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New Practitioners Network
Where Has the Time Gone? A Year in Reflection

by Bernice Man, PharmD, Practice Coordinator, Specialty Pharmacy, Northwestern Medical

As pharmacists, we are trained to look up information and concepts we are unfamiliar with by consulting guidelines or conducting literature searches. Even if we think we know something, we err on the side of caution and will access references if any internal seed of doubt exists with our knowledge base. I not only find myself doing this with pharmacy-related topics but with something as simple as clarifying the definition of a word. I completed this very task today when the word “reflection” came to mind. Merriam-Webster lists nine different definitions for “reflection,” which range from describing the word as it relates to physics to how it relates to one’s thought process. The most relevant definition of “reflection” for the purpose of this composition is “consideration of some subject matter, idea or purpose.”1 I think it is very important that we all reflect on our past experiences as the act of doing so can only serve to better how we handle ourselves in the future.

As some may know, a circuitous route led me to the pharmacy profession, which began with an economics degree, spanned the theatrical, graphic, and cinematic arts, and concluded with where I stand today. It feels like just yesterday that I was in a folding chair at the University of Chicago’s campus quadrangle listening to a classmate of mine humorously reflect on his college experience. It also feels like just yesterday that I sat in a different folding chair in my green and black graduation robe at Chicago State University College of Pharmacy. And most recently and just one year ago, it feels like just yesterday that I sat in the Quadrangle Club at the University of Chicago at my residency graduation. As the years have passed, “Where has the time gone?” has crossed my mind a multitude of times and it crosses my mind today as I ponder the past year I spent as the Chair of ICHP’s New Practitioners Network (NPN). 

When I ran for NPN Chair-Elect, one of my goals was to encourage new practitioner collaboration with organizations outside of the pharmacy profession. I was inspired to start this initiative because of the collective, interdisciplinary reflection my Schweitzer Fellowship cohort participated in during our monthly meeting discussions. I am proud to say that over the course of the past year, the NPN successfully collaborated with students for service projects from the Illinois College of Optometry, Rush Medical College, and the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. These projects included a presentation on medications that highlighted the importance of adherence and encouraged communication with pharmacists, a brown bag event, a teaching session on how to read and understand medication labels, as well as discussions on the profession of pharmacy. Target populations for these projects were housing insecure, low income, and homeless individuals in Uptown, Chinese-speaking older adults in Chinatown, and high school students with an interest in pursuing healthcare professions. Due to the success of this past year’s collaboration, a plan is in place to continue with 2018-2019 fellowship cohort. Thus far, we have received interest from pharmacy students at Midwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago. I am excited to be spearheading the continuation of this initiative with our NPN members over the course of the next year.

I am also happy to report that NPN e-board membership increased over the past year, particularly among Chicagoland area residents. We had multiple networking opportunities for our members, which included sessions at the ICHP Spring and Annual Meetings and an industry-sponsored social dinner at Sunda Restaurant. Our community service involvement included preparing brunch at the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago and participating in the American Heart Association Heart Walk. ICHP leadership recognizes the opportunity we have to engage and retain new practitioner members, and increased participation from our resident members has been a great place to start. The NPN e-board is open to new and innovative thoughts on future networking and community service opportunities as well as ideas on increasing engagement. I encourage our new practitioners to please reach out with their ideas.

In order to generate thoughtful conversation on issues that new practitioners face in addition to promoting leadership principles among our group, we had leadership article discussions during every conference call. We reflected on topics such as transitioning gracefully into a new job, sexual harassment, mentorship and sponsorship, the Oz Principle, tips on email efficiency, gaining buy-in on tough decisions, John Maxwell and the Five Levels of Leadership, and how millennials are changing health care. We promoted open and honest conversation and I look forward to more of these discussions and reflections in upcoming calls.

As I pass the leadership torch to Bryan McCarthy, I look forward to continuing to participate on the NPN’s e-board. I am so thankful for the opportunity to lead this past year and am excited to see how new leadership moves the group forward. I would like to thank everyone who participated in our e-board calls during my tenure as chair this past year. It could not have been successful without your continued engagement. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Bryan for his continued mentorship over the years as he has been a consistent sounding board and has always been open to reflective discussion since my first interaction with him as a fourth-year pharmacy student. I have no doubt that he will bring his innovative and entrepreneurial spirit to the NPN during his term as Chair. Please contact Bryan ( if you are interested in joining the NPN e-board as ICHP is always seeking new and varied perspectives from our new practitioner community.

In the iconic 1980’s movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”, the title character states, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Our new practitioner years will fly by before you know it and at some point, you may also be wondering “Where has the time gone?” With this in mind, I encourage all of our NPN members to take time to regularly reflect on where you have been, where you are, and where you want to be. ■
Pictured from left to right: David Gu, Tyrone Johnson,
Samah Qasmieh, PharmD, Bernice Man, PharmD

1. Reflection. Merriam-Webster website. 2018. Accessed September 13, 2018.

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