There are some pharmacists who believe they sit high upon a throne, cloaked in prestige and authority. These are the ones who don’t experience the retail grind the same way we do. In fact, stress doesn’t ever show on their face, even when their pharmacy ship is sinking.

These pharmacists are the ones who never pick up the phone or ring up patients at the register. If one were to strip this pharmacist of their white coat, only dust would remain.

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That’s because they don’t care about anyone but themselves.

They’re too busy with doing one thing at at time. So it doesn’t matter if patients are belittling their pharmacy technician colleagues. It doesn’t even matter if technicians are belittling the patients. They couldn’t be bothered.

Pharmacists who don’t take a stand for people, no matter the reason, miss out on practicing the best part of our license. The part where we get to mediate, to bring about peace and reconciliation.

Pharmacists Make the Whole Healthcare System Work

All day, every day, corporate pharmacists get to be intermediaries between doctors and patients. Patients who do not proactively seek better health and well-being frustrate and disillusion the physician. The lack of attention and genuine care received at the doctor’s office discourages and scars the patient. Insurance companies and their prior authorization processes confuse and upset nurses and medical assistants. And as retail pharmacists, we bring peace and all these people together. Like a symphony conductor, we enable all the different parts of the healthcare system to work in concert. 

As intermediaries, we also have the privilege to positively intervene in our patients’ healthcare. This is called Drug Utilization Review and Medication Therapy Management. If it weren’t for us, patients would be pulled into unfavorable conditions set by faulty prescribing, PBM protocols, or plain human error. DUR and MTM are how we stand up for our patients’ health and well-being.

Each day, we exercise our license to do what patients, physicians, and the Board of Pharmacy expect us to do. But are we truly practicing pharmacy at the highest levels?

Underneath the White Coat

Wearing the white coat means more than just verifying prescriptions and putting pills in a bottle. It means more than immunizing, counseling, or transferring prescriptions. Part of our role as corporate pharmacists is to bring people together.

When a patient is screaming at our technician colleague, it’s up to the Corporate PharmD to take a stand, not a side. When a patient is bad-mouthing the doctor who made an error, it’s up to us to remind them that we are all humans under the white coat. Suppliers, front store personnel, delivery people, insurance representatives, physicians, nurses, technicians, patients, and other pharmacists all make up different stakeholders in this network of business we call the healthcare system.

In other words, we all share a stake, and it’s up to us to keep that peace and equilibrium for our patients’ sake. The only way to do this is to take a stand and care about one another unconditionally. And we can only do this if we look up from the screen, engage with our patients, inspire our technicians, and rally our healthcare counterparts.

Only then can we be more than dust under this white coat.

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Business Tips from The Corporate PharmD

  • Make time during the retail grind to save a technician, defend a doctor, or stand up for a fellow PharmD
  • Seek opportunities to advocate for all people (i.e. patients, doctors, technicians, other stakeholders)
  • Wear the white coat proudly and exercise your PharmD at the highest levels
  • Remind everyone that “teamwork makes the dream work.”

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