Message from the Board
By: SPA Executive Vice President Steven Webbenhurst

Last month I referenced the phrase, “April showers bring May flowers.” Spring is a great time because many things come back to life or bloom. As students graduate, it really is their time to bloom. All of the hard work that went in to this event (including being exposed to much fertilizer I’m sure the students would say) has finally paid off.

Pharmacy techs are in high demand in the area and can easily find jobs. But the same isn’t true for soon-to-be pharmacists. The increased number of pharmacy schools and greater enrollment numbers at each institution have taken us from a shortage of pharmacists a few years ago, to a surplus in many locations this year.

Those entering the job market are finding employers aren’t looking for additional pharmacists. It seems to me that for those looking for traditional positions in retail or hospital, are finding more success if they were interns for those employers. I think that there are two reasons for that. Most importantly, while working as an intern, employers see it as a great way to observe if that intern is a right fit for their organization. It’s similar to IPPE and APPE rotations. Employers and preceptors evaluate students and determine if they would be good hires. And secondly, I think employers are more likely to create positions or make part-time positions into full(er) time positions if they are familiar with candidates.

But as the pharmacy world changes, I think we as pharmacists (and technicians and students) need to help drive the future of pharmacy. Who better to steer our profession than those of us in practice? When I graduated pharmacy school, clinical pharmacist jobs were new. Think how far we’ve taken that concept. And when you consider jobs involving MTM (medication therapy management), immunizations, third party, specialized disease state management, anti-coagulation clinics and so many other areas, we’ve made huge progress in making our profession broader.

As the supply of pharmacists exceeds demand, it is a perfect time to expand our profession further. What ideas do you have? Are there untapped opportunities that need the attention of pharmacists? I think there are. It’s up to us to be creative and use our knowledge to become an even more important piece in healthcare.

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