it was nice to get reinforcement or a different angle" on problematic dosage situations, such as doses ordered in ranges or as needed.
Like Calish, conference attendee Robert M. Fink., Pharm.D., M.B.A., FASHP, said he saw the conference as a way to put into perspective the factors that affect his health system.
"I was able to come away and [see that] we're in as good shape as anyone else," said Fink, who is the corporate director of pharmacy for Community Health Systems, a 70-hospital national network based in Brentwood, Tenn.
Fink said he was pleased to learn during a workshop on financial forecasting that his health system is doing as well at projecting costs as are most other hospitals, and better than some.
But Fink noted that his interactions with other attendees confirmed his suspicion that hospitals across the country face common challenges. "We're not making a lot of inroads as far as medication-error reduction, things like that," he said.
ASHP's Leadership Conference on Pharmacy Practice Management is held each year to provide a forum for pharmacy managers to network and learn practical strategies for dealing with workplace issues that affect the profession. This year, the conference was made possible through educational grants from Eli Lilly and Co. and Pharmacia Corp.