Breaking the Rules
Normally, my rule on this particular blog is to NOT discuss my first profession, pharmacy. But today, I’m going to break that rule, because I want to talk about some other fundamentals that we need for the future of this profession.
The freshmen at Butler University today had the privilege of hearing Daniel Pink talk about the frosh book this year, A Whole New Mind. They were lucky. They heard stories about the future, which maybe all of us didn’t get when we were freshmen. But if you’re familiar with Pink’s work, you know that he believes the left brain skills are a must have, while the right brain skills are also must have in the coming years.
One of the students in the audience (probably a pre-pharmacy major) asked why right brain creative skills are important to a pharmacist. While Pink’s answer was good (he discussed empathy primarily, along with good communication skills as a pharmacist), I thought I’d take the liberty of expanding the answer to that question as a pharmacist….so here we go:
Being right brained, creative, able to look at the big picture, is a valuable skill in ANY profession. Now, more than ever, we need creative, clever healthcare professionals to be able to become change agents. To not only count by 5s and get the right medication in the right bottle at the right time to the right patient, but s/he must also be able to start and try new ideas. Actually, when you think about it, pharmacy used to be completely creative in the sense that it was almost 100% entrepreneurial. Everyone a hundred years or so ago went to pharmacy school and then went back to working at the independent pharmacy.
We’ve gotten 98% away from that mindset as a profession. The majority of pharmacists now work for someone else, so we as a profession have in essence done a 180 degree turn from our roots. However, there is tremendous opportunity here with the people who get the left brained skills, and bring the right brained creative as the icing on the top of the cake, because the profession is morphing as we speak.
The most valuable asset a pharmacist can bring to the table is the knowledge in her head. If she can write, clearly articulate, empathize with patients, and create new ideas in terms of cognitive services, she will be light years ahead for her own professional career development AND for her employer (whether it is herself who is the employer or someone else.) Those who dare to try new things and ideas out–including in the clinical setting–are going to be the change agents and leaders of the future, period.
So, right brainers of the world unite! I don’t care what major you pick as a freshman…pharmacy, accounting, finance, business, art, design, WHATEVER–don’t forget to use BOTH sides of your brain, and if you master that, you’ll be way ahead of your peers and a huge advocate for change and development within your profession in the future.