Thank You Pharmacy Mentors

Over my nearly 4 decades of practice I have worked with some of the greatest pharmacists never known.  Each and every one has influenced my practice in ways I never expected.  I would like to take a few moments here to say thank you to them.


During the Spring of 1981 I was a senior in high school and spent my evenings and weekends working in the local grocery store.  One afternoon, while I was in the back of the store working in the stock room, one of my fellow employees led this gentleman to the back of the store who had been asking for me.  Ralph introduced himself as a pharmacist representative of the University that I had been accepted to and was here to just chat about pharmacy school and what to expect as a pre-pharmacy student.  Without Ralphs unconditional concern for my pharmacy education, I am not sure I would have followed through with my admission to pharmacy school.   Thank you Ralph.


James was the primary preceptor for my 9 months of clinical rotations during my final year of the Pharm.D. program.  James was instrumental in helping me understand that pharmacists are a key player on the patient care team in a hospital.  He helped me understand the importance of maintaining regular communication with the physicians and nurses that I work with.  James was also obsessed with being prepared.  He taught me the importance of taking extra time, away from work, to learn my subject matter and prepare myself so when asked, I would be prepared to answer.  Sharks are everywhere, always be prepared to swim with the sharks!  Thank you James.


After graduation, while I was studying to take the state board of pharmacy examination, I worked as an intern at a small town community pharmacy.  Bob is the pharmacist that owned the store, as well as another pharmacy, a grocery store, volunteered on the local fire department, coached high school sports and ran a ranch.  I had just come off a 9 month clinical clerkship and was focused on developing my clinical skills.  Bob made pharmacy clear and brought it home for me.  Clinical pharmacists do more than wear white lab coats and walk the halls of hospitals.  Clinical pharmacists participate in patients' lives, at the community level, on a day to day basis.  Thank you Bob.


My first full time job as a licensed pharmacist was in a chain setting.  This was before computers, but not before prescription insurance.  This means that each and every prescription needs to not only be typed correctly the first time (no back space key) but it also needs to be accompanied with a hand written, 3rd party universal claim form.  From the first day at work, Joe drilled into me the importance of taking the time to understand and communicate with insurance companies.  We want to fill out the claim form appropriately and submit it correctly so it is not denied and returned unpaid.  Thank you Joe.


I completed 6 months at the chain store and became restless.  I felt the need to move into the hospital setting.  After 18 months working in a mid-sized community hospital I found myself restless and searching for another job once again.  Sally was my director at this current hospital position.  Sally had the foresight and wisdom to tell me that in order to gain the trust of my peers, while also maintaining the integrity of my career, at some point I should consider settling down and sticking with one job for a few years.  Thank you Sally.


Amongst other things, Ron taught me how to run a hospital pharmacy.  Ron was efficient, meticulous, and straight forward.  His rule was that when something lands on his desk, it either gets acted upon, filed, or tossed in the garbage.  Rarely (hardly ever), would he place a document in a basket on his desk for future follow up.  He was regularly telling me that if it is important enough, they'll give you a call.  Ron had a plaque sitting on his desk that read, "Illegetimi non carborundum" (look it up).  Thank you Ron


As a community pharmacy owner, Tom had a very good understanding of how to run a successful business.  More than that, Tom's spirituality was manifested on a daily basis through his compassion and empathy with his patients.  Tom helped me realize how important it is to maintain my spiritual connection in order to help guide me through my pharmacy practice on a daily basis.  Thank you Tom.


Miriam was a director who I worked with for several years.  She helped me see that not all employees are alike and the same expectations cannot be applied to everyone.  Miriam would listen to her employees, understand their strengths, and then steer them toward their specialty.  As an employee of Miriam, she taught me that nothing good ever comes from gossiping about fellow employees.  Thank you Miriam.


I've been working with the same organization for nearly 18 years now.  During the beginning of my time here, I came into my shift one day and within a few minutes was in the middle of a complicated crisis that required extensive follow up.  Lance, a skilled seasoned pharmacist, was my partner in the pharmacy that day.  I asked a couple questions and Lance pointed me in the right direction.  I asked a couple more and he again directed me toward my answers while also reminding me that I just happened to be the one to step into this specific mess, it's mine.  This rule has stuck with me.  If I step in it, I am the one responsible and need to assure appropriate action and follow up are taken.  Thank you Lance.


In hospital pharmacy, a new project or implementation seems to come up every other week.  Carl showed me that in order to get things done, you just need to do them.  Many times it takes an extra effort, above and beyond, around the end, over the top, early in the morning and late in the evening to accomplish what needs to be done.  Carl taught me that with forthright effort, all is possible.  Thank you Carl.


Barry is the Pharmacist in Charge at a local hospitals outpatient pharmacy where I have practiced for many years.  Barry taught me many things about the operations of an independent pharmacy, but nothing more important than this simple fact.  If you continue to sell a product for less than you purchased it for, the store will eventually go out of business. Thank you Barry.

Our experience as pharmacists is made up of many interactions we have with our fellow practitioners over the years.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with all of the above individuals, as well as many more too numerous to mention here.