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The Option of Becoming a Traveling Pharmacy Technician By: Danielle Allen   Opportunities to work in different pharmaceutical fields as a pharmacy technician can may seem limited. However, there are many more options, if you know where to look. One such opportunity is becoming a traveling pharmacy technician. It is common to see or hear about traveling nursing opportunities, but did you know we can travel as pharmacy technicians as well? A life on the road can initially seem appealing, but like most opportunities there are benefits and drawbacks.    To get started as a pharmacy technician you need to have at least 6 months of experience, with a majority ...
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Soft Skills and How They Can Position You for Career Advancement By: Ileen Kooyman Good technical skills are an essential aspect of growing your career as a pharmacy technician.  Technical skills are those that are developed through education or work experience.  But, are technical skills enough to position a technician to advance in pharmacy?  Developing and practicing a high level of soft skills can provide the advantage you need to advance and set yourself apart from others.  Soft skills are the personal traits that shape the way you approach work.  These would include communication skills, the ability to work as a team, and integrity.  In the fast-paced ...
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Let me state up front that this is going to be a bit of a rant. I believe firmly that diversion is a problem, and that it is first and foremost a patient-safety problem. I also believe it is a problem that we can manage, but never solve, because its sources are beyond our control. First, addiction is not a matter of morals or will-power [1] . Addiction occurs because of a combination of psychological, physiological, and physical changes in the brain induced by these drugs that tends to enable and perpetuate addictive behavior. Addiction occurs as the result of a variety of factors that include environment, genetics, and development. Once it occurs, it ...
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By: Carolyn O’Donnell, PharmD; Chief Pharmacy Resident & PGY-2 Psychiatric Pharmacy Resident at University at Buffalo/New York State Office of Mental Health at Buffalo Psychiatric Center As many new practitioners are starting in their pharmacy careers, leadership roles may seem far away and leadership skills may be delayed until a later point. However, whenever we are working with teams, working with colleagues, or working toward a goal, we have opportunities for leadership even if our title is not Manager, Director, or Vice President. In completing an elective residency rotation with ASHP, I witnessed a culture where leaders were true mentors, innovation ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has left patients with ongoing symptoms from their battle with COVID. Long-hauler symptoms have challenged healthcare professionals to find ways to help patients manage their symptoms with little research. Parkview Health, serving the northeast Indiana and northwest Ohio region, responded to this need by creating the Parkview Post-COVID clinic where patients are seen by a multi-disciplinary team. The clinic team consists of neurology, pharmacy, physical medicine and rehabilitation, neuropsychology, nursing, and physical therapy. Patients are evaluated on their top five ongoing symptoms that they are the most concerned about. Some of the ...
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Resources for Visually Impaired Patients in the Ambulatory Care Setting   Management of patients in an ambulatory setting almost always requires a level of patient self-management. The tasks that we ask of our patients can vary from monitoring blood glucose levels, to using a blood pressure cuff, or even just taking daily medications. While open communication between the patient and provider can allow these strategies to greatly improve patient outcomes, the tasks can become much more of an obstacle when considering a patient with visual impairment. This post will outline some of the currently available options and techniques that can assist patients in overcoming ...
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Cultural competence is a key tool for any healthcare professional to be successful. Developing an individualized plan for patients will allow them to be heard and create a more productive environment. One example could be drawn from the management of diabetes. There are many aspects of caring for a patient with diabetes to take into consideration including dietary modifications and general cultural practices. For instance, the food that a patient commonly consumes may vary from culture to culture. Oftentimes, common recommendations are communicated to patients in the form of a handout that contains generic examples of food choices that are not staples in their ...
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As I read recently ASHP has reached 60,000 members. That is really an impressive number, but it made me think about how an organization can support the needs of all those members. As a very long-term member I have seen many changes over the years. For years ASHP was the American Society of Hospital Pharmacists. The name changed to reflect the change in the makeup of the organization. When the sections were originally added it was a way to help support the needs of the various members. The home infusion pharmacists campaigned for a section and The Homecare Section was added. The section even had a cute little house on display at the Midyear Clinical Meeting. The ...
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Feeling stressed from internship interviews, residency interviews, fellowship interviews or even exams? Pharmacy students are challenged with stressors from all avenues of life, but there are healthy ways to mitigate this stress. Did you know that ASHP recently received the Health Resources and Services Administration’s 3-year $2.3 million grant focused on promoting mental health to not only pharmacy professionals, but the health care workforce as well? Read more: Here ASHP strives for the development and care of professionals such as pharmacy students in the healthcare field. There tons of ways to manage stress through ASHP resources. In January, ASHP ...
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The increase in use of medical technology over the last few decades has improved the quality of healthcare for many individuals. Technologies such as electronic medical records, remote patient monitoring, and online messaging portals have increased patients’ access to information and improved patient satisfaction.1 However, there are many patients for whom these technologies are more of a burden than a blessing. One of the technologies that I frequently introduce to patients in my practice is continuous glucose monitors (CGMs). Several studies have shown statistically significant improvements in measures of glucose control including reductions in hypoglycemia ...
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More About AI

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Back in early February, I attended a webinar hosted by the Section on Pharmacy Informatics and Technology about Data Science and (by inference) artificial intelligence. It was actually pretty good and covered a lot of the ground that people need to know about how Data Science and Artificial Intelligence converge. It is available on the ASHP Learning Center, and I would recommend it for your viewing. The webinar brought to mind several things I find myself teaching repeatedly, so I am writing them here in the hope that others find them useful. They are the product of many hours spent training machine learning systems, and in trying to get data from disparate ...
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I’m current a PGY2 resident so you can imagine the busy-ness in my life between rotations, projects, teaching, and research. My productivity came to a halt in the beginning of this year when I tested positive for Covid-19 and I am still dealing with long haul symptoms of chest pain, fatigue, and shortness of breath. I know I’m not the first resident to have Covid and, sadly, I probably won’t be the last. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you my journey of health and wellbeing. I had to take a significant amount of time away from my rotation during the month of January due to the illness and the quarantine period. However, I was determined to stay on ...
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Impostor Phenomenon

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Do you worry about others finding out you are a fraud? Have you ever been too scared to say yes to opportunities? Do you tend to feel you “got lucky” even though you are well-qualified? Do you “qualify” your accomplishments thinking someone else deserves the bulk of the credit for or that your contribution wasn’t “that much,” or downplay congratulations for a job well done saying it’s “not a big deal”? If these seem familiar, you may be an impostor… or at least think you are. Even as I write these words, with months of research into this subject and countless books and articles consumed, I feel those familiar thoughts creep in. Should I take the opportunity ...
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I have been working in automation for a little over 35 years now, and one thing I have long observed in our profession is a rapt interest in shiny new toys. Blockchain and RFID are two that come to mind. This is about RFID. I first considered some RFID applications years ago when Mark Neuenschwander was running the UnSummit and asked me to comment about potential uses of RFID as an alternative to bar codes in Bar Code Medication Administration (BCMA). More on that in a moment, but in preparing for that presentation, I learned a few things about RFID: The Wikipedia article on RFID seems reasonably complete. If you are not familiar with it, it might ...
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Your Next Professional Act

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FYI A new Letters Book was introduced at the recent meeting Letters for Your Next Act Navigating a Purposeful Retirement published by ASHP. It contains 31 letters from our colleagues who have either retired or are considering it. Lots of practical advice and things to consider no matter where you are in your career/life it is never too early to plan as time flies by. Check out the other Letters Books from Mid-Late Career Pharmacists, Young Leaders, Residents, Preceptors, and Women. SJW
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Greetings Student Pharmacists! December brings us the end of another year, the end of a semester, and to the ASHP Midyear Clinical Meeting ! For many fourth-year student pharmacists, December also brings the excitement and anxiety of what happens post-graduation. As I prepare for the Midyear Clinical Meeting and for meeting with residency programs, I find myself reflecting much more than I have in the past. Choosing which programs you intend to visit at the Residency Showcase and which programs you intend to apply to requires a lot of thought and consideration. It truly is an individualized experience, and you quickly figure out what is of the upmost importance ...
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I was reviewing some old documents and ran across a slide deck that I presented a few years ago at a USP Compounding Conference on Gravimetrics. Having recently attended the ISMP Conference on Sterile Compounding Safety, I was reminded that there may still be some confusion about what Gravimetrics does and does not bring to the compounding environment. You would also find some of this in another blog ( the illusion of accuracy ). I confess that I am employed by someone who sells a gravimetric solution, but this discussion is basically agnostic of that relationship. I hope you will agree when this is done. Gravimetrics is a process wherein a container ...
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This blog post was created by the Pharmacy Student Forum Career and Leadership Development Advisory Group  in order to give tips and tricks for succeeding in a virtual environment during showcases and interviews. With Midyear and interview season quickly approaching, there’s no better time to brush up on some business etiquette and what that looks like in a virtual setting. Many programs opted to remain virtual this year, so we gathered some tips on how to effectively navigate this environment. Test your technology before your virtual event.  A crucial step to a successful virtual interview is using the proper hardware and software. Make sure ...
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One of the activities I really enjoy is working with students and recent graduates on their curriculum vitae (CV)/resume documents. A lot of the feedback I get is that what helps most is a “50,000 -foot view” of what these documents are intended to achieve, which seems to be a new concept. So, I thought I would put these thoughts together in a blog to try to be helpful to others. Thank you to those students and new graduates who have entrusted me with your career goals and resumes. I have learned much of what follows from working with you. It is of first importance to remember that the purpose of either of these documents is not to land an appointment or ...
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Over the last few blog posts, we have reviewed the benefits and best practices of building interprofessional relationships. Now we will explore a few practical steps you can take today to fuel your interprofessional relationship skills. Be passionate You need to enjoy what you are doing to bring expertise to the team. If you are disinterested in a certain sector of pharmacy, you might be less likely to have an adequate knowledge base. Additionally, your team may pick up on the cues that you are less than thrilled to be a wealth of knowledge for that particular area.  When you are passionate about what you are working on, you are more likely to do ...
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