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Elevate: Sky’s the Limit
by Travis Hunerdosse, PharmD, MBA President, ICHP
Friends and colleagues, I am humbled and honored to be serving you as the president of the Illinois Council of Health Systems Pharmacists. As I look out across the membership gathered here today, I see many faces that have helped shaped my professional journey.
I would like to recognize and thank my friends and colleagues from Northwestern Medicine, Rush University Medical Center, past and present ICHP Board Members and the Division of Educational Affairs. Without you and your continued support, I would not be standing here today. I would also like to recognize a special guest here today, Dr. Gary Noskin, a physician mentor who during my residency and time as a new practitioner taught me the value of developing physician relationships in order to provide excellent patient care. I would like to extend a special thank you to the great pharmacy leaders I have had the honor to work with. Kevin Colgan for providing endless opportunities for learning and leadership guidance and ICHP’s Pharmacist of the year, Desi Kotis, who has served as my mentor and sponsor throughout my career.
Finally, I want to recognize, Mike Fotis, who introduced me to ICHP. When I was a new member of ICHP, Mike encouraged me to volunteer for the Annual Meeting Planning Committee. It was though that experience, that I got hooked on ICHP. By volunteering to serve on the planning committee, I understood the value that ICHP brings to its members and the profession. I also learned the importance of stepping up and getting involved in order to build relationships, strengthen our organization and advance our profession.
The only way we can advance ourselves, teams, and profession is to work outside of our comfort zones. For the 2017 baseball season, Chicago Cubs Manager Joe Maddon introduced new slogans to motivate his team. The one that stood out for me was “uncomfortable”. He told his championship team to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Stepping outside of your comfort zone allows you to grow and avoid becoming stagnant, complacent or set in your ways. As I have reflected on my professional journey, I realized that while it is hard work and sometimes scary, you learn a great deal by being uncomfortable. I have stepped up and volunteered to take on projects that required me to acquire new knowledge and skills, such as implementation of new technologies, management of critical drug shortages and development of a health system specialty pharmacy. All of these new experiences provided me with opportunities to learn and grow.
All of us in this room, technicians, students, residents and pharmacists, are striving to take the best care of our patients. We do this by ensuring that we are educated on new therapies, technologies, and practices. We work on teams that are responsible for implementing new ideas, training new colleagues, and developing future clinicians and leaders. We are members of a profession, and as such, are responsible for shaping its future and providing guidance and leadership. My challenge to you is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. The only way we can elevate pharmacy practice is to work outside of our comfort zone.
This brings me to the theme of my presidential year, Elevate. Elevate yourself, your team, and your profession. In her Harvey A.K. Whitney Address, Sara White highlights the importance of leadership at all levels. She describes how whether you are a big L or little L leader; leadership is a passion for improving pharmacy services, mentoring new practitioners and trainees, and to giving back to the profession. All of you in this room have the ability to lead and elevate.
Elevate Yourself – Continual professional development is key to stay at the top of your game. This holds true for both technicians and pharmacists. Now more than ever, technicians are heavily relied upon to perform higher-level tasks that push them to practice at the top of their license. Technicians elevating themselves through training and certification allow pharmacists to practice at the top of their license in order to have a larger impact on patient care. Pharmacists must be ready to practice at the top of their clinical ability. Board certification provides an avenue for continual professional development and demonstrates that pharmacists are equipped with the knowledge to deliver quality patient care services. All of you, technicians and pharmacists, have demonstrated a commitment to elevate yourself by attending the educational programming offered at this Annual Meeting and will be able to take new knowledge and tools back to your practices.
Elevate Your Team – Whether you are a big L leader or a little L leader, you have the opportunity to elevate your team. Everyone must recognize the importance of succession planning through mentorship and sponsorship. It is critical that those in formal leadership positions identify those future leaders on your teams and provide development opportunities. Those of you on the front line, technicians and pharmacists, have the responsibility to mentor and develop trainees and young practitioners. These students, residents, and new practitioners must be prepared to take on your role as the senior technician or expert clinician in order to continue to provide excellent patient care.
Elevate Your Profession – We all must come together in order to elevate the profession of pharmacy. Member engagement and volunteerism is critical for ICHP to carry out its mission, Advancing Excellence in Pharmacy. Serving on a division or volunteering for a project is an opportunity for you to elevate the profession. This profession and its future is shaped by those who step up and volunteer to advance excellence in pharmacy practice.
In the coming year I would like to focus on three key areas, technician engagement, training and credentialing; succession planning; and provider status. ICHP has a long history of leading the way for technician training and certification. As an organization, we need to continue to elevate technician practice in our state and serve as a role model for the profession. Trained, competent, and credentialed pharmacy technicians free up pharmacists time in order to provide higher-level patient care services proven to decrease medication errors.
Succession planning is important for our health systems and it is equally as important for ICHP. Succession planning for ICHP executive leadership and board positions needs to be a top priority. Organizational leadership development is needed in order for ICHP to be successful and to continue to grow and enable all of us to advance pharmacy practice in our state.
Everyone in this room understands and can quantify the value pharmacists bring to the care teams as the medication experts. Our profession needs to ensure every patient has access to the excellent patient care that our technician and pharmacist teams provide. Achieving provider status in our state will ensure pharmacists gain legislative recognition as a health care provider.
My challenge to you is this, get comfortable with being uncomfortable, step up and volunteer. Take action to elevate yourself, your team and your profession. The sky’s the limit and it starts with you.