As a fourth-year APPE student with ASHP, I was honored to be selected for the rotation block that extended through the annual Policy Week. For those that are not familiar with ASHP’s Policy Week, it is a time where ASHP Council and Commission members from across the country convene in Bethesda. Throughout this week, members discuss and develop policies on various topics that impact our profession, as well as participate in Legislative Day on Capitol Hill. Additionally, there are numerous attendees that observe the discussions taking place and meet with legislators as well.
This year, I was fortunate to be one of the attendees amongst some of our profession’s top leaders and wanted to share this experience with others. As a learner, I felt I had one of the best seats in the house! I was able to listen in on discussions related to issues and topics affecting multiple areas of pharmacy practice. A subject of major importance for everyone was addressing the Pharmacy Technician shortage and ways to engage Pharmacy Technicians within the profession. I was afforded the invaluable opportunity to hear others’ diverse opinions and expertise on these topics. This helped me develop my own thoughts and grow within my professional identity.
Perhaps the most invigorating day of this week was Legislative Day on Capitol Hill. I joined my outstanding colleagues from Texas to meet with our state’s Senators and Representatives. As a result of these meetings, we were able to advocate for bills such as the Equitable Community Access to Pharmacists Services Act (H.R. 7213). The advocacy for these bills will help improve care for our patients, but also conditions for our workforce.
The message throughout this week was clear, we are at a pivotal moment within the profession. As the revered Rear Admiral Krista Pedley stated during her Zellmer Lecture, “now is the time to be more, do more...”. The pharmacy workforce, similar to other healthcare professionals, has endured an unforgiving pandemic resulting in significant loss and distress. We are at a crucial time to impart change within our profession so that we can better serve our patients without sacrificing our well-being.
This experience could not have been possible without the pharmacy leaders who dedicate their time to advocating for our patients and profession. It was inspiring to see a diverse group of individuals unite for the sole purpose of advocacy. I left this week feeling empowered to get involved in advocacy efforts as I transition into a new practitioner.