By Megan Castelli, PharmD Candidate, Northeast Ohio Medical University 2024;
Dominic Tornichio, PharmD Candidate, Northeast Ohio Medical University 2025
The Practice Advancement and Innovation Committee is charged with advancing the pharmacy profession through patient-centered, pharmacist-driven innovation focused on medication management services and improved health outcomes. As current pharmacy students, this was our first exposure to a formal meeting within this professional organization. Topics ranged from provider status implementation to the impact of pharmacy practice from the COVID-19 pandemic. Within each agenda item, formal presentations and discussions were given and the goals, limitations, and concerns of all members were shared. These discussions emphasized the potential networking opportunity within these conversations.
During the committee meeting, pharmacists could bring issues within their respective practices and share their expertise and valuable resources. One of the major topics of discussion was provider status implementation and the potential of burnout among community pharmacists if this was incorporated into their already overwhelming workflow. It was great to experience a beneficial meeting, with relationship building and professional development. As many pharmacists develop specific skills for their practice site, they might find their information and knowledge becomes narrowed to their respective field. These meetings provide opportunities for discussions with various perspectives and presentations in a wide range of topics. As interns at an orthopedic center, our pharmacy is considered nontraditional. Our manager, Dustin Carneal, PharmD was able to present a best practice update during this meeting about what our pharmacy had found successful in reducing medication errors. Discussion followed on how this could be adapted to other practice settings in conjunction with the work OPA members have done previously.
These meetings provide a valuable opportunity to create and maintain connections with other pharmacists, stay up-to-date with changes to the field of pharmacy, and even play a role in advocating for those changes. We had the opportunity to meet David Boyer, R.Ph., 2009 OPA President, who described how previous innovations were navigated through his career and provided insights into potential next steps for current challenges. As a new pharmacy student, one of the most common pieces of advice is, “it’s all about who you know.” This simple statement emphasizes the importance of building professional relationships with your classmates, preceptors, advisors, and professors. Pharmacy is an interconnected profession that can provide even unanticipated connections from shared alma mater, previous employment, and student rotations. Becoming involved in OPA committee meetings provide another environment to network and build professional relationships with pharmacists from more non-traditional career paths.
Many pharmacists offered their support and resources by commenting, “If you need X, feel free to reach out to Y,” or “If you don’t know who to contact, feel free to call our office and we’ll connect you with someone.” Having this opportunity to connect with various practice settings gives everyone a chance to consider new solutions to problems. Improving patient health outcomes requires collaboration between practitioners of different backgrounds. Attending committee meetings allows us to discuss issues and identify how other practice settings struggle and solve those issues. It was valuable as a student pharmacist to witness and participate in this process to advance the field of pharmacy.
If you already serve on an OPA Committee, you can be an NPX committee liaison. This means you would attend the committee meeting and write a short recap/blurb about the meeting for the LaunchPad to inform new practitioners of meeting discussions and events. Being a committee liaison is a great way to start your involvement with NPX! Not on an OPA committee yet? It’s easy to join! Check out the Committee and Special Interest Group on the OPA website to learn more about OPA committees and join today!
Pictured in the upper right photo, from the left: Megan Castelli, PharmD Candidate, Northeast Ohio Medical University 2024 and Dominic Tornichio, PharmD Candidate, Northeast Ohio Medical University 2025. In the lower left photo, pictured from the left: Dustin Carneal, PharmD, Dominic Tornichio, PharmD Candidate, Northeast Ohio Medical University 2025, Megan Castelli, PharmD Candidate, Northeast Ohio Medical University 2024, and Dave Boyer, R.Ph.