We want everyone to know about the important work you do every day. So we’ve put together lots of ideas to increase awareness and appreciation for pharmacists.
Find an activity that works in your practice setting—or come up with your own. Have fun and be sure to promote what you’re doing on social media!
• Decorate your area to let everyone know about American Pharmacists Month. You can easily download resources to spread the word.
• Schedule special health events that encourage patients with the message, “Talk to your pharmacist today.” Examples include promoting vaccinations, a flu shot clinic, or health screening day (e.g., cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis screenings).
• Hold one or more Medication Check-Ups. Invite your patients to bring all their medications—prescription and nonprescription—to the pharmacy during a specified time, so pharmacists can examine them for expiration dates, potential drug interactions, and other medication-related problems.
• Conduct “OTC tours” geared to the needs of specific groups—parents of young children, older adults, athletes, and others. Help each group understand how to select appropriate products for the conditions most likely to affect them. Emphasize the importance of reading product labels, knowing the active ingredients in certain medications, and consulting with the pharmacist when questions arise.
• Provide Medicare counseling to the seniors in your community. List information about your Medicare events in the local newspaper or send the information to the local radio station. You can also provide personalized counseling in your area by contacting your local office on aging. For the telephone number, visit www.eldercare.gov.
• Host a visit for your senator or representative. Provide your legislators with an invaluable view of the contemporary roles of pharmacists. Be sure they see a pharmacist in your facility conducting valued patient care services that warrant compensation, such as immunizations, comprehensive medication reviews, blood pressure screening, OTC counseling, and other clinical activities.
• Celebrate your pharmacy technicians. Get technicians involved by recognizing their contributions to your operation with a special shoutout on Pharmacy Technician Day, October 16, 2018.
• Visit patients in their hospital rooms. Introduce yourself and answer any questions they may have about pharmacy services or drug therapy.
• Talk to your administrator(s). Explain the goals and the patient education benefits of American Pharmacists Month to help build a sense of teamwork within the health system.
• Create a lobby display. Download resources that promote the pharmacy department.
• Schedule an open house. Invite all hospital employees to visit the pharmacy. Conduct brief tours that showcase daily pharmacy operations and describe how medications move from the initial physician order to the patient.
• Hold a community event, like a health fair. Be sure to publicize your event at least four weeks in advance with notices at libraries and grocery stores and announcements in local papers.
• Schedule special health events. Use this time to encourage patients with the message, “Talk to your pharmacist today.” Examples include a flu shot clinic or health screening day (e.g., cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis screenings).
• Hold one or more Medication Check-Ups. Invite your patients to bring all their medications—prescription and nonprescription—to the pharmacy so pharmacists can examine them for expiration dates, potential drug interactions, and other medication-related problems.
• Arrange “curbside consultations” for patients and caregivers. Encourage them to talk with pharmacists about medication therapy issues. Hold the sessions in a conference room or other relatively private area and allot 5 to 10 minutes per person.
• Decorate ambulatory care pharmacies. American Pharmacists Month resources are great ways to publicize your events. Ask your practice to put posters or other information in patient care rooms and other areas. Place informational brochures in the waiting room. Create a poster or framed photo of pharmacists working in the practice and place it in the waiting room. Have cake or other food for practice staff to celebrate the month.
• Invite residents and their guests to a special American Pharmacists Month party. Try holding an afternoon tea or other fun event. Make the atmosphere festive by decorating the designated areas with streamers and American Pharmacists Month resources. Provide patient education brochures, along with information about the various services the pharmacy/pharmacists provide to residents.
•Visit individual patients in their rooms and give them your full attention.
• Schedule informational programs for residents and/or their families. Possible topics include the pharmacist’s role in medication regimen review, the 10 most common and/or hazardous drug interactions among older patients, and basic medication safety. If possible, use this opportunity to explore launching a long-term monitoring program for residents.
• Develop lunch tray tent cards. Explain the goals of the pharmacy and the services that you offer to the residents. If they have questions about their medication, encourage them to speak with a pharmacist.
• Invite your local newspaper or television reporter to the party. You just might end up with some valuable publicity.
American Pharmacists Month is an excellent opportunity for student pharmacists and APhA Academy of Student Pharmacists (APhA–ASP) chapters to go out into the community and work with the public to promote the valuable services pharmacists provide.
Many of the ideas presented for the different practice settings could be adapted for use by student pharmacists and APhA–ASP chapters. Here are some more:
• If you work part-time in a pharmacy, help plan activities and events for American Pharmacists Month. Browse through this guide for ideas specific to your practice site.
• Make an effort to recognize pharmacy technicians, especially your coworkers, on Pharmacy Technician Day, October 16, 2018. Thank them for their support and the invaluable contributions they make to the profession.
• Write an article for your college newspaper or newsletter to raise awareness about pharmacists’ role in helping patients manage specific health conditions.
• Thank faculty and preceptors for working with you using messages, APhM goodies, or even a party.
• Schedule patient care and community outreach projects in October and promote American Pharmacists Month during these events.
• Hold a celebratory lunch for all student pharmacists. Invite an honored local practitioner to discuss the importance of leadership and professionalism in pharmacy.
• Get student pharmacists involved online. Use a hashtag like #APhM2018 to accompany photos from APhM events to be posted on APhA–ASP chapter social media accounts.
• Conduct free health screenings that offer Medication Check-Ups or other community education events for area businesses and civic organizations.
• Connect with your state pharmacy associations. Look for ways to participate and make suggestions for additional events.
• Promote careers in pharmacy. Visit a local high school to talk with students about careers in pharmacy.
• Reach out to local, regional, or national news outlets to get pharmacists and student pharmacists recognized.
Remember to engage the community at large when planning events to promote and celebrate American Pharmacists Month. It’s a natural time for pharmacists to increase their visibility and the public’s awareness of their contributions to community health. Patients of all ages can benefit from discussions and information about how to use medications safely and effectively.
• Approach the management of a local shopping mall about sponsoring a health fair or staging an exhibit or booth at which pharmacists and student pharmacists can answer shoppers’ questions about their medications.
• Create a medication information and education display for your local library, YMCA, or other suitable community site.
• Promote health and wellness in your community by hosting vaccination clinics, Medication Check-Ups, and disease screening and management activities.
• Visit elementary, middle, and high schools to talk with students about medication safety, the dangers of prescription drug abuse, and careers in pharmacy.
• Conduct Medication Check-Up reviews or offer medication information seminars at senior citizen centers and housing complexes.
• Give educational talks and presentations to civic, neighborhood, and church groups. Consider distributing patient education brochures and small American Pharmacists Month–themed giveaways.