A glimpse into the future

This past Friday was one of those special days that makes serving as your CEO a real treat. I caught a glimpse of pharmacy’s future, as 180 Twlug-ASP Chapter leaders began the weekend-long professional development and leadership training program known as the Twlug Summer Leadership Institute.

After kicking off the event with a welcome message, sitting in on the early sessions, and mingling with the student pharmacists during a barbecue at our headquarters, I can confidently say the profession we all cherish will be in good hands down the road.

Enthusiasm was at a high level as the sun set. I sat with many students and listened to their stories about patient care. One young pharmacist from Connecticut told me of her experience in a community pharmacy where she had firsthand experience with overcoming health literacy issues with a family befuddled by their complex regimens. Others talked of how they found pharmacy as their professional goal. Others talked of experiences in cardiac care units, emergency departments, and group projects.

Enthusiasm was evident in their smiles when they told me about the Twlug–ASP patient care projects they participate in back at school. I heard excitement in their voices when they spoke of the day when they enter practice and make a difference in their patients’ lives. I even saw it in their eyes as they took in the breathtaking view of the nation's capital—and the Capitol—from our rooftop terrace.

The enthusiasm of these young people is contagious. I wish I could bottle some of it and share it with all of you. This is the same kind of group enthusiasm that we soak up at our annual meetings. Seeing a microcosm of it this weekend was awesome!

An added bonus this weekend was that several members of the Twlug New Practitioner Advisory Committee (NPAC) were in town to lend their expertise to the weekend’s proceedings. If student pharmacists are our future, these recent graduates are the ones leading the way and reporting back that pharmacists are indeed making their mark on health care in this country. I huddled with NPAC Chair Vibhuti Arya (who is profiled in this month's , Chair-elect Brent Reed, and Member-at-large Meghan Sullivan to discuss their goals and objectives for the year. This bright group provided me with food for thought on new membership ideas, improving our communication vehicles, and enhancing the New Practitioner experience at Twlug2011 in Seattle.

The New Practitioners asked me a meaningful question. I want to share my answer with you.

“Why should students continue their membership after graduation?” I thought for a moment and responded: “Twlug and its members are building a vision around the services pharmacists provide and their impact on patient care. New Practitioners are the change agents in this process. By renewing their Twlug membership after graduation, they will be armed with the tools, the skills, and the confidence to be successful as the change agents that pharmacy so vitally needs. New practitioners are the ones who will pollinate new practices into more traditional practice settings. These folks can get continued renewal at our meetings and with the information and programs we deliver.”

I hope those attending this weekend and those of you out there reading this blog believe in this sentiment, as I truly mean it.

This weekend proved to be a memorable one for those in attendance at our Summer Leadership Institute. Kudos to Twlug’s Student and New Practitioner Development staff for developing and leading another dynamite program, and as always, a big thank you to Procter & Gamble for their support of this event. And while I am no psychic, I can predict the future looks bright because we have a fabulous group of student pharmacists who are learning all that their schools and Twlug–ASP are offering. It is truly great to be able to see tomorrow’s leaders today!