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Posts Tagged ‘pharmacist’

Digital Goodies

Thursday, June 22nd, 2017

I turned a few of the popular, useful things into immediate digital downloads for you, my fab 13. Here they are!

Enjoy! And I hope you find these useful.

Imitation is NOT the Most Sincere Form of Flattery

Monday, June 5th, 2017
Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 9.46.52 PM

My cat, Jack, the original thinker.

Someone allegedly once said (Colton?) that ‘imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.’

Both I, along with my cat Jack, respectfully disagree.

Cats kind of do their own thing, and that is probably one of the biggest reasons why I’m a cat person over a dog person. (Although, nothing against dogs, I just grew up with cats; I’m an equal opportunity pet lover.) But my preference isn’t the point.

The point is, I appreciate that cats are original.

‘Copycat,’ on the other hand, is a term with unclear origins, but there’s one thing I do know: the term is not a flattering one. It basically means “imitation of another,” and originally was associated with crime.

Lately, it seems there’s a lot of similarities among several pharmacists who write and publish with very similar topics to each other, which is rather incestuous, in my mind. Nearing 290,000 pharmacists in the US, along with hundreds of different types of practice settings available, one would think there’s less similarities. I’ll also come out and say it – some of my own work has been copied recently and not so recently, and while I’ve never read any of it beyond the titles, it’s not a sincere form of flattery; it’s just a copy of something that’s already been done. You’re frankly not doing anyone in the universe a service by regurgitating others’ work…we need you to be solving original problems–ESPECIALLY in healthcare!

On the other hand, everything has probably already been done before, and while I understand that counter argument–that’s not an excuse to pump out second rate stuff and imitate others incessantly. That energy should go toward making progress instead of wasting it.

So, I wanted to write a quick post with some gentle suggestions I personally use to be original. These below are steps I employ to try and do innovative work that is not copycat. I’m going to go ahead and ironically imitate myself here, because most of what I’m about to write I’ve already written in other places…

7 Steps to Be an Original (And Less of a Copycat):

  1. Hang out with people not like you - There’s a joke in pharmacy (and I’m sure several other professions) that it is small and somewhat incestuous, in that you always see and hear from the same people over and over at pharmacy meetings every year. Pharmacy also has one of the highest rates of marriage in the same profession, in that both spouses are much more likely to both be pharmacists (according to a calculator produced in the NY Times a couple of years ago). It really is a small world. So, remedy this if your profession is small too and - get out and hang out in other worlds! Hang with people not like you. Some of my most creative friends have absolutely nothing to do with healthcare and pharmacy, and I LOVE working with them, because they force me to get out of the pharmacy and healthcare boxes and think differently. You can do this virtually by following people online too – just DO NOT COPY them! You can also study what their big gnarly problems are and how they are solving them. Could those solutions apply to your industry?
  2. Read books outside of your comfort zone - After 4-7 years of undergrad/pharmacy school, most pharmacy students are burned out on reading and studying pharmacology, med chem and pharmacy administration. If you’ve been cramming for your professional credentials, and you’ve earned them, do yourself a favor and take a break from them on occasion. Read a thriller, or a trashy novel, or try to read a book on the topic you never had the chance to study in undergrad that you were fascinated by. I’m always trying to learn more about quantum physics. (Although, much of it still blows my mind–I wonder how healthcare works in the other parallel universes?) I love art. I’m reading about ethical decision making in big data right now. READ stuff that isn’t in your normal profession. Same idea as #1 – it will force your brain to work in different ways.
  3. Listen to podcasts that are different - Same reasons as 1 & 2, and they’re free and perfect for you if you commute and/or work out regularly.
  4. Attend at least one meeting outside of your profession once a year - This year, I went to HIMSS17. I’m going to #BlogHer17. I spoke at SXSW. These are 3 meetings I’ve never been part of or attended before…ever. I’m speaking at Indy Big Data and Social Media Dames (#SMDames17) this year, on topics that have very little or nothing to do with pharmacy. While I admit that I’m very lucky to have the time and resources to attend and participate in all these meetings, you may need to make some tough choices and only attend one meeting outside your profession due to time or financial constraints. If this means cutting back on your first profession’s meetings, it still might be worth it for you, IF you’re constantly trying to find new ideas, rather than recycling everybody else’s stuff inside your profession.
  5. Focus on your own stuff - Comparison really is the thief of joy. Both of these aforementioned statements I did not originate – to be clear, but I do practice these to stay original. As I stated above, I pay attention to what’s going on out there in my profession, but if I see copycat articles, I really don’t read past the headlines. I’m focused on what I’m going to do NEXT. What’s still missing? What’s an unmet need? Frankly, healthcare needs more innovation anyway – so I’m going to focus on fixing more problems over here, rather than wasting my time on critiquing copycats over there. If you’ve actually been lucky enough to find something that has never been tried or done before–run with it*–you just received a fabulous gift from the universe! (*As long as it’s not going to hurt you or someone else.)
  6. Travel - Get out of your daily ‘to-do.’ While travel sounds expensive, it doesn’t have to be…hop on a bus or in your car and drive to a city an hour away for dinner. Take a road trip on your weekend off. Go see how other people live! Get out of your routine. The weirder and the more remote the travel, the better. When I went to Beijing for a month, I appreciated small things, like being able to drink tap water, and ICE when I got home. I don’t take cold drinks and potable tap water for granted anymore! Travel makes you appreciate different ways of living, but most of all, makes you appreciate the small things that we really take for granted every day in our lives, and again forces you to adapt and flexibly think about your approach to the universe.
  7. Thank people who help you - The world owes each of us absolutely nothing. Kick entitlement to the curb immediately. When people help you out, call them out on it and celebrate! Catch them doing something good, and share it with the world. Send them a thank you note. Ask them how you can help them in return. Never skip over the gratitude part and just start copying them, either. That’s a big middle finger to them helping you, actually.  You’re already in the social capital hole with them in the first place, and then to turn around and copy them is just digging yourself into a deeper hole, which eventually will come back to bite you in the dupa via karmic retribution. (If I catch people doing this once with me, they don’t get a second chance to do it again.  And yes, I have a clear list in my mind of the guilty here, and while I won’t name names, I’ll never, ever forget who made this naughty list. I digress.) Gratitude can become a spiral upward prophecy, because if you start thanking people around you, they in turn return the favor and pay it forward. Sometimes people aren’t even aware of the impact that they have on us for original ideas, and so when we find that eureka moment and it was due to a chat we had with someone, we need to recognize and foster that behavior by promoting gratitude. It also can help us attract more innovators and creatives into our lives. Most of all, people are helping you with their most precious resource of all – their time. And time you never get back, so be sure you’re approaching your gratitude with enthusiasm, because you got lucky that others helped you – they didn’t have to!

There. I wanted to share this on this very crazy Monday with you, as these seven steps really help me be more creative in the work that I do and deliver to the universe. Let’s keep it as original as we can out there – the universe needs us to stop wasting time being copycats and start being original problem solvers!


Erin Albert is a writer, podcaster, pharmacist, curator, lawyer and original thinker–the last bit of which she shares in common with her cat, Jack.


Another Educational Angle for Pharmacists: Teaching and Learning Certificates

Sunday, August 7th, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-08-07 at 9.39.42 AMAs I continue the #5RoadsOutofRetailPharmacy series for the Pharmacy Podcast, one item on education I didn’t even think of right away that might be useful (without a 5 figure price tag), is a teaching or teaching and learning certificate program.

These were originally designed for residents and fellows to learn to how to…shockingly, teach and formalize learning for other pharmacy students, in preparation for the residents to teach in the classroom and outside the classroom as a preceptor.

However, there is value in all pharmacists considering these programs to enhance their knowledge and skill sets.

So, I have begun tracking the teaching and learning certificate programs that I am aware of on the pharmacist and healthcare certifications tracker.  Scroll all the way down to the bottom and you’ll see a few.  If you know of others, by all means, tweet me at @ErinLAlbert and I’ll add them to the list.

Pharmacy Stuff

Saturday, November 21st, 2015

Pardon my organizing for a moment, but I need to warehouse all of the pharmacy stuff I’m tracking or updating online in one post.  (And BTW, I still don’t know what the proper way is to represent one’s social media/online stuff on a CV; if you have a clever way to do this, I’m listening!)

Clean up on aisle 2015….

Pharmacy 2015, 2016, 2017+ National Meetings

Pharmacist Certifications (and in Healthcare)

Butler COPHS CE:

Tools & Techniques for Preceptor Development (homestudy)

Advocate to Vaccinate

Butler COPHS Ex Ed page on Faceplace, and Twitter

Pharmacy Times/Pharmacy Careers Articles

The Pharmacy Podcast interviews

The Student-Driven Open Access Multimedia Journal – BU Well

Slideshare – where I post slides from presentations

LinkedIn long posts – some of which are pharmacy-focused

I’ve posted a couple of times on how I use the most awesome SurveyMonkey in my work at their blog

And incoming board member for ASPL.

That, I think for now is it.

Rocktober Wrap Up

Friday, November 6th, 2015

Yesterday was love a red head day.  Today is love a lawyer day.  So, thanks for the double love if you’ve visited my tiny corner of the world!

It’s been crazy around here of late, and my posts have suffered for it.  But I am working out here…really!  Here’s a few things still sort of in beta, but since all of the fab 13 are cool enough to keep it on the D/L, I thought I’d share…

1. Interview with Abdul-Hakim Shabazz on drug crisis in the US and Indiana – This is a huge problem.  Sixty minutes also had a featured story last weekend on the heroin problem in our neighbor next door, Ohio.  Here are my show notes on Indiana.  Abdul stated he was going to put the interview in a couple of places soon.

If any of politicos are reading this blog, I think we need to get naloxone OTC in the 2016 legislative session in Indiana for this problem.  We also need to get more needle exchange programs up and running.  And, I think we need to stay as far away as possible from legalizing marijuana right now, because so many people state that it is the gateway to heavier drug abuse.  (I know that won’t be popular with the tax revenue generating types, but tough.)

Last but certainly not least here, my pharmacist friends are getting robbed. A lot. We are #1 in the country for pharmacy robberies  now.  Indiana pharmacists are under the gun–literally.  We need to consider stricter and longer penalties for juveniles who choose to rob pharmacists.

(BTW – if you are a pharmacist, please take 5 minutes to complete the annual Continuing Education (CE) needs assessment – it helps us figure out what programming and education we need to put together for 2016 for pharmacists.  Link is here.)

2. Global health – In one of the classes I teach, students are giving global health system presentations on several different countries around the world.  The last day is Monday.  What is so striking about this is that every country brought up thus far has had significantly lower costs, and better care (through metrics like infant mortality and life expectancy) than the U.S. It’s time to really start looking to see how other companies do healthcare.  Our system is a mess.

3. Vook reports – In the entrepreneurship in healthcare elective this week, students had to turn in 3-minute vook reports, or video book reports on one business book they read during the semester.  Then they had to comment on each other’s videos.  Great books like Lean In, Jab Jab Jab Right Hook, the 4 Hour Work Week, and Zero to One were all discussed.  After taking altMBA this summer and having this video assignment, I wanted to try it in class.  The students made it look a lot easier than it actually was to create videos!  Awesome!  Also, put up a social entrepreneurship lecture for ethics class at Butler this week too.  Last in this realm, I created my first ever business plan canvas on an idea I’m helping out Butler on…stay tuned on what that exactly is – but try the one page canvas if you have a business idea – it’s a good place to start.

4. SQL – I’m trying to learn mySQL for work.  For those of you not like Dakota and into big data, it’s relational-based data software. Think Excel on steroids, or Excel with the ability to pull multiple datasets from multiple Excel spreadsheets in queries.  Anyway, after a 2.5 hour training session today online at Coursera, my brain is a little fried.

5. Continuing Education – We almost have a new homestudy CE up for pharmacists – it’s undergoing a final review now – but here it is on immunizations.  Thanks to our speaker, Carrie Jung, for experimenting with us at the day job on this…  And our annual needs assessment is up – if you’re a pharmacist and could take 5 minutes to fill it out – I’d REALLY appreciate it!

6. ASPL – I’m speaking in Miami next week about BU Well at the American Society for Pharmacy Law annual meeting.  Super pumped, because the pharmacy law educators for the most part are pharmacists and attorneys – so they easily get the idea of law review.  Presented BU Well at the IUPUI Assessment Conference too – that went pretty well–although, I still don’t really yet know how to assess an “awesome” infographic vs. an “OK” one….

7. STEMPrincess2 – of course is coming – but surprise emails have popped into the inbox for last minute details…  And there’s the two teams of children’s books cooking at Butler – Ralphie and his insulin pump adventure, of course, and Andi, Chase and the Mysterious Case

8. Class where I’m the student – On top of ASPL in Miami next week, I’m also attending a one-day course on Presenting Data and Information, which looks like it will teach us design strategies for conveying information.  Maybe I’ll get some infographic ideas here.  Oh, yeah, and #SMDames15 is coming up on Friday, November 20th!

9. Cleaned up the 2015/16 Pharmacy Meetings Calendar and the Certifications Grid.  Super pumped about some of the meetings next year!!!

10. Other – working on some big stuff for 2016 this week too.  Stuff, unfortunately that I can’t talk about just quite yet.  But hopefully, soon…what I hope to accomplish here in 2016 is to reach a bigger audience, particularly in healthcare.  We shall see how this pans out…

So, what have you been up to?  Maybe soon we can catch up and discuss.  I’ll bring the redheaded lawyer along…

55 Cool Jobs for Pharmacists

Saturday, September 12th, 2015

MPI don’t know why I didn’t write this post earlier, but better late than never.  After seeing this post today over at Pharmacy Times, I thought it was time.

One of the most frequently asked questions I get is about “What can I do in pharmacy?” as a prof.  As someone who has had a lot of different gigs in pharmacy (or, should I say with a couple of pharmacy degrees), there’s a LOT more out there than community practice (retail) and hospital pharmacy. (NOT that there’s anything wrong with either!)  Below, I’m going to lay out jobs that I personally know pharmacists have done or are doing.


1. Wellness program director – employer
2. Wellness program writer
3. MTM counselor/consultant
4. LTC consultant pharmacist
5. Closed door pharmacy pharmacist
6. New drug namer
7. Run a pharmacy association – state or disease-specific
8. Run a pharmacy association – national or international
9. Run a state board of pharmacy
10. Health outcomes pharmacist
11. Drug information pharmacist – at a drug info portal (like Medispan or FDB)
12. Drug info internal at drug company
13. Field based MSL
14. DEA toxicologist
15. Regulatory affairs
16. Health outcomes liaison
17. Clinical Research Operations
18. Pharmacovigilance
19. Clinical Trial manager/designer
20. Publication planning at pharma co/biotech/device co
21. Manage clinical trial operational budgets and/or contracts
22. Clinical Trial Materials Manager
23. FDA – review new drugs
24. FDA – review generics
25. Pharma brand management
26. Government affairs for healthcare or pharmacy
27. Serve in public office
28. Academic pharmacy – teach
29. Academic pharmacy – administration
30. Consultant at big consulting firm
31. Auditing – PBMs
32. Inspecting – pharmacists – at Boards of pharmacy
33. Managing a drug formulary
34. Heading Medicaid or health and human services for a state
35. Working at CMS
36. Publishing drug information
37. Medical writer
38. Book publisher
39. Recon/info for hedge funds or Wall Street firms
40. Academia – administration at a University (not the same thing as a college of pharmacy)
41. M&M candy coater – quality assurance
42. Compounding pharmacist
43. Teacher of techs
44. Test question writer
45. Compliance manager (regulatory – drug companies)
46. Inventor (Dr. Pepper, flavors for liquid drugs, etc.)
47. Drug pricing specialist
48. Veterinarian Pharmacy
49. Wellness coach
50. Editor
51. Working at NIH
52. HIT pharmacist
53. Bioinformatics
54. Epidemiologist/public health
55. Transitions of care/home health pharmacist

There. I probably could come up with 50+ more, but what would be the fun of that?  Every pharmacist must find her own path. After all, that’s part of the fun!



Top 10 Free Resources for Pharmacists

Monday, May 25th, 2015

Let’s face it – the pharmaceutical and biotech industries move way too fast for books to keep up anymore.  So, as a pharmacist, who do I follow in the industry for up to date cutting-edge info?  Better yet, what resources do I follow that are…free?  Here’s my top 10 list!

Top Ten (Free) Pharmacy Resources

1. Pharmacy Times – FULL DISCLOSURE: I write for them.  But that aside, this is a great resource that hits my twitter feed early and often about what’s happening with drug trends all over the country.  They also have good career advice (through their other pub, Pharmacy Careers). They are also experimenting with video updates – which, I dig!

2. Pharmacy Podcast – Once again, DISCLOSURE – I’ve been on the show.  But, I’ve learned by listening to this (now in my car, thanks to Stitcher) about really cutting edge trends in the business of pharmacy.  HIMSS15 and legislative/case law updates in pharmacy are just two items I recently learned more about through this podcast.

3. MPR – My favorite bits about MPR are the new quick drug updates–prescription and over-the-counter (OTC).  They do they best job of getting new drugs on my radar screen.

4. Eye on FDA – I don’t have time to follow all of the federal government’s stuff on the pharma/biotech industries – but this blog does on the big, important stuff.

5. ASPL – DISCLOSURE: I’m a member.  The American Society for Pharmacy Law has a great frequent newsletter on major case law around the country by subject matter, a list of other pharmacy law educators across the US, and a pharmacy case law compendium.  I can’t get most of this anywhere else!  AND–their annual meeting allows double credit of CE/CLE for pharmacist-attorneys!  Awesome.

6. Drug Topics – DISCLOSURE – I’ve written for them.  They are also good with a frequent email to my inbox, and are good at poking the box of controversial topics in pharmacy practice (and trust me, there are a LOT of controversial topics in pharmacy practice these days…).

7. 2015 List of pharmacy meetings – DISCLOSURE: I curated this list.  I couldn’t really find one central place to look at pharmacy meetings all over the US for the year so I could plan out which meetings I’d be targeting/attending or speaking at…so I curated one.  I also shared it with the universe – what have I missed?

8. List of pharmacist and healthcare certifications – DISCLOSURE – another home-grown list.  I started noticing odd/unique nomenclature around a lot of pharmacists on LinkedIn, so I started looking in to certifications.  There are a TON of them, even beyond BPS’s certifications.  I’ve also been personally interested in learning more about coaching.  Read away and go niche if you’d like!  Better yet – if I missed any, please tell me!

9. Drug Channels – probably one of my favorites for specialty pharmacy.  And, if you don’t already know, specialty pharmacy is the area of pharmacy with the fastest, most explosive growth presently.  Of course, there’s Armada’s annual meeting that focuses on specialty pharmacy too.

10. Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO) – This is probably my favorite site to recommend for students in pharmacy school who want to head into industry after graduation.  And, they have FellowMatch, which is like ASHP’s residency Match, but this one is focused on industry and academic fellowships in pharmacy. (And DISCLAIMER: I’ve interviewed and written about this service.)

There are several, if not hundreds, even thousands of blogs/websites/magazines/podcasts/radio/video resources for pharmacy & pharmacy law.  But these are a few of my favorites.  As I said before, pharmacy is changing so fast, print books are out of date before they hit Amazon.  So, in fast moving industries like pharmacy, it’s imperative to stay up to date on information.

What is your favorite free healthcare or pharmacy resource, if you’re in pharmacy?  Let me know!


Has Pharmacy Specialization Hurt the Profession?

Sunday, December 28th, 2014

Long Term Care
Social and Administrative
Community Practice
Managed Care
Generic Manufacturers

What do these all have in common?

Well, they’re all different types of pharmacy practice settings.

Great! We have some variety in the profession – and I’ve always said different flavors of any profession are usually a good thing.  They give us variety, and help us shine in ways that make us stand out.  We can find career niches that make us passionate about practice, develop ourselves professionally, and show the world that variety is a great thing within our profession.

However, after a twitter conversation yesterday – I’m starting to wonder if we’ve shot ourselves in the foot as a profession by specialization.

Allow me to explain.

First, I tweeted my recent query on why there was no pharmacy leadership association.  After all, the nurses and docs have one, so why not pharmacists?  The response I got via twitter was that perhaps pharmacy is so scattered and disjointed now that different sub-specialities of pharmacy actually think that if one area wins, another area of pharmacy loses.

I of course then threw out the “a rising tide lifts all boats” argument to that (around the context of provider status), which the tweeter replied, “not necessarily.”

This isn’t good, people.  If the 90K pharmacist pool in the U.S. can’t agree on what is good for the profession at a wider lens, or starts uniting only within sub-specialties and adopt the “us vs. them” mentality within the profession, this is going to hurt pharmacy.  And candidly, I’ve always personally felt there was this unwritten “hierarchy” of pharmacy practice, where some sub-specialties thought they were “better” than others.

This. Must. Stop. Now.

If we want to be taken seriously as a profession, we need to unite on the big picture items.  Provider status is an example (and I at this point in my career think it is a good choice, but I understand there are strong counterarguments against it–but as a profession, let’s pick a side and stick together!)  Leadership development is yet another example–EVERY profession needs leaders in a VARIETY of practice areas.  And there certainly is no one magic bullet that is going to make pharmacy practice “better” or “stronger.”  But, I can tell you that if we are divided on the big picture items, we’re doomed as a profession.  Without supporting each other and the different flavors of pharmacy practice, we’re only hurting ourselves and our profession in the end.


Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Peeps! (Some of you already know this, since you were backers of the project, and I already shared with you…)

I’ve been waiting for this moment since last fall, when I started the Kickstarter campaign for the #STEMPrincess Project: friends, the books are coming MONDAY!!!!

Seriously, there is no better feeling to an author than cracking open the first box off the skid.  But that’s not the best part.  The best part of THIS particular project is that it involved all my friends and even some anonymous donors who MADE IT HAPPEN WITH ME!

They say no woman is an island.  Nor is a writer.  THANK YOU if you supported or backed this project.  I can’t wait to roll it out!

Last, the publisher’s book links are already up – ssshhhh! Here they are:

The Amazing Adventures of the Princesses from Planet STEM

Oh, and the OTHER new book:

The New Pharmacist: 46 Doses of Advice

Squeeeeeeeeee!  See you Monday – join the picture fun over at the Faceplace page for #STEMP if you want to see it unfold real time!

We Interrupt the Kickstarter #STEMPrincess Project…For a Chat with Dr. Julie Koehler

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

for yet another episode of: DID the #STEMPrincess grow up and live happily ever after?  This time, we chat with Dr. Julie Koehler of Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

(As well, this is in honor of American Pharmacists’ Month!)

Remember, you can be what you can see.  It was important to present to the universe amazing women already rocking STEM, even though we don’t have enough yet in the fold!  Please make sure you’re encouraging boys and girls to be whatever they want to be when they grow up.  With enough hard work and dedication, there is a STAR in all of us, in STEM, or out!

Another #STEMPrincess Episode: Did the STEM Princess really live happily ever after? With Dr. Julie Koehler from Erin Albert on Vimeo.