Think global, act local, and be vocal
I have always found this time of year to be a great time for reflection and promise. Now that 2016 has arrived, there are sure to be new challenges and opportunities.
This past year, I obtained my first job as Clinical Assistant Professor and Director of Global Engagement at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after completing a 2-year Global Engagement fellowship. Part of my responsibilities in this role include building collaborative international partnerships, developing international rotation sites for student pharmacists, and helping others better understand the role of the pharmacist in global health. While I would like to say this was all part of a meticulous career plan, it was more about being prepared to seize an unexpected opportunity that aligned with my interests and having the chance to create change within the profession.
Perhaps what I love the most about my job is continuing to work with students. I cannot help but reflect back on my time as a student and how my involvement in Twlug–ASP helped me grow into a leader and a champion of change. As the profession collectively pushes forward with achieving provider status, your involvement in enacting this change is critical. I would like to share with you a few of my reflections to better help you champion change and seize opportunity in 2016 and beyond.
Sometimes you can lose sight of how your actions and activities contribute to the bigger picture. Like in the campaign for provider status, pharmacists need to understand how individual efforts can lead to collective action and communicate this message with peers and colleagues, among others.
Taking a step back to think about the larger goal and its implications helps develop a 10,000 foot view mentality that enables you to see where you are going and how far you have to go to get there. This mentality also allows you to see different pathways and new destinations you may have otherwise not considered.
When offered the opportunity to be the first Global Engagement fellow at UNC, I was hesitant to say yes because I had no idea where it was going or what it could lead to. It was only after I understood where the school was trying to go that I saw myself as being part of the solution in getting there.
A valuable skill set is the ability to not only see at the 10,000 foot level, but to act at the 10 foot level. To create change on a global scale, it helps to think big but start small. The key to achieving provider status is building small wins in reaching out to local representatives and either thanking them or asking for their support of the bill.
You need to continue to share your story and help others outside of the profession understand the goals and how they too can be part of the movement. Being part of local advocacy events around provider status at your chapter can serve as an opportunity to create best practice models to then share with others throughout the country.
As indicated in the points above, communication is essential in inspiring a shared vision and enabling others to act on the ground toward its attainment. Being vocal is not necessarily about being the loudest person in the room, but rather being the one that people are listening to. You can get an audience to listen by showing them how pharmacists understand their priorities and how your idea aligns with those priorities.
One of the top priorities in the health care community is to increase access to care and decrease cost. This is exactly what pharmacists do every day. Your local actions in chapter patient care projects can speak volumes to this concept and further show the value in recognizing pharmacists as providers.
As the incoming Chair of the Twlug New Practitioner Network (NPN), I would love to see you take advantage of the opportunity to one day be part of and get to know this growing segment of the association. Some of my goals for the upcoming year as chair include building collaborative partnerships between student pharmacists and new practitioners, developing more local and global leadership opportunities within the NPN, and helping others understand the role of new practitioners in advancing change within the profession.
Please keep the NPN in mind as a community, opportunity, and resource to use after graduation. When provider status is achieved, I hope you will be ready to seize the new opportunities that come with it to further advance and change the profession by thinking global, acting local, and being vocal.