What is pharmacy leadership?
Pharmacy leadership has many definitions, but on a basic level, it is continually improving the way pharmacy services are delivered so that patients benefit fully from the pharmacist's expertise. This pharmacy service evolution has progressed from primarily compounding to medication therapy management, with specialization in areas such as anticoagulation, diabetes, hypertension, and pain management. Along the way, services such as patient profiles, putting the name of the medication on the patient's label, generic product selection, making intravenous admixtures, unit–dose packaging/automated cabinets, clinical pharmacy, and computerization have been developed and implemented but not without resistance and obstacles that needed to be overcome by leadership. These changes required not only the formal Big L leaders (e.g., store managers, directors) but every pharmacist as a Little L leader to see these unmet medication needs and innovate systems to meet them. For this service evolution to continue on behalf of patients, leadership qualities must be developed in every pharmacist.
Pharmacy leadership development
Several pharmacy practitioner organizations have recently responded to members requests for leadership training with publications, curricular programs, videos, and resource centers.
Selected pharmacy publications. APhA: Bradley-Baker LR, Getting started as a pharmacy manager; Desselle SP, Zgarrick DP, Pharmacy management essentials for all practice settings; Worthen DB, Heroes of pharmacy, 2nd ed. (2) American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP): DeCoske M, Tryon J, White S, Pharmacy leadership field guide: cases and advice for everyday situations; Bush PW, Walesh SG, Managing & leading: 44 lessons learned for pharmacists; ASHP, Management package: ASHP's management pearls, managing & leading, financial management; Zellmer WA, Conscience of a pharmacist; Zlatic TD, Zellmer WA, Nourishing the soul of pharmacy: stories of reflection.
Pharmacy-specific curriculum programs (more detailed information can be found on organization websites). Since 2008, the ASHP Research and Education Foundation has conducted the Pharmacy Leadership Academy (PLA), which is a completely online program consisting of nine 6-week modules taught by pharmacy leaders: Leading the Pharmacy Enterprise, Leading Yourself, Leading People, Leading Change and Innovation, Leading for Safety and Quality, Leading Automation and Technology, Leadership for Effective Financial Management, Building Presence with Executive Leadership, and Leading for Results. Completion of the PLA results in a certificate and approximately one-half of the required graduate credits toward five masters programs that are also totally online: MHA, MBA, MBA with emphasis in Health Information Management, and MA in Public Policy. The PLA is a 15-month program. In addition to the PLA, two 6-week online Capstone courses, Leadership by Design and Developing Leadership Skills, are offered.
The American College of Clinical Pharmacy offers a Leadership and Management Certificate Program that consists of a prerequisite Leadership Primer, three required modules (Personal Leadership Development, Interpersonal Leadership Development, and Attributes of a Leader), and 10 hours of electives that are 2-hour programs embedded in the spring and annual meetings. The participant must also assemble a portfolio containing a personal mission statement, personal definition of leadership, self-assessments, and mentor assessments. The program can be completed in 2 years if both meetings are attended.
Videos. The ASHP Research and Education Foundation website contains a series of recorded leadership videos called Conversations with Health-System Pharmacy's Most Influential Leaders. The videos feature leaders such as John Gans, Lucinda Maine, Harold Godwin, Joseph Oddis, Henri Manasse, Max Ray, R. David Anderson, Sharon Murphy Enright, R. David Anderson, Mary Joe Riley, Paul Pierpaoli, David Zilz, Billy Woodward, and Sara White, as well as tributes to Gloria Francke and Clifton Latiolais. ASHP membership is not required to view these videos.
Pharmacy Leadership Resource Center. The Leadership Resource Center on the ASHP Education and Research Foundations website does not require ASHP membership to access. Authored by Sharon Murphy Enright, a pharmacist, the center contains leadership self-assessments, a core leadership self-development primer, a leadership toolkit, and focused learning modules. The contents of the primer are leading for the future, assessing personal leadership strengths, why leadership and why now, driving forces, what is expected of leaders, what are the basic competencies, thinking like a leader, the changing healthcare environment, evolution in systems thinking, critical thinking and decision making, healthcare's simple rules, collaboration, environmental assessment, creating a clear vision, building trust, sharing power and influence, leading people, leadership self-reflection, organizing for leadership, thinking differently, tools for learning to think differently, thinking like a leader, creative thinking, and how to be creative.
Leadership is an individual pursuit
Leadership ability is often touted as a lofty attribute of managers and administrators. To become a good leader, one might turn to the thousands of books and articles on the subject or attend a leadership development workshop. In doing this, however, one can easily get stymied by the theories of leadership development, leadership traits, leadership styles, strategies and tools used by leaders, and the rhetoric surrounding the qualities and attributes of leadership. Learning when and how to apply these concepts in the context of individual, daily experiences is difficult.
Exposure to good leaders does not seem to offer much relief. Each one is a product of individual experiences, individual opportunities, and individual training who has been exposed to challenging situations, unique opportunities, and individuals who have shaped their individual perspectives further. It is simply not realistic to think, “How can I be like her?,” or in looking to more public examples, “How can I be as good a leader as Abraham Lincoln?” Think about the great leaders you have known. It would be difficult to retrace the knowledge, experiences, and perspectives that shaped their ability and effectiveness. Do you think that they were well versed in the theories of leadership? Perhaps extensive knowledge about leadership theories could make someone a better leader. Similarly, perhaps extensive knowledge about the laws of physics will make someone a better juggler. It is difficult to acquire or develop the attributes necessary to be a good leader by seeing examples of good leadership in others. However, thinking about leadership in a more granular, individual way can be helpful.
Good leadership ability will result from applying knowledge useful in situations that require leadership, practicing the skills associated with leadership, and having the desire and motivation to exert these in appropriate situations. These situations are often presented to managers. Keeping in mind that managing and leading are complementary,1–3
leadership is “about coping with change.”1
This requires more specific knowledge, skills, and attitudes.
To cope with change within the complexity of an organization, one must have some knowledge of the areas relevant to the organization. In addition to this content knowledge, one must have the knowledge necessary to be a good leader, including the knowledge necessary to develop a vision, stimulate change, work well with people, and become a person of influence. Many areas of knowledge support these concepts.4–6
Leadership development requires providing opportunities for individuals to learn about these leadership concepts in various situations. Fostering opportunities to gain these knowledge areas is an important aspect of developing leaders in our field.
Leadership skill. Just like having expert knowledge about the physics of juggling will not make you an expert juggler, vast knowledge about leadership will not make you a good leader. This expertise develops as a result of applying the knowledge in situations that are relevant and have consequences. This trial and error is not unique to leadership development; it is an essential component to honing one's abilities in any area.
Knowledge and skill about leadership alone will not cause people to lead unless they have the motivation and mindset to pursue those endeavors and the emotional intelligence to be successful.7
At the very least, leaders must have an appreciation for the value of what leadership can accomplish and a desire to pursue leadership opportunities. Leadership must be exerted, and only positive attitudes toward leadership and motivation to lead will cause that to occur.
Knowledge, skills, and attitudes that underlie effective leadership ability need to be individually fostered. These qualities can be developed in pharmacists along with professionalism, ethics, compassion, and character. They should be inculcated throughout the curriculum, fostered in experiential settings, and applied little by little in practice and other work environments.
Although formal opportunities to learn relevant concepts and tools would be helpful (e.g., electives in the pharmacy curriculum and continuing education), exercises that require assertion of leadership development by individuals in real-life situations would prove to be more valuable. As we are developing as lifelong learners, perhaps we should start by creating a fertile environment for leadership development by simply challenging students and ourselves to not be satisfied with simply managing what is but instead consistently think about what should be. As we wrestle with what it takes to realize those visions, knowledge of the area becomes relevant, opportunities to practice strategies result, and leadership will emerge.
In an increasingly competitive job market, student pharmacists are seeking out leadership positions as a way to gain new skills and experiences to set themselves apart. Membership in APhA–ASP provides the student pharmacist with a wide array of leadership development opportunities. APhA–ASP places emphasis on developing future leaders for the profession. In fact, many pharmacist leaders within the profession have had their start with APhA–ASP. Leadership themes are woven throughout the mission of APhA–ASP but are most evident in the areas of providing opportunities for professional growth and envisioning and advancing the future of pharmacy.
Each APhA–ASP member has the opportunity to gain leadership skills through active participation in a multitude of APhA–ASP projects and programs. These experiences allow APhA–ASP members to gain unique experiences outside of the classroom and improve their ability to effectively communicate, establish teams, manage both time and tasks, develop a vision, and inspire others. Student pharmacists are then able to apply these skills to their studies, internships, and ultimately their career as a pharmacist.
The APhA–ASP Leadership Training Series (LTS) provides student pharmacists with a certificate of participation if they attend at least four leadership training sessions during their tenure as a student. Recent LTS sessions focused on Leading Through Relationship Building, Leadership in Health Care, and Media Training. The APhA Summer Leadership Institute (SLI) encourages personal leadership development in chapter leaders that they can then take back and share with their chapters. As a result of the popularity of this program, SLI grows in size year after year, with more than 180 attendees registered for the July 2012 session. Finally, many chapters incorporate leadership development into their chapter activities. For example, chapter executive committee retreats, leadership book discussion groups, or a professional lecture series further hone leadership skills.
Leadership positions within APhA–ASP take many forms, from leaders with titles on the national level to those who lead without titles at their chapter. Each student pharmacist is encouraged to determine his or her personal fit for involvement. This year at APhA2012, a record number of 24 student pharmacists ran for the APhA–ASP National Executive Committee, reflecting an increased desire to serve the profession and the Association. Student pharmacists can also serve as national standing committee members, delegates to APhA–ASP and/or APhA House of Delegates, regional officers, and chapter leaders. Chapters are encouraged to involve members in planning and implementing projects and programs, and some chapters have even created new leadership positions to improve patient care projects, chapter functioning, and increase involvement of first-year student pharmacists.
Last year, student pharmacists led advocacy efforts through the APhA–ASP House of Delegates by adopting resolution 2011.1 – Pharmacist Inclusion in State and Federal Loan Repayment Programs: APhA–ASP encourages all federal and state government loan repayment and loan forgiveness programs to provide pharmacists with equal access and opportunities as other health care professionals. Throughout the year, students lobbied their members of Congress, and in April, it was announced that pharmacists are now included as an eligible discipline in the National Health Service Corps State Loan Repayment Program.
Many potential opportunities exist for APhA–ASP to expand leadership development for student pharmacists, but how can we encourage student pharmacists to continue to be leaders within the Association and the profession after they graduate? One immediate example is the APhA New Practitioner Network (NPN) mentor program. Recent graduates connect with APhA–ASP chapters and student pharmacists to assist with career pathway, residency, and professional advice. NPN mentors also provide supervision and guidance with patient care programming and community outreach projects and serve as judges for local, state, and national student pharmacist competitions.
At the 2011 SLI, student pharmacists reflected on the following quote by John Quincy Adams: “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Throughout the year, APhA–ASP strives to equip student pharmacist leaders to empower those around them to take an active role in patient care and advocacy. With this ripple effect, the reach of APhA–ASP expands and is strengthened by the involvement of individuals with many unique talents. Using their leadership and management skills, these actively involved student pharmacists will continue to advance the profession and patient care throughout their careers.
The Association Report column in JAPhA reports on activities of APhA's three academies and topics of interest to members of those groups.
The APhA Academy of Pharmacy Practice and Management (APhA–APPM) is dedicated to assisting members in enhancing the profession of pharmacy, improving medication use, and advancing patient care. Through the six APhA–APPM sections (Administrative Practice, Community and Ambulatory Practice, Clinical/Pharmacotherapeutic Practice, Hospital and Institutional Practice, Nuclear Pharmacy Practice, and Specialized Pharmacy Practice), Academy members practice in every pharmacy setting.
The mission of the APhA Academy of Pharmaceutical Research and Science (APhA–APRS) is to stimulate the discovery, dissemination, and application of research to improve patient health. Academy members are a source of authoritative information on key scientific issues and work to advance the pharmaceutical sciences and improve the quality of pharmacy practice. Through the three APhA–APRS sections (Clinical Sciences, Basic Pharmaceutical Sciences, and Economic, Social, and Administrative Sciences), the Academy provides a mechanism for experts in all areas of the pharmaceutical sciences to influence APhA's policymaking process.
The mission of the APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP) is to be the collective voice of student pharmacists, to provide opportunities for professional growth, and to envision and actively promote the future of pharmacy. Since 1969, APhA–ASP and its predecessor organizations have played a key role in helping students navigate pharmacy school, explore careers in pharmacy, and connect with others in the profession.
The Association Report column is written by Academy and section officers and coordinated by JAPhA
Contributing Editor Joe Sheffer of the APhA staff. Suggestions for future content may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org