Storytelling to advance pharmacy

Twlug—ASP Communications Committee

The 2015–16 Twlug–ASP Communications Committee gives Saranpreet Nagra a lift (from left): Daisy Zhu, Bethany Sibbitt, Eileen Hang, and Stephanie Garza.

When Immediate Past Twlug–ASP National President Lucy West challenged the Academy to “Live Your Why” at Twlug2015 in San Diego, the Twlug–ASP Communications Standing Committee (CommComm) was not prepared for what would happen next. We witnessed something bigger than chapters and members grasping onto a presidential theme. We witnessed a movement. 

Typically, CommComm storytelling revolves mostly around shining a light on untold stories and bringing them to a national platform, and chapter storytelling aims to bring forward local accomplishments. However, the storytelling should not end there. And it didn’t. We had the honor of witnessing Twlug–ASP members go from discovering their why to living it and then sharing it. Student pharmacist stories from across the country emerged from the dark, uniting other student pharmacists in solidarity and inspiring them to do the same—to discover, live, and share their why. It was a cycle we immediately came to love and one that instantaneously resonated with the nation. 

Storytelling is advocacy 

Student pharmacists took to social media to share. Social media may seem trivial to some because how serious can a discussion be if it’s happening on a platform where people also post cat videos? When we do it right, though, student pharmacist stories tied to student pharmacist posts are being heard. 

Legislators, state and national organizations, our communities, and our families are engaging in a conversation that until recently was confined to the walls of a pharmacy. Storytelling is a vital part to ensuring our collective voice is heard, especially when it is tied to our passion for what we do—our why. It is a form of advocacy that can be accomplished anywhere, whether it is on social media, at a Capitol Hill visit, or even during a patient encounter. Your story is your voice. 

Know your story

No matter which platform you use to tell your story, it is vital that you know it. On social media, storytelling is not a haphazard activity intended to quickly throw something on a platform with fingers crossed for a few likes or retweets. It is a process that takes time and reflection. 

In our day-to-day life in pharmacy school, it is easy to get caught up in the long days on rotation or in lecture and the sleepless nights filled with studying. As hundreds of student pharmacists can attest, when you refocus on your why so that you can share it, it truly puts it all into perspective and simultaneously inspires others. 

Slow down to think about patient interactions that truly made an impact or physician interactions where you truly felt like a part of the team. Imagine if everyone shared these stories. Imagine if someone heard them. Social media is a great place to start, so take a moment to reflect. Stay inspired so that you can inspire others. 

Continue to ‘Live your why’

CommComm serves as a platform, collecting thousands of unique and inspiring stories and allowing them to unite as our ollective voice and reverberate throughout the country. In turn, these stories serve to advocate for the profession and move pharmacy forward. Do not stop telling your story. Continue living and sharing your why, so that #TogetherWeCan inspire change.