Today was P-1 orientation day at Butler. For those of you who don’t know the wonderful world of pharmacy academia, “P-1″ denotes the first professional year of a pharmacy program. Typically, the Freshman and Sophomore years are pre-professional years. P-1s are typically juniors in college, or their 3rd year of higher ed.
When entering the professional phase, we put a LOT of emphasis on the word, “Professional.” I caught myself saying it a lot today. In fact, I’m PRO-professional! But, what exactly is it? The American Pharmacists Association defines it this way. But being the final year law student I am…? I actually think about it like property.
In Property law class, property “rights” are thought of as a “bundle of sticks”. You have different rights within that bundle of sticks. So professionalism in pharmacy could be thought of in the same way. There’s dressing correctly–ironing your white coat and wearing your name tag. That’s a stick of professionalism. There’s respectful interactions–addressing one’s professors respectfully and in accordance with their background, and being polite to agree to disagree. That’s another stick. There’s doing the right thing–being ethical, first doing no harm, keeping patient information confidential. That’s another stick. There’s being on time–doing the work, showing up, etc. And another stick. There’s also leadership, and while I’ve already talked about this in a previous blog, it is yet another stick in the bundle. There’s professional identity online too–managing your “second” life instead of just your first life.
You get the picture here, methinks.
I’m pro-being-professional. The profession of pharmacy demands it, because we have people’s lives in our hands. Many other professions? Same deal. There are a lot of facets to professionalism, and while each profession has a little different spin on them, the bundle of sticks pretty much remains the same in my book.
To the incoming P-1 pharmacy class at Butler University – congratulations and welcome! And remember what Dr. Albert told you today–keep that Professional Helmet on–you’re on the clock as a full time professional beginning today, and henceforth 24/7/365.