Complete Story

Are You a Professional?

Michele Johnson, OSU Pharm.D. Candidate and OPA Extern

During spring quarter 2004, I completed a 40-hour intermediate pharmacy practice experience at the Ohio Pharmacists Association. I explained to my preceptor Amy Bennett that I was familiar with OPA having attended several Annual Conferences, but had not realized the extent of OPA’s involvement in legislative issues, publications, and continuing education programs. I observed the staff time commitment in obtaining up-to-date pharmacy information. As pharmacists phoned the office with questions and concerns, OPA staff served as a valuable resource.

Throughout the two months I spent at OPA, I had the opportunity to attend an Ohio State Board of Pharmacy reciprocity hearing, meetings about Ohio Medicaid changes, an OPA Board Meeting, the Political Action Committee (PAC) Breakfast at the OPA Annual Conference, and the OSHP Annual Meeting. In addition, I was involved in writing and editing several continuing education programs, as well as planning activities for the OPA Annual Conference. These events provided networking opportunities where I interacted with many Ohio pharmacists who practice in different pharmacy areas, yet unanimously support Association membership.

Many active OPA members spoke about their pharmacy education, their employers, and why they chose the pharmacy profession. While it was interesting to hear so many different stories, I learned more from these pharmacists through their professionalism. They displayed the meaning of professionalism and how it applies to the pharmacist’s daily life.

OPA members have taught me that professionalism includes contributing to the profession by being involved in local and national organizations; acting as a role model or mentor for students, colleagues, and co-workers; understanding the importance of serving; and being an advocate for the profession in both spoken and written form. The definition of a job is a principal activity in life that a person does to earn money. OPA members demonstrate that work in the field of pharmacy is classified more as a profession.

As I reflect, I realize how professionalism has impacted my pharmacy experiences. A pharmacist practicing in my hometown of Youngstown is active in pharmacy organizations, an advocate for the profession, and a mentor. He helped me confirm my decision to pursue pharmacy as a career. As a pharmacist, I intend to display the enthusiasm and commitment to the profession that he does. Additionally, I understand that I have the opportunity to pursue a pharmacy career because, in the past, pharmacists have advocated for the profession through active Association membership.

Today, I ponder about why only one-third of Ohio pharmacists are OPA members. I think about the impact the Association would have if at least one-half of Ohio pharmacists were members. As I prepare for graduation, I have made the commitment to join OPA, to be active in associations and organizations through leadership, to encourage students and co-workers to become involved, to mentor students, to advocate for the profession, and to uphold professionalism.

Many Americans watch the Dr. Phil T.V. show and read Dr. Phil’s weight loss books. There is one statement Dr. Phil said which caught my attention. Dr. Phil explained that one year from now, your life will not be the same. It will either be better or worse. What are you going to do to make it better? Thinking about Dr. Phil’s statement, I ask you to think about it too. What are you going to do to make the pharmacy profession better?

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