Being a pharmacist is my first career, but one of many jobs over my lifetime. I was a little late to the party as I spent some time doing other things before jetting off to pharmacy school. One of the things I enjoyed about pharmacy school was the comradery that quickly developed between the students. There were several of us that spent time together learning, studying and becoming better. Our collective minds were simply better than any of us on our own.
There were five of us that seemed to always study together: Scott, the guy who could memorize anything and had a knack for using memory aids, i.e. mnemonics; Jodi, a no nonsense girl from Alaska. She approached everything with brute force; Eric, the esoteric philosopher that took his sweet time making a decision; Mark, the â€œaverage guyâ€ who couldnâ€™t decide on anything and forced the rest of us to be convincing in our arguments; and myself. It was the first time in my school life that I spent time studying with others. Frustrating at times, it was well worth it in the long run as it made me a better pharmacist. Some of our study sessions were formalized and structured, while others were spent in a small pizza place just down the street from the hospital. I believe it was the informal gatherings at the pizza place that spawned the greatest ideas and learning. It was this environment that created open discussion and new approaches to old problems.
When I left school and started my pharmacy career, one thing that struck me about pharmacists is their lack of socialization with other pharmacists outside the hospital. Of course there are the formal gatherings and parties for Christmas, awards, etc, but nothing like the pizza place from school. No sitting in the backyard on a Sunday afternoon eating a burger together while discussing the profession, no gathering at the restaurant down the street for drinks while talking about the events of the day, and so on and so forth. How many ideas are stuck in the back of someoneâ€™s mind just waiting for the right queue from a friend to be released? How many practice advancements never left the drawing board because an individual mind ran out of steam?
I understand the problems associated with trying to get a bunch of pharmacists together. Among other things, schedules are often ugly as the profession requires 24/7 coverage and people like to â€œget away from workâ€. Sure you can follow people on Twitter and interact with them online, but itâ€™s seldom the same as that face-to-face interaction that creates passion, discussion and development. Iâ€™ve had some great mini-conversations with other pharmacists online. While it’s better than nothing, thereâ€™s clearly something missing; a spark perhaps.