by Marianne F. Ivey, PharmD, MPH, FASHP, FFIP
Board of Pharmacy Specialties
Board of Directors, Chair-Elect
To celebrate World Pharmacists’ Day, my colleagues at the Board of Pharmacy Specialties have asked me to share some personal experiences in working with international pharmacists. It is my pleasure to tell you a little about pharmacists from four countries with whom I have worked and their aspirations, how they display leadership, and the outcomes that improve patient care. The goal of excellence in clinical pharmacy is undoubtedly shared worldwide.
I’ve visited Uruguay and spent time with colleagues whose strengths include working together through pharmacy organizations to improve their services. I participated in a small group meeting and a large conference in which these colleagues used their network to contact a representative from their World Health Organization region (PAHO) to ask the minister of health in their country to provide support to pharmacists for leadership in their local healthcare facilities. This savvy use of authoritative voices helped to share the leadership skills and practice operations that they had to improve services within their country and provide an example to other countries in South and Central America.
In visits to Japan, I realized the respect that health care providers in Japan have for advanced education. Many directors of pharmacy in hospitals across Japan have earned a PhD degree. This supports understanding, participation, and leadership in research. Pharmacists also utilize various technologies to their advantage and hospitals have sophisticated automation to extend their services to a large population of elderly patients. Many of the Japanese pharmacists I met held aspirations to gain greater management skills.
During survey research in Namibia, my study colleagues and I were impressed with the desire of pharmacists to have more direct care of their patients. These pharmacists work closely with the University of Namibia to collaborate on new education programs that focus on clinical pharmacy services. They also use their strengths to collaborate with colleagues across the country to work with their minister of health to increase resources. Resources for additional staff and technology are required in caring for large groups of inpatients and outpatients. Many Namibian pharmacists aspire for newly graduated pharmacist practitioners to apply direct patient care skills.
Finally, I admire the leadership of pharmacists in Pakistan, who have developed pharmacy operations to deliver contemporary and comprehensive pharmacy services. Again, education and leadership are important in this country’s success to improve services. A role model pharmacist in an academic medical center inspired many pharmacists at that site to duplicate the progressive services at other sites. As a result, Pakistan has some of the best of the best pharmacy services, which are being further spread through pharmacy residency programs. The aspiration is for these residencies to grow in number and further expand better care through the leadership and expert skills of pharmacists.
Cumulatively, my personal experiences with international pharmacy colleagues demonstrate our shared goals of optimizing patient care and advancing clinical pharmacy practice. Happy World Pharmacists’ Day – to all who are making progress towards these goals daily!