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Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist Campaign

Kathy Karas, R.Ph.
OPA Public & Professional Relations Committee

October 2006 is American Pharmacists Month and what better slogan than "Know Your Medicine, Know Your Pharmacist" is there to use. It's a month designated to pharmacists and the pharmacy profession to "toot" our own horn and let everyone know how important we are to the health care system.

If you want to do something to increase the awareness of the month, as well as your profession, but you do not know where to start, here are some helpful tips.

1. Decorate the pharmacy with banners, posters and balloons using American Pharmacists Month as the theme.
2. Do a health fair at your store, a mall, or somewhere in your community. Promote the profession by doing screenings or handing out literature.
3. Replace your bags with bags advertising American Pharmacists Month or print stickers and put them over your current bags.
4. Answer your phone by saying, "Hello, this is 'OPA' Pharmacy and we are celebrating American Pharmacists Month. How may I assist you?"
5. Schedule a Brown Bag medication review at your store and use American Pharmacists Month as the theme. Resources for such a program can be found at $$Link
6. Speak to a mom's club, Rotary, senior citizen's group, etc. as to what your duties are as a pharmacist, and how they have changed in the past several years. Stress to them how the pharmacy profession is a vital component of quality health care. You could also present the ASK program. ASK stands for Answers, Service, Knowledge. The ASK program is a PowerPoint program developed by OPA with the patient as the audience. The program emphasizes how the pharmacist can assist the patient in the safe and appropriate use of medications. It is free to OPA members and can be obtained either as hard copy or electronically. All you have to do is find an audience and follow the script!
7. Have an open house at your pharmacy and invite the community and health professionals.
8. Schedule a day to give flu shots and have a pharmacist administer them. If you need a pharmacist certified in giving flu shots, call the OPA office.
9. Write a short article for your local newspaper as to what you do or what the profession is all about. You could also make copies of the article and hand them out to your customers in the store.
10. If you work in a hospital, create a display about pharmacy in the lobby. Include information about pharmacy services and photos of the pharmacy staff. Visit patients in their hospital rooms and introduce yourself. You could also sponsor a drug information call-in day.
11. Many small towns have local cable and radio stations. Contact them to see if they will do a one-on-one interview with you, or if they would include something about October being American Pharmacists Month in one of their public service announcements.
12. Encourage your local elected officials (mayors, city managers and county executives) to designate October as American Pharmacists Month. The proclamation signing ceremony can serve as a great photo opportunity for you and your store (as well as the elected official). Have the proclamation ready when they arrive at the store, and make sure you describe the valuable contributions pharmacy makes to the community and their constituents.
13. Don't forget to include your technicians and pharmacy interns in your programs/activities. They can help you in promoting the concept of American Pharmacists Month in your store and in your community. The pharmacy students could go out to high schools and talk about a career in pharmacy, as well as share what their classes are all about. The technicians could be recognized on National Pharmacy Technicians Day (October 24).

Here are some other helpful resources:

  • At $$Link
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    0$$, you will find sample news releases, sample public service announcements, sample articles and sample patient education articles. These articles cover such topics as transitioning the pharmacist from prescription provider to health care manager, how to get the most from your pharmacist and other such related topics. All you need to do is to share these articles with your customers, media, or newspapers.
  • Check out the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) website, $$Link
    0$$. There are ideas for planning your activities, as well as other helpful ideas.
  • Check out the OPA Resource Center in the Hot News section of OPA's website. You will find videos, PowerPoint programs, program outlines, etc. on a variety of topics. These materials are available on loan to OPA members at no charge.

If you are not presently promoting yourself and your profession, this is an excellent time to reach out to the community and your patients. Don't let the promotion stop in October; each and every day we need to promote ourselves to the health care community and make them aware of how important pharmacists are to quality health care.

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