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Archive for March, 2016

Writing About…the Things You’re Not Supposed to Write About

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

They say one should not discuss sex, religion or politics in polite society or blogs, but tonight, I’m going after one of the three.

Yes, politics.  (Sorry if that leaves you disappointed that I’m not writing about the other two, albeit the other two are tangentially involved.) ‘Tis the season.

The post trigger: someone I grew up with asked me recently how or why I had “changed” my political views so dramatically since I was a kid.

First off, I didn’t know that I had changed my views.  I’ve pretty much been the same way I’ve always viewed the world politically.

I’m a fiscal conservative, and social liberal (i.e. I’m pro-choice for women (with limits, of course), and I think that anyone who wants to marry another human should have that right, whether that’s same sex, different sex, or otherwise.  While we’re at it, I don’t dig that single people are robbed of benefits reserved for married couples either.)  In fact, I like it even more when the government stays out of my social business, overall.  I’m therefore a fan of LIMITED federal government. You know, that kind of government that the Constitution calls for–LIMITED. Besides, don’t we have other issues that the federal government is supposed to be focused on (like national security), and state government with stuff like schools and crumbling infrastructure?  I think the governments should focus on the issues they are supposed to, and leave the social stuff alone.

Now, as for a “label” on those beliefs…what am I?  Does this make me a Reagan Republican?  He said, “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.”  I’m certainly not a tax and spend liberal.  Nor am I a draconian conservative that likes to take rights away from others.  If anything, I’m probably a Libertarian at this point–because per above, my favorite form of government is the limited kind.

I’ve noticed a lot of my friends over at the Faceplace want to try and stick labels on each other during this heated, tumultuous political season.  And I’ll be the first one to admit that I’ve mixed it up myself on topics I feel passionate about over there thus far, and I probably will a time or two again before November (eh hem, HEA 1337…by the way, I’ll be voting against all those who voted for this insane bill, and here’s hoping ACLU wins the battle on this bill being unconstitutional.  Here’s the list of votes, if you’re interested. Nuvo, if you’re reading this – keep your post up until November, please, I’ll need to refer back to it to know who to vote for…)

I’ll spare you any more details on my squabbles, but instead leave you with this: that whatever political ideals you identify with (or don’t), try not to waste your energy labeling others. Instead, channel the energy on getting educated and VOTING this season.  Although I’m not really enamored with any of the political choices for the next election, I will go to the polls, hold my nose, and vote for the least vile candidates, as we all should do.  (And ladies, that goes DOUBLE for us, since our sisters didn’t get the right to vote until 1920. Nineteen twenty!  That’s mid-to-late-Downton Abbey!)

And, when I posted about the Women’s Campaign School at Yale online tonight (which, BTW, is bipartisan, or in my case, tripartisan), someone asked me when I was running for office.  Answer: soon…and maybe even sooner if my rights keep on being taken away from me.

After all, it was Thomas Paine who said the following, “The duty of a true Patriot is to protect his country from its government.”  May we all be patriotic this election season.

Amen, Thomas….AMEN!

2Q16 Updates for My Peeps

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-27 at 10.26.51 AMHappy Spring!

Here’s the stuff I’m working on, peeps:

1. Women’s Leadership Programs grid – if you have a program I missed that you personally know is awesome, please let me know!

2. Pharmacist and Healthcare Certifications – I added PMP and all of PMI’s certifications this week.

3. Pharmacy National Meetings – Coming up next week: the Rx Drug Abuse Summit in Atlanta, GA.

4. The 13th Annual CE for Pharmacists at Butler University COPHS - registration popped up this week. We’re offering 19.75 hours of CE in this expanded 2.5 day event this year!  Day 1 (June 2 in the afternoon) is all about preceptor development. I’m talking about a pharmacy law at this event, personally, in addition to the shooooow!

5. Slides for Professionalism and your brand online as an entrepreneur at the 3/31 IN Small Business Expo.

6. A display for 3 really cool, different classes I’ve been part of for the 2016 Butler University Innovations in Teaching event. A “sneak peep” is above.

7. Plotting a bookraiser for the #STEMPrincess project.

8. Shopping for NON-clinical pharmacist people for pieces I’m working on for The Pharmacy Podcast and Pharmacy Careers. If that’s you and you’re willing to be interviewed, let me know.

9. Dabbling in and experimenting with Anchor.

That’s enough. For now! : )

The STEM Princess Children’s Book Trilogy: An Update

Monday, March 21st, 2016

STEMPrincessSeriesI need to update the saga of the trilogy of #STEMPrincess trilogy for a moment. Please allow me to wrangle the web hi-lights up in one spot!

Once upon a time…

Back in fall, 2013 I ran a Kickstarter campaign for the first book, The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM, not to publish the book, but to give away copies to the Indiana library system.  It happened after I read this abysmal report on the status of girls in Indiana, particularly around their lack of success in AP STEM subject matter.  This can’t happen in my state.

Check. Success. Done.  The book was published in 2014.

Then, in 2015, I set out to create a hands on book for girls ages 5-9 to play with concepts introduced by the characters in the first book for STEM careers.  The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM: FUNBOOK Alpha was born. It includes an online answer key too, just in case anyone gets stuck (myself included).

Now, in 2016, the third book has been released, The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM: Coloring Book Beta, which allows children of all ages to connect with STEM professions and color their worlds STEM.  Most people love to color – so if this book can bring people together, release a little tension and educate along the way through colored pencils and/or crayons, even better.

When will it stop?  I’m not sure. But it doesn’t feel ‘done’ yet.  As well, maybe I’ll stop when more girls start choosing STEM careers, and we all get to gender pay equity.  I don’t see that coming overnight.  And while I love to sell books and tell the stories of the STEM Princesses, I’ve got a much bigger mission here than just books.  This series is training the next generation of girls and boys to show what girls can do – which is whatever boys can do.  It shows all of us what is possible.  And of course, one can be what she can see.  Last, as I just shared last week with Women & Hi Tech, the way of work in this world is radically changing–are we preparing the next generation for jobs that don’t even exist yet in STEM?

Last, the #STEMPrincess manifesto, created in the first book, and which has been included in all subsequent books.  We will keep you updated on Facebook, along with all other social portals with our hashtag.  When the day comes that we see 50%/50% gender equity in most if not all STEM professions, we’ll quit.  Until then…we’ll keep our sleeves rolled up, and continue the work.

More on…the Future of Work

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

So…on the future of work.  Here are some things you may want to read/listen to/or watch.  What inspired this post was a talk I gave this week at Women & Hi Tech on this subject.  Here are the slides.

1. Originals – book on creativity.  And creativity is going to be in the top 3 skills needed by employers by 2020. Of course Brene Brown has great books on creativity, and Gilbert’s newest book is on creativity too.  All of these are good.

2. The Future of Work Podcast – I’m a big fan of this one. Also listen to it on Stitcher.

3. The World Economic Forum – have a lot of white papers and research about the future of…a lot of topics.

4. Slideshare – believe it or not, Slideshare is a great place to get ideas on topics before they become books.

5. Of course – a few of the books I mentioned on the future of work, Multipationals, Plan C and Single Women Entrepreneurs.  All 3 provide different ways of viewing your future career.

The changes are coming.  If you haven’t been affected by them yet, you will be soon.  By reading or listening to the above, you’ll be better off with advanced warning…

New Stuff

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Stuff I’m working on…

1. Just gave the future of work talk today – it was fun! Here are the slides.

2. Feeling the burn? You don’t want to feel this burn.  Learn how to prevent burnout here.

3. Next live talk? 3/31, where I’ll be talking about social media to small business owners.  Something along the lines of building the professional you online…? Not sure yet, still mulling this one over. In the meantime, go grab your tickets.

4. #STEMPrincess3 – 200 copies of the book are gone. Not bad, considering this is day 2 of sales for it!

There’s always more where this came from…but it’s still simmering.

Merry merry!

Attention Crayons, Markers and Pencils…

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 10.51.33 AM#STEMPrincess3 has arrived!

I’m working on the official launch, press, yada yada yada for March – but in the meantime, my fab 13, since you’ve been awesomely supporting me over the years, I wanted to let you be the first to know!

I know what you’re thinking, “Hey – Albert. Where are they for sale, again?” Thanks for asking!

They are at the Pharm Square Store, along with some other goodies – like stickers, the 3-book bundle (at a discount, I might add…) and a 10-book coloring book party pack if you want to get the coloring book in a larger quantity!  I’ve got some other tricks up my sleeve too – to help sell some books, yes, but more importantly – get more books out into the hands of girls PRONTO so they can say yes to STEM careers!

This first coloring book has been a lot of fun to produce.  Shout out to the amazing Pam Fraizer as well, who illustrated this 3rd book in the series.

Why did I do a coloring book, again? Because you can be what you can see – and that includes coloring! Girls need more positive role models in their lives.  If I inspire just one girl to consider and then choose a STEM profession who might never have thought about it before – that will be the reward here – to the girl herself for wisely choosing a career where she’ll be paid close to parity with her male counterparts, to me for leaving the planet a little better than I found it, and most of all – to the universe!

4 Things (Still) Bugging Me

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Nagging, pawing, scratching at me, here are 4 things I’m troubled by.

1. Why are there so few women at the helm in healthcare? I already did the research here. Stats are bad. So, now how do we fix this serious problem?

2. Why doesn’t pharmacy benchmark vacation time?  And, now, HOW pharmacists work (remotely at home? At a brick and mortar pharmacy, etc.?)

3. There’s a lot of noise with girls & STEM education, but is any of it working?  Who is benchmarking girls’ success in STEM?

4. Are we preparing our students for the coming changes in work?  I’m speaking about some of the changes this week at Women & Hi Tech Executive Luncheon in Indy, but I fear our changes in education are not fast enough these days, because the world itself is changing faster.

Does anyone out there have any answers?

Writing to Enhance Your Professional Brand

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-13 at 11.40.03 AMOops. I just realized I didn’t share the 2-part Pharmacy Podcast series with you, my fab 13, on writing!

If I had a nickel for every time I got asked about this one, I’d be a rich lady. Now, I can just point them to this very post – enjoy this two part series for free with my dear friend and mentor, Dr. Elaine Voci!

Part I

Part II

Enjoy!  And let me know via twitter (@ErinLAlbert) if there’s anything else you’d like to hear about writing and professionalism, particularly in healthcare!

Pharmacy and Healthcare Bill Watch

Sunday, March 13th, 2016

Pardon moi for a moment while I take some notes on recent legislation, both at the federal and Indiana State levels on pharmacy and healthcare stuff:


CMS Covered Outpatient Drugs Final Rule - This one is a done deal.

Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act – passed the Senate on 3/10/16. Over at the house now, this bill would try to reduce addiction in this country.  Cynical as it may sound, this bill might be too late.

Indiana State:

SB 28 – Medical Malpractice. Increases cap on med mal claims in Indiana. (Not that this one applies to pharmacists, since we’re not covered under med mal statute.) At gov’s desk.

SB 80 – Pseudoephedrine.  This was not my pick of the bills, but it was close. I like that pharmacists may refuse to sell PSE, but I also like that the IN Board of Pharmacy will be involved in creation of rules here. Leave it to the experts. At gov’s desk.

SB165 – Codifies HIP 2.0. At gov’s desk.

HB1235 – Stricter drug penalties for dealing. At gov’s desk.

Feeling the Burn…Out

Saturday, March 12th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-03-12 at 10.55.04 AMNo, I’m not talking politics here…I’m talking about burnout.  While I’m focused on my first profession of pharmacy here when it comes to preventing burnout, it can apply to any and all professions, really.

First off, Americans suck at taking their vacation days.  So much so that we’re leaving about 226 million vacation days on the table each year.  Millennials are the worst when it comes to taking their vacation.  I think high paying/higher prestige professions are even worse about vacation, because we’re all pretty much Type A, and we believe that the world will fall apart if we leave the office for hospital for a week or two.

Hint: it won’t.

Pharmacists are clearly burned out. So are pharmacy students.  Even preceptors can feel the burn.

Of all the research I did on this topic (which is over at diigo here thus far and summarized over at The Pharmacy Podcast), it said very clearly we really should be taking our vacations.* There are many benefits to taking time off, like–

  • It makes us more creative
  • It makes us more innovative
  • We’re more productive when we return to the office
  • We’re less likely to get burnout when we go away

One of my all-time favorite experiences of my life has been my sabbatical from the day job in Fall 2013.  I planned it long before I took it. I came up with lots of possibilities and explored them.  I even in a type A fashion created a binder full of possibilities.  While I ended up doing radically different things than all the options I planned, it was actually super fun to plan.  To think of all the possibilities was – liberating.  I love the TED talk about the design firm as well that shuts down for a year after every 7 years.

Now I know this is extreme vacationing, and we all might not have that type of long-term time off, are you absolutely sure you can’t take a sabbatical, or at least your vacation time off?  Companies are starting to mandate it.

Pharmacists are stressed out. We’ve been asked to do even more with less.  I totally get it.  But as someone who is really working 4 jobs right now, I also know that if I don’t get away on my vacation time, I get extra crispy and lose the capacity for innovative ideas.  We’ve got to take our vacations to restore and rejuvenate ourselves – if for no one else, our employers…and our patients!


*As an interesting side note, in many pharmacist salary surveys online, I did not find where anyone was tracking vacation as a benefit for pharmacists within the surveys.  In a reddit post, it appears that retail pharmacists earn between 2-3 weeks of paid time off, hospital pharmacists about the same, and from my experience with pharma industry, pharmacists can earn up to 5 weeks of paid time off to the extreme.  But, because of our poor reporting of this metric in salary surveys, that in and of itself is a message that we don’t value vacation as part of the benefit package.  Should we?