Some friendly advice for pharmacy recruiters

I get a fair number of emails and phone calls from pharmacy recruiters. The number has decreased over the past couple of years secondary to the change in demand for pharmacists, but I still get them. Lately I think it’s a byproduct of having a LinkedIn profile, which makes me wonder if LinkedIn is worth the time, energy and effort of keeping an online work profile up to date. That’s a post for another day.

Regardless, most of the recruiters that contact me offend more than intrigue me, and here’s where they make their mistakes. Continue reading Some friendly advice for pharmacy recruiters

All good things must come to an end, and so goes the pharmacist shortage

The pharmacist shortage was both good and bad for the pharmacy profession. On one hand it created demand which drove up salaries and improved work environments for some. On the other hand it created an environment of apathy where competition to become better dipped because frequently all you needed was a pulse and a license to get hired and/or keep your job.

Well, times are changing. I noticed a slight change in pharmacist demand during my last two years in the hospital and many people that I’ve talked to across the country confirm what I’ve been thinking – the pharmacist shortage is over.
Continue reading All good things must come to an end, and so goes the pharmacist shortage

I think it’s time for a new mobile connectivity model

I fought this one for a while, but I think I’ve experienced the need enough lately to change my tune. It’s becoming increasingly common for new devices – tablets, netbooks, laptops, etc – to be offered with cellular antennas build in. These can be activated through various carriers to provide continuous connection to the world around us.

I originally found the idea silly. I’m not sure why, but I just felt that there wasn’t really a need for such device specific connectivity. After all, I have a USB access point through Verizon. With that said, it’s become increasingly obvious to me that that isn’t the answer. I find it cumbersome to use at times as it sticks out the side of my laptop like some unwanted extra appendage. Add to that the fact that I can’t use it on my wife’s iPad secondary to a lack of USB ports and my frustration only grows. Oh sure, I could purchase a MiFi-like device, and that would solve some of the issues like lack of USB port, but it doesn’t help me if my wife has the MiFi-like device in Florida and I’m in Kentucky. Get my drift?

The problem with purchasing devices with cellular specific access is the cost of activating all those data plans. Can you imagine paying for data plans on several devices that only occasionally get used? I can’t. If my wife and I were to purchase separate data plans for each device in our armamentarium of electronics we’d certainly go broke trying to pay for them all.

With the nature of connectivity changing, and the way the world has begun using mobile devices, I believe it’s time for companies like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint, etc. to evaluate personalized data plans that follow the user around. Think of it as applying the idea of data in the cloud to your cellular service. Regardless of device, simply log into your cellular account and the antenna in the device would use your phone number to access service. Would that really be that hard to do? How about extending the idea further to include a family based data plan with similar features, i.e. a group of numbers assigned to individual family members that follow them around based on device. I know I’d be willing to pay a little extra for such a plan. Just sayin’.

Coolest looking laptops on the market

I have a thing for laptops and tablets, no question about it. Doesn’t matter who the manufacturer is, as long as it looks cool I’m drawn to it. It’s a good thing I don’t have unlimited funds or I’d have stacks of machines all over the house. While I’m not prejudiced against any particular laptop maker I am drawn to a certain style. For example, I like smaller laptops with screens typically less than or equal to 14-inch, and the thinner the better.
Continue reading Coolest looking laptops on the market

Healthcare is beyond repair, and I can prove it

Before we begin let me get a few things out of the way. First, I am a healthcare professional. Yes, a pharmacist is a healthcare professional. Second, I’ve spent a large portion of my adult life working in the healthcare industry, both inpatient and out. This includes more than a decade working in a hospital as either a “staff” pharmacist or a “clinical” pharmacist. Third, the average person has no idea what goes on in a hospital or their physician’s office. A majority of people that are misdiagnosed, receive unnecessary labs, get the wrong drug, etc. will never know because they have no reason to think they’re getting anything but the best of care. And finally, I’ve been called a pessimist. I don’t see it that way, but I’m simply giving you all the data I have.
Continue reading Healthcare is beyond repair, and I can prove it

When are you most creative?

Recently I was asked to deliver a presentation at a conference coming up at the end of April. I don’t typically turn down opportunities to take a trip and talk about something of interest to me, so I agreed. The topic was in the neighborhood of my comfort zone, but not exactly on the same street if you know what I mean.

I sat down and started putting the presentation together and realized I had no idea what I wanted to talk about or what direction I wanted to take the slides. The time seemed to drag on over a couple of evenings while sitting in my favorite creative spot in the house, i.e. sitting on the floor with my back against the couch in front of the TV. The problem wasn’t the desire, but rather the approach. It felt forced. It’s much easier to be productive when you have something in mind and are working toward that goal. Creativity on the other hand seems to flow when you give your brain some time to rest and focus not on the task at hand, but something you enjoy.

Anyway, I forced myself to put the presentation aside and forget about it. Fast forward several days to the weekend and I’m sitting in a convention center in Sacramento watching my daughter’s cheer competition; nothing unusual about that. During a break in the action the MC was talking about something and made a small gesture with his hand. For reasons beyond my comprehension it sparked a thought that ended with me coming up with the content for the presentation I was working on. When I got back to the hotel that night I quickly hammered out the outline for the presentation and filled in the content a few nights later.

What’s the moral of the story? It’s really quite simple: creativity isn’t something you can “think about” or force. It usually comes when you’re doing something you enjoy or when you take the time to quiet your mind. The typical work day is full of distractions that lead not to creativity, but productivity. As strange as that may sound it’s true. So I encourage everyone to take some time to simply “zone out” and let your mind wander. It’s worth it.

 

Quick Hit – The Monkey Theory

Several years ago a member of pharmacy leadership at the hospital I was working for told a bunch of pharmacists, me included, that he could get a monkey to do our job. The statement became a running joke in the department as the pharmacists began bringing in monkey stuffed animals, monkey pencil toppers and putting up wanted posters with photos of monkeys offering a reward for information.

As funny and insulting as the statement was, there was a hint of truth to it based on what my job duties were at the time. The “monkey statement”, as it was known, led to me re-evaluating my position there and ultimately to a job change.

So what is the monkey theory? Well, it boils down to this; if you can teach someone to do something in a couple of hours without any prior experience or critical thinking involved then that task falls under the monkey theory. Everyone knows what I’m talking about and every job has monkey related tasks.

I held several manual labor jobs prior to entering pharmacy school. In fact, those jobs are what made me decide to go back to school in the first place. I worked in a lumber yard, a machine shop that built flood gates for dams, as a nobody in the military and as a night watchman. Strange, but the jobs in the lumber yard and machine shop didn’t really qualify as part of the monkey theory. Both jobs required certain physical skills that many people don’t have. There was also some strange gratification gained from doing hard, physical labor day in and day out.

Pardon me, I am reminiscing. Back to the monkey theory. What duties qualify under the rules of the monkey theory? They’re easy to figure out, just give it some thought.

Now the big question, what percentage of monkey work is acceptable to a pharmacist? Good question, and most likely a personal choice. I’ve met pharmacists that like the “monkey work” and I’ve also met pharmacists that hate the “monkey work”. Everything is a give and take. How much are you willing to take?

Think about it.