First of all, thank you to those who have reached out to me via email or on this blog. It really means a lot to hear similar stories and know that I am not the only one in this phase of pharmacy life. I am not really sure where the next steps will lead me in the next few years, but I am toying with many ideas as I am sure many of you as well. The pharmacy market coupled with healthcare changes could make for an interesting set of circumstances to push me into something else entirely, or I could in fact embrace the path I'm on with unforced passion and find my place. I know that running up to the unit on a second shift the other day with a couple of drips to a very sick patient means more to me than sitting behind a screen, keyboard, and phone. I am a hands-on practitioner at heart, and perhaps pharmacy will evolve that way for many of us though I know many pharmacists are introverts and enjoy doing exactly what they are doing. I love people and the connection of feeling that I am helping a patient. It took all I had to leave the drips at bedside and sprint back to the pharmacy and not HELP at bedside. I am not trained for that, but there are programs out there. Nurse practitioner? Physician assistant? Or maybe helping to change the pharmacy practice to more of a hands-on provider?
From the APhA:
California’s pharmacist provider status bill passes state SenateWe applaud and share in California pharmacists’ efforts on behalf of patient access to their services as the California state Senate approved itspharmacist provider status bill (SB 493) late last week, a significant step in becoming law. The legislation is now with the California State Assembly for consideration. I appreciate the efforts by California Senator Hernandez, an optometrist, in sponsoring and shepherding the passage of SB 493 to help address California’s shortage of primary care services.
The legislation not only expands the scope of practice for pharmacy, but also specifically names pharmacists as providers. SB 493 recognizes pharmacists’ education, training, and abilities as health care providers by expanding the list of services pharmacists can provide in the state.
If signed into law, examples of new authorities for pharmacists in California would include ordering and interpreting tests to monitor and manage the efficacy and toxicity of drug therapies and initiating and administering routine vaccinations.
In a brief note posted on the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) website, CPhA described months of lobbying and member letter-writing. We join CPhA, the California Society of Health-System Pharmacists, and other groups in celebrating this important step forward, and thank those involved for all their hard work.
For more details on California’s provider status legislation, we’ve just posted a news article on pharmacist.com.
There is hope. Yes, we do a lot of that now, but being RECOGNIZED is important. California always leads the way. Problem is how long will it take to trickle over to the south? I'm ready.
I enjoy discussing the BCPS certification for many reasons. If you are reading my blog and wondering if you should take the BCPS, I can answer this for you: YES. Let me tell you why (from someone waiting on results and failed it last year):
- The amount of material studied is extensive. I cannot say that the time I spent (even this year) was enough. It is just so much material! I have not been very disciplined in the past 14 1/2 years of practice. I have not kept up. When I graduated, infliximab was a very new drug. I can tell you that I know more about that drug today than I did in 1999 studying for the boards. We are supposed to be drug experts. Anybody can pull up google and look up a drug with or without a pharmacy degree. We are supposed to understand more about how medications work, their side effects and how they affect people differently. We are supposed to know exactly WHERE to look in the fastest amount of time and have kept up enough (we owe our patients that) to be able to be a vital member of a healthcare team. I HAVE FAILED many patients prior to deciding to change how I practice. I cannot lean on computer programs and reminder pop-ups at the keyboard to remind me about QT interval prolongation. It is time that all pharmacists invest the same passion they had in pharmacy school to learn and continue well into their career. Otherwise, you are relying on technology and ANYONE can enter an order. I was tired of not understanding what I was doing. My job had to be MORE than just a job. (This was my rationale at least) If you spend a considerable amount of time on the material recommended to study, I can promise a whole new world of practice begins to open outside of what a corporate body or computer program will dictate.
- Guidelines and practices change all the time. Don't we owe our patients the same scrutiny to keeping up with the most current material? Isn't it better to know that segment of material between what is readily known and just published? It is not the nurse or physician's job to know pharmacy as well as the pharmacist. Not sure I can say a few years ago that was the case. Today? I am far more confident regardless of role or what others may say. I know the guidelines; I know what is coming. I am choosing to stay current. (And I still have hobbies!)
- Healthcare is evolving. Either keep up, become credentialed in whatever is the most current and respected licensure and watch as others are left behind. I am not saying BCPS is the end all of knowledge or role. I am saying that is definitely a step in the right direction to not only take better care of patients, but to also improve the worth of the entire department. When I hear other pharmacists not want to even try, I can understand the time issue. I understand the cost issue. But, what I have gained in the past 18 months is well worth every cent and time spent reading or listening to lectures. Who knows what the Affordable Healthcare Act is going to bring to all of us?
- I love a personal challenge, and I do not quit with a fail. Also, I do not care (as much as I used to) what others think. I have put myself out there, and I am well aware I could fail again and try for a third time. Would that make me less of a pharmacist? She took it three times! *gasp*
Those are my reasons. I would like to see all hospital pharmacists seriously attempt the test. Can you imagine the amount of knowledge that would improve patient care?
So, thanks for validating my journey. It means A LOT to me.
This is the outline from the BPS website describing the Pharmacotherapy Specialty Certification Examination.
And anyone who took it this year with me, much luck to you and hope the wait goes swiftly and a pass in the mail early December!