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Impact - ICHP Presidential Address
by Noelle Chapman, PharmD, BCPS, FASHP ICHP President
I am truly humbled to be able to share my thoughts with you today. No one accomplishes anything alone and looking out over the room, I see so many of you who have helped and guided and supported me in my career and as a person and I want you to know without you I would not have this opportunity. Thank you to the ICHP Board and staff— I’m honored to work alongside you all. To my Northwestern Pharmily—you motivate and inspire me daily to be my best. I’m so lucky to be a part of such an amazing team. Specifically, Desi, without whom I would not have understood the value of a professional network and Travis who truly has elevated my passion for this opportunity through his mentorship this past year. There are so many more of you that I can’t mention by name because Scott promised he would hook me off the stage if I took too long! But I can’t stand here without thanking my family: my parents and sisters who helped frame who I am (my sister in Florida actually helped edit this!); and my husband and kids (Chris, Aidan, Leila, Kaiser, Farrah) who are my reason. I do crazy things like this to hope to have an impact on the world to make it better for them to live in.
Most of you who know me or have interacted with me in any way know I’m a little bit cheesy (I am from Wisconsin). For example, I love ice breakers! I start a lot of meetings with ice breakers and one of my favorite questions to use is if you had a walk out song, what would it be? I have no idea why I would ever need a walk out song but it feels like something everyone should have ready in their back pocket. We all need a theme song to pump us up for the big moments, to tell people a little bit about ourselves without having to say anything at all. Who’s been to a Cubs game and hasn’t started singing “Warm it up Kris” when Kris Bryant is getting ready to bat?! My walk out song? Taylor Swift’s “…Ready for it”. If you don’t know it, shame on you but you can find it on Spotify or Apple Music after the program. I want to make a distinction that your walk out song is different than your favorite song. Your walk out song has a purpose: to pump you up, to inspire you, it makes you want to get up and do something—dance, hit a home run. I picked “…Ready for it” because it does that for me and it begs the most important question: are you ready for it? Not are you ready for me but are you ready for it? The moment you’re fighting for. We are all moving in various directions but for what and towards what? And are we ready for it when we get there? The opportunity to take the next step, face the challenge, achieve your dream, to make an IMPACT.
There are lots of things we could choose to IMPACT in pharmacy, but I’m going to focus on three issues today. First, let’s talk a bit about provider status. ICHP, as an organization, has been a great advocate for provider status in Illinois. This is exceptionally important for many reasons, but I’m going to say something potentially controversial. We shouldn’t be waiting for provider status. We need to be impacting care in the ways that we know are right and best now, so we are ready for it. Payor strategies are going to change, it’s not about the money. Yes, we should be paid for what we do, but provider status is about value. It’s about the IMPACT we have on patient care and safety and the health care team. We practice in a very progressive part of the country as far as pharmacy is concerned, yet we can accept that as fact, or we can seek to stay progressive and continue to improve our practices. Does every patient in your health system or practice area know their pharmacist? Are we impacting their world in the best way possible? Or are we just doing our job? Is our walk out song stuck in their head? Or are they just wanting to walk out?
When I first started dating my husband I was young and I wanted to define who I was and I told him he was a luxury, not a necessity. He looked at me and said, “you can call me what you want, but I know what I am.” It wasn’t too long after that that I started calling him my boyfriend and then fiancé and now husband. He got the status he was looking for. I tell this story because we know what we are and what we bring. We need to stay present and relevant in the fight for provider status but more importantly, we need to have a positive IMPACT on patient care outcomes so it can’t be denied that’s what we are. Are you ready for it?
Similarly, what about technician practice? There have been debates nationally for years about where technician practice fits in the scope of pharmacy practice, specifically in regard to professional organizations. Pharmacists and technicians work hand in hand, but organizationally, issues affecting technician practice are commented on, but have few actionable plans. Another reason I am so proud to be a part of ICHP is for as long as I can remember technicians have been a part of this organization. We were a founding member of PTCB. There’s been technician programming at this meeting for years. We live in a state that requires licensure and certification which is amazing and allows technicians to have more impact. But is it good enough? There’s a technician shortage, accredited training programs are hard to come by, and involvement, although growing, is a necessity to move the dial on any technician-related issues. EVERYONE on the team needs a walk out song as they are essential to making an IMPACT. We need to be creative in our approach to technician practice issues and think outside the box to promote engagement. We all bear the burden of pushing the technicians at the institutions we work at to understand the value of a collective technician voice in pharmacy issues. We need to IMPACT demand.
There was a study done many years ago on women in the workplace. Some company (I can’t recall which one) decided to embrace gender diversity before that was a thing and they placed one woman in each of their company offices across the country. Because there was only one woman the woman was on an island and often changed her approach to be consistent with her male colleagues. But when they put even two women in the same office, group diversity and productivity changed dramatically for the better because the women felt empowered to use their voice rather than alter it. Technicians, we need more of you at the table. Use your power to IMPACT the direction of pharmacy practice. Are you ready for it?
Lastly, I want to talk about the future. Having an IMPACT means leaving a lasting impression for the future, a continuing message or legacy. For the efforts we put forth to be truly meaningful, we need to emphasize their importance and incorporate the involvement of the next generation of practitioners: students, residents, new practitioners. I say often that the reasons I got into pharmacy are very different than the reasons I stay in pharmacy. Part of the reason I got into pharmacy was because I could do something meaningful, in that I could help people and it made sense for who I was and what I wanted in my life. I had no clue about being a lifelong learner, about leadership or the challenges of the business of healthcare. I was altruistic and a little risk averse, but now I am purpose-seeking and energized and I think about what more could be done if I had only realized I had a voice earlier. To make an IMPACT, we need to make connections. With leaders, with organizations, with patients. Learn from the past to form your future. Involvement helps achieve that.
I love quotes. I think it’s because I think in bullet points so nuggets appeal to me. My favorite quote is modified from Maya Angelou, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” Students, residents, newbies—you have the opportunity to IMPACT this profession in ways the rest of us can’t imagine. I encourage you to start now. Use your voice, get your walk out song stuck in our heads. Whether you ultimately choose health-system pharmacy or not is not important. It is important for you to know what is out there. To explore, to find the you-shaped hole in the profession. You can only create that hole by having an IMPACT. Are you ready for it?
In closing, I leave you with my hook—not Scott’s hook that will rip me off the podium in a few seconds but more of a musical hook. My theme for this year is IMPACT. I chose IMPACT because it conveys action and change. We need to be ready to make an IMPACT. On patients, on practice, on each other. Are you ready for it? ■