AACP > Resources > Student Center > Current Student Pharmacists > APPE Blog > Posts > Week 4 - You Control Your Future by J. Michael Brown
Week 4 - You Control Your Future by J. Michael Brown
What do you believe?
November 11, 2013 - November 15, 2013
The Academic Leadership Fellows Program (ALFP) came into existence 10 years ago for the purpose of developing the most promising pharmacy faculty into the leaders of tomorrow’s academic pharmacy. Many distinguished pharmacy educators have ventured through the year long program including the current President of AACP, Peggy Piascik, Ph.D. The record of graduates speaks for itself. They have become some of the most transformational leaders in pushing academic pharmacy forward. Therefore, searching the Technology, Entertainment, Design (TED) talks for a speaker fits perfectly with the Fellows. TED speakers think outside of the box to improve society much as our brightest faculty members.
TED Conferences seek to challenge the minds of its attendees to approach old problems from new directions. While looking for ideas on speakers to participate in the Ten Year Anniversary Celebration of the ALFP, I came across a provocative speaker, Simon Sinek, who is the author of Start With Why. Sinek’s supposition is that we spend too much time on the what of the product, and not enough time on why we started down the path we are on. His most often used quote from the book is, “People don’t buy what you do…they buy why you do it.” People will buy a good product once, but people are loyal to why your business exists. If you need proof of that, Sinek says just look at all those Apple fans out there!
Most of the pharmacists I have met during my education are humble, hardworking individuals who seek to find new and innovative ways to serve their patients. However, all are not the best at marketing. While word of mouth is always important, it cannot lead pharmacy to where the profession needs to be in the next decade. Maybe we are not selling people on the why any more “making sense of complex medical issues”, but merely on the what: “15 Minute Prescriptions,” “Drive Through,” and “Discount Cards.” I will not let the “what” define who I am as a pharmacist in my career.
Some have gotten away from the “why” of pharmacy which is to be that primary care point for patients, but I do not believe this is the majority within the profession. There needs to be a shift in what the patient perceives the care can be from a pharmacist. It is our job as future pharmacists to make known to patients all the services we provide even when we are filling a script. However, it also means never allowing a patient to feel as though the pharmacy looks at them as a $10 copay. Ask yourself why you decided to go into pharmacy. I feel certain the answer is to help people not process the most scripts in your region.
You hold the key to how you will practice pharmacy upon graduation. In the words of my preceptor Dr. Adams, “Every day you get to decide the type of pharmacist you want to be.” There can be incredible pressure and stress from the volume of scripts, immunizations, or phone calls in the daily life of a pharmacist. Only you can decide “why” you went into this field. My professional why is, “I am blessed to work in a profession where every day I get to make a difference in someone’s life, change the world of pharmacy, and teach a future generation of pharmacists to do the same.” Notice there was nothing about preparing a prescription in 15 minutes in my statement! What is your why?
J. Michael Brown, Ph.D.
Pharm.D. Candidate
University of Charleston School of Pharmacy
Class of 2014


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