My nine-year-old nephew was in his school’s performance of Cinderella last week. His shining moment was trying the glass slipper on the Princess’s foot at the end of the play (he made sure to not land the role of the Prince as that would involve kissing a girl which, unsurprisingly given his age, he considers "completely gross”). My sister and many other parents worked behind the scenes. Hearing both my sister's and her son's enthusiasm for their varied contributions to the production's success made me think about the myriad roles pharmacists play in our nation's health care system.
Many pharmacists, residents and students interact face-to-face with patients and providers daily. I consider them the actors and understudies that work directly on the stage. They are the most visible and identifiable practitioners in our profession, but by far not the only. A lot of pharmacists are on the other side of the curtain, laying the foundation as managers, administrators, researchers, compounders and more. Even deeper in the theater work pharmacists who contribute to the success and growth of our profession through their activities with governments, schools, policy, national associations and other organizations -- ways in which many people seldom think.
Without a full company of costume designers, prop builders, lighting engineers, business developers, and musicians, actors would have no play to put on and no audience for which to perform. Likewise, the behind-the-scenes staff would have no meaningful work to do without their stars on the stage. In the pharmacy world, a similar relationship exists. Pharmacists performing varying roles across hospital, government, community, ambulatory, academic, manufacturing and hundreds of other settings, work together to provide seamless patient care.
As a student finishing my third (and final!) academic year, I am looking forward to assuming my position among this hard-working, dedicated group - whether it is center stage or far behind the scenes. I am thrilled to have a chance to help the show stay on the stage and to expand the roles of pharmacists in this progressive and dynamic profession.