my soft spot for pharmacists

I have a soft spot for pharmacists.  There, I said it.  They are one of only a handful of health professions who actively recognize the value of the patient voice.  They have not forgotten that patients are the people that they are working to serve.  Pharmacists organize conferences and invite patients to share their experiences.  That’s pretty profound, and I think they are true visionaries.  (Talking amongst yourselves all the time doesn’t make for a revolution in the health system, folks).

I just had the great honour of co-presenting with Allison Wells, who is a fabulous mom and pharmacist at the Canadian Society of Hospital Pharmacists in Banff.  Allison did an exemplary job of sharing the story of her son’s adverse drug reaction in a hospital setting.  She eloquently gave pointers to the pharmacist audience, and stressed that they had to use their own voices to  speak up to ‘stop the line’ when errors are made.  I was so impressed with her passion to share her son’s experience in order to make change in the health world.

Dr. Peter Zed before her gave some pretty terrifying statistics about patients presenting to hospital with adverse drug reactions, experiencing adverse drug reactions while in the hospital, and also after discharge.  It made me want to stay as far away from the hospital as possible.  But it was also heartening to know that pharmacists are looking at the issue of errors with great seriousness and transparency, and that they make a huge difference in making sure that the hospital makes people better, not sicker.

My take-away from Dr. Zed’s talk was this – he showed research from Hong Kong that said that patients adhere to treatment plans better if they receive follow up care from pharmacists.  And I might be stretching this a bit, but what I heard is this: patients will care for themselves if they themselves feel cared for.

And as far as my presentation, which followed Allison’s?  My talk was about this:

IMG_6486I know in my heart that pharmacists get this.  The standing ovation Allison and I received afterwards was proof.  (My first one ever, wow).

This was an awesome, engaged audience of health professionals, with big brains and even bigger hearts.  Bravo to my noble pharmacist friends – carry on doing the good work that you do.

4 thoughts on “my soft spot for pharmacists

  1. championsforwellness says:

    We had a new pharmacy open just one block from our home about 2 years ago. I can’t even begin to describe what a difference the pharmacists (both of them!) have made for our family. When we are confused or concerned about a certain medication, they are able to provide us with great information and support. When we walk into the store, we are greeted by name and asked how things are going for our family. It’s the little things like relationship development that make a huge impact.

    We previously accessed the pharmacy of a big box store, where no one knew anything about us or why our child would be on certain medications. It limited my desire to ask questions when I felt it necessary and I felt more removed from my son’s care.

    thanks for this post. Really enjoyed it and how it made me reflect on why we feel so much better with the new pharmacy.

  2. Allison says:

    Sue I was just looking for something online and this came up in my search, It was an incredible honour to share the stage with you as we both shared our stories to try to make healthcare a little safer and a little kinder to patients and families. You are an amazing advocate!

  3. sue robins says:

    Allison! How great to hear from you. I so enjoyed our time in Banff, sharing the stage together. I heard you have had more speaking engagements. Telling our stories is how we are going to change the world! You go!

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