October is known for Halloween, pumpkin spice, and apple cider, but did you know it’s also associated with American Pharmacists Month? Nope? Well, if not, you are not alone.
Most people don’t know that October is also used to honor pharmacists in America and throughout the world! The good news is, even if you have never heard of this very important observance, there is still time for you to learn more about it – with the help of this highly reliable article, of course. So, keep reading and learn what makes American Pharmacists Month so dang special!
What is American Pharmacists Month?
During the month of October, the public recognizes American Pharmacists Month, which celebrates the importance of pharmacists, throughout the country. Note: National Pharmacists Month 2017 not only celebrates the accomplishments of pharmacists in America but also worldwide. So, when was this observance originally created? Well, in 2004, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) granted the month of October, “American Pharmacists Month.”
And, since its inception, the goal has been to promote awareness and educate the public (i.e. patients, physicians, lawmakers, and other stakeholders) on the many health care services (beyond simply dispensing medications) that pharmacists provide to patients, throughout the U.S. Thus, the purpose of this month-long celebration (American Pharmacists Month 2017 and National Pharmacists Month 2017) is to acknowledge the influence pharmacists have on enhancing patient care, monitoring medication usage, and expanding patient access to prescription medications – in every nation, country, city, and town.
Therefore, the aim of Pharmacists Month is not only to tout the accomplishments of pharmacists, but also motivate the community to learn more about services pharmacists provide, hence, the popular pharmacy slogan – “Know your pharmacist – Know your medicine.”
What is a Pharmacist?
Well, you may be wondering what is a “pharmacist…” Well, pharmacists are health professionals, who are pharmaceutical experts. Whoa! What a mouthful! These professionals collaborate with your physician, nurse, and/or nurse practitioner to provide both expert guidance and top-notch information on health conditions and medications. As mentioned briefly above, pharmacists also distribute prescription medications to you, while explaining how to safely ingest them. Moreover, some pharmacists provide yearly physicals, sports examinations, health/wellness screenings, and shots/immunizations. They also monitor your prescription medication usage and offer helpful tips on lifestyle changes you can make to improve your health.
How Can Pharmacists Help You?
Pharmacists can help you by:
- Verifying your physician’s medication instructions (i.e. dosage, interactions, & frequency)
- Recommending ways that you can safely take your medicine (i.e. using a pillbox, taking with or without food, waiting for a specified time before eating, etc.)
- Ensuring that your prescriptions won’t negatively interact with any other medications you are taking or any health problems you currently have
- Informing you about potential side-effects associated with your prescribed medication
- Administering vaccinations and steroid shots
- Advising you on general health topics (i.e. healthy diet, regular exercise, and reducing stress, etc.) and showing you how to properly use medical equipment, so you don’t get injured
- Completing insurance forms and working with insurance companies to ensure that you have access to the medications you need
- Maintaining accurate prescription medicine and health records
- Informing other healthcare practitioners about new and innovative treatments
How Can Pharmacists Celebrate National Pharmacists Month 2017 & Promote Pharmacy Awareness?
There are many ways that pharmacists can promote education during National Pharmacists Month 2017, such as:
- Reaching out to local radio stations and television stations and asking them to feature stories on American pharmacists
- Participating in public forums with other American pharmacists to discuss pharmacy services and the importance of using safe medication protocols
- Visiting middle school, junior high, and highs schools, and introducing students to pharmacy careers
- Conducting interest-based pharmacy tours with people of all ages, so they can better understand what you do and what you offer
- Visiting local senior citizen centers/assisted living facilities, and talking with them about their medicines (i.e. benefits and side-effects)
- Volunteering to be a guest speaker at local forums, such as public libraries.
- Introducing staff members (i.e. pharmacists and pharmacy technicians) and highlighting their expertise by posting profiles of them on Facebook and Twitter.
- Sharing more about who you are – outside of work. More specifically, set up a social media account and allow followers to get a peek inside of your personal life (i.e. interests, passions, likes, and dislikes)
- Creating a scholarship to honor pharmacists, who epitomize the best qualities of pharmacists
In summary, this October is a good time to learn more about American Pharmacists Month and National Pharmacists Month 2017. It is important that we acknowledge the significant contributions pharmacists make to our health care and the community. It is also important to recognize just how dedicated these professionals are to providing good patient care. The truth is, a pharmacist’s role is constantly changing and evolving. And, even though it was once common for pharmacists to focus solely on preparing and dispensing prescription medications, their role now involves also providing medication therapy, so patients get the most out of their medications.
Smart Retelling RX. (2016). 23 ways to celebrate American pharmacists month. Retrieved from https://join.healthmart.com/marketing-promotions/23-ways-celebrate-american-pharmacists-month/
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Get to know your pharmacist.
Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/features/pharmacist-month/index.html
Elements. (2016). Know your pharmacist, know your medicine: 8 ways to celebrate American pharmacists month. Retrieved from https://www.pbahealth.com/know-your-pharmacist-know-your-medicine-8-ways-to-celebrate-american-pharmacists-month/
Market Watch. (2017). October is American pharmacists month. Retrieved from http://www.marketwatch.com/story/october-is-american-pharmacists-month-2017-09-28