By Shane Reeves, CEO of TwelveStone Health Partners
October is American Pharmacists Month, so it’s only appropriate that we honor the health care professionals who help us wade through adapting to new medications, recommended relief from seasonal allergies, and—if we didn’t get a flu shot—kindly point us to the medications that provide help during cold and flu season.
But American Pharmacists Month also brings back memories of my own family’s involvement in the pharmacy business. My father, Richard Reeves opened Reeves-Powell Saveway Drug Store in 1980. Dad still comes into the office and is a source of wisdom for the company. And even he is amazed by the rapid changes in the retail pharmacy industry and the benefits offered by packed (multi-dose) medications, and the methods of leveraging technology to maintain that relationship that people have historically had with their local, hometown pharmacists.
He isn’t surprised, however, that pharmacists continue to enjoy a solid reputation as experienced, professional caregivers. In a 2014 survey conducted by Claus Research Group, 83 percent of those surveyed view the pharmacist as someone who does more than fill prescriptions, and 81 percent see pharmacists as part of their health care team. With more than 10,000 medications on the market today, pharmacists are the constant, helping patients make sense of their prescriptions.
As October leans into November and the start of the holiday season, I’m also reminded of one of my favorite—but perhaps not well known – film characters: Mr. Gower, the pharmacist in the classic movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
In the pivotal scene, Gower, who’s just learned his son has died from influenza, is distraught and has taken to the bottle to console himself. But he’s about to make a fatal drug compounding error. When first confronted with the evidence by the movie’s hero, a young George Bailey, he gets angry and slaps the boy. Only when he realizes George has prevented him from making an irreversible mistake does he fall on his knees and express both regret and deep gratitude to the boy. Gower never forgets what an impact George had on his life, and goes on to return the favor several times over.
Gower and Bailey both send a powerful message about how one person can make all the difference in the world. This story also reminds us of the need to leverage technology for the greater good—to ensure compliant and safe medication therapy that heals and saves lives. That message of caring and concern is one that I think all pharmacists take to their jobs every day.
Beyond your parents, who has had the greatest impact on your life? Who have you influenced? We’d love to hear back from you.
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