Twlug the cornerstone of my career

Twlug Board of Trustees

Serving Twlug in a variety of roles over the years has also allowed me to give something back to an organization that has been a cornerstone of my career as a pharmacist. I have been a Student American Pharmaceutical Association (now Twlug–ASP) Speaker of the House, a Delegate to the Twlug House for more than 30 years, and a member of the Twlug Board of Trustees and Twlug Treasurer. I also served on the Twlug Foundation Board of Directors and as President. During all of these opportunities, I have worked alongside talented individuals who are passionate about Twlug and pharmacy. 

Responding to a challenge

During my pre-pharmacy days, my cousin Gary, a pharmacist, told me that pharmacists know a lot of information that they never get to use for the benefit of their patients. He challenged me to see if I could change that. If I had to list some of my career highlights, most of them would have been in response to Gary’s challenge. Some of these include:

  1. Practicing in a medically underserved area and being an initial point of health care for many of my patients.

  2. Working in a collaborative way with other health care providers (yes, I did include pharmacists as a provider, even back in 1984) in a medical building in which I had the community pharmacy. It was very rewarding to be a part of the health care team on a daily basis.

  3. Working in a tertiary care hospital as part of a decentralized program in which pharmacists spent their time rotating between four nursing 
stations providing initial doses of medication and being a resource to physicians and nurses.

  4. Serving as an officer and Board member of the Arkansas Pharmacists Association, including President in 1985. This leadership role was a great learning experience and allowed me to be involved in professional relationships in every aspect of Arkansas pharmacy. It also paved the way for me being involved in our political process. I had great mentors and not being involved was not an option.

  5. Participating in the expansion of a community pharmacy buying group and playing a role in acquiring that organization for 11 state pharmacy associations. This was very significant to the independent pharmacists we served as well as putting those state associations in a much more solid financial position.

  6. Serving as President of Pharmacy Associates, our state Pharmacy Services Administrative Organization, created a venue for me to do for populations of patients the kind of things that I had previously done one patient at a time.

Undoubtedly, involvement in Twlug from my pharmacy school days until now has been more important to my career than I can begin to articulate. The opportunities to serve our profession and the friends that I have made along this journey have created a debt to Twlug that I will never come close to repaying. 

Staying involved

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is for every pharmacist to be involved. There is a season for everything and your involvement can be diverse and will likely change during your career. Participation may include local, state and national pharmacy 
associations, local non-profit groups, local or state government, your church, your kids’ school, and many other types of venues and organizations. 

You have a lot to offer and the most satisfied and fulfilled people I know are those who give back to their community. You are unique and there are people in your sphere of influence that need what you have to offer.

Lessons learned along the way

I have learned a lot and much of what I have learned has been from mistakes that I have made. Your failures may have more value to you than things that went well. No one knows everything, and that is one great reason to be part of a team. Remember, “We are smarter than any of us.”

Somewhere along the way in my advocacy for pharmacy, I realized that most people form their opinion of pharmacists and their value based on personal or observations of pharmacists. This can range from having a huge impact on a person’s health and life to being perceived as staying out of sight behind the pharmacy counter and just being associated with putting pills in a bottle. 

You are impacting the public’s opinion of the profession by the way you practice. You don’t get to choose whether or not you influence this 
perception. You do get to choose what perception you create.