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Week 3 by Robin Parker

Reflective Essay: Week 3

January 28-31

What a whirlwind week! Yes, I said that last week as well – the past two weeks have been a flurry of ever-changing tasks with multiple objectives, requirements, and deadlines. While on this rotation, most APPE students focus their attention on a large project of their choosing. Rather than work on one task, I have spent my time here at AACP working on various small projects with different staff members. My assignment for this week was given to me by Dr. Lynette Bradley-Baker, the Director of Professional Alliance Development. She has been serving on a committee comprised of professionals from associations like AACP and some from academic institutions. For the particular report that I read, the focus of the group was to “(1) Identify successful practices in the development and maintenance of effective relationships between state pharmacy organizations and schools/colleges of pharmacy and (2) Recommend strategies related to state and local policy developments to optimally position pharmacists in health reform initiatives”. In this charge, the committee sent out a request to each school of pharmacy asking for information on how their programs collaborate with their respective boards of pharmacy and state associations. This gave various colleges of pharmacy with an established connection to these groups an opportunity to highlight their relationships.
While reading through the committee report, I began to realize just how beneficial these relationships are to one another, and the fact that these connections are not more standardized is puzzling to me. Each individual party promotes pharmacy and advances the profession with their own standpoint and methodology to ultimately improve patient care, however separated they may be. There are isolated meetings between the parties, but few have meaningful interactions. The committee states the particular ways that each group contributes to the realm of pharmacy practice, saying, “We cannot forget how interconnected we are be it educating future pharmacists and providing the scholarship/research to improve practice (schools/colleges of pharmacy), advancing and protecting public health (state boards of pharmacy) and advocating and leading the advancement of professional practice and the role that pharmacists play in patient care in all settings (state pharmacy associations)”. As a student, it is overwhelming to think that all along we have had this camaraderie available; we just have not tapped into all our resources. The ability to work in unison has always been present, but who should make the first move? Although each group is responsible for establishing and maintaining these relationships, it must take a true visionary to get the ball rolling -- someone who can see the “bigger picture” of the pharmacy profession, then act to build this alliance. I believe the start for these foundations is having a person who is represented in two of the mentioned groups, and is looking to increase involvement, such as a current faculty member who has a leadership role in a state association.
Some of the submitted reports from the various colleges of pharmacy shed light on how they work with their state board and state associations. Activities ranged from changing state pharmacy practice regulations to new course requirements in pharmacy education. It was eye-opening to see that these exchanges were a great way to keep everyone informed and the communication between parties “keeps everyone on the same page”. Although it may seem daunting at first glance, there are endless possibilities with respect to working together for the advancement of pharmacy practice and patient care. I am fortunate enough to come from a state that has established these practices and I hope that I will be part of such collaborations one day. Having had some exposure to some current and successful integrated practices will serve me well if I am to be a key player in the advancement of pharmacy practice. After seeing that not all states have these established tri-party collaborations, I will not take such meaningful interactions so lightly.

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