Marla Ekola, Pharm.D., BCPS, MBA, McLaren Greater Lansing, Lansing
Champion comes from the Latin word campionem for "gladiator, fighter."1 Being a champion requires self-determination, reflection and courage. We stand before the crowd and pronounce our intent to be the best and advocate for our patients. We build alliances and collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure continuity of care. When faced with challenges, we coalesce and actively engage those who can influence change. From the day that we put on the white coat, we proclaim the importance of pharmacy to improve the care and outcomes of our patients.
Being a champion starts where everything starts… at home. Our pharmacy home is where we spend much of our time. Each day we must positively model the importance of active involvement as pharmacy professionals with our peers and fellow employees. Our actions, more than our words, will inspire others to strive to excel. We must take every opportunity to be a pharmacy champion for our coworkers daily.
Be a pharmacy champion in your hospital or organization. Open doors, break down silos and engage our partners in healthcare through open lines of communication. Let other leaders know how collaboration with pharmacy will improve care and identify efficiencies. As our patients navigate their own personal healthcare journey, they expect and deserve dedicated teams of professionals who understand the challenges along the way. The pharmacy champion ensures other members of the team understand the importance of medication management throughout the continuum of care. Only through alignment and understanding will we improve the patient experience and outcomes.
Health care today is fraught with many issues brought about by well-intentioned lawmakers. Too often, legislation is proposed without the insight or input of front-line practitioners. As frustrating as this can be, we can be a voice for pharmacy and can improve pharmacy practice. Pharmacy champions continue to provide policymakers with a greater understanding of how potential legislation impacts patient care and their constituents. Involvement in local pharmacy advocacy groups provides insight on upcoming legislative proposals. Engaging your state and congressional representatives on a regular basis through email, phone calls and even over a cup of coffee at a local shop builds relationships and trust. Your representatives want to understand how they can best design policy to provide for improved healthcare outcomes. You are the voice of the patient as it pertains to medication, from drug shortages to the cost of medications. There is no one better suited to educate and advocate.
The pharmacy champion must charge forward, well-armed with experience, knowledge and compassion to grow the profession. Each day, we have the opportunity to influence our co-workers and generate momentum through our own example and desire to be the best. In collaboration with nurses, physicians, administrators and others, we will find ways to deliver safer, quality, cost-efficient pharmaceutical care. We must understand the underlying dynamics that drive healthcare challenges in our neighborhoods, state and country. Engagement and advocacy to initiate change in policy is our duty. The determination and skill used to wield the power of the pharmacy champion will ensure our patients are free from harm.