I had no clue what a pharmacist did before I started at @UK_COP. Like most people, I thought I knew. But I didn't. Not really. Here’s what I’ve learned in 4 years. ⬇️ 🧵 ⬇️
The other day, I randomly came across another picture of Dr. Steven Stack holding up a @UK_COP mask at a press briefing and thought: THAT is what a pharmacist does. They save lives every day, get us masks, offer vaccines, and never ask us to notice.
They’re the type of people at our college who want to send out 8,500 masks because it’s the right thing to do to keep people safe. Pharmacists protect us when we don’t even know we need it. And holy sh*t do they work hard at it. 3/x
Retired pharmacist Gloria Doughty once said in an interview, ”Every pharmacist I know has saved someone’s life; they just don’t talk about it.” She was 91 when she told me that. (Gloria’s on the right). 4/x
And she’s right. They do—they save lives. When the pandemic hit, and we were all stressed out of our minds, it was our pharmacists who were out there debunking myths and relaying public health data to all of their communities. 5/x
Our college had a Town Hall with @CMartKY in April that was about 15 minutes of updates on COVID-19 data, and the remaining 45 minutes was all questions from students and employees. 6/x
We had folks asking if their loved ones could have the Zoom link because they wanted to be able to get clarity on everything they’d been hearing. They wanted to hear from an infectious disease expert—because pharmacists can be those too. 7/x
It was a pharmacist who provided reassurance and accessible data to over one hundred people on a random Monday afternoon. Why? Because we needed it, the community needed it. And that’s what pharmacists DO. They put their communities first. 8/x
If I have learned nothing else from this job, it’s that every pharmacist I know will go to extraordinary lengths for their patients and their people. And they’ll never tell us because it was never about the accolades. (Slightly frustrating as their PR person, but I get it.) 9/x
You know what else pharmacists do? They sift through data. They know how to pick up a scientific research paper and adjust their practice based on data. Seems like a pretty un-exciting skill, yeah? But that is a *superpower* right now. 10/x
I can ask the pharmacists I work with to explain to me the new study on masks, or the accuracy of the available #COVID19 tests, or best practices to prevent population spread, or the conflicting data on hydroxy.... (let’s not go there again). And. They. Can. Do. It. 11/x
Plus, their knowledge of #AllTheMeds lets them level up when we’re talking about symptoms and drug interactions. 12/x
And we haven’t even gotten to the part where pharmacists already knew how to do nasal swabs, so the PCR test was right up their alley. And when we get a COVID-19 vaccine? Yeah, pharmacists will offer those too. (They can also give flu vaccines if you need one). 13/x
Here in Kentucky, we’ve got at least one pharmacy in each of our 120 counties except one. (I confirmed this bc @vjvenditto spent an afternoon counting. We can make fun of how he spends his time later). 14/x
Pharmacists are incredibly accessible, making them essential for public health, ESPECIALLY DURING A PANDEMIC. 15/x
Gonna say that again for the folks in the back. 🗣 Pharmacists’ knowledge and accessibility make them *essential* for public health, ESPECIALLY DURING A PANDEMIC. #TwitteRx 16/x
I haven’t even touched on the work our folks are doing around the opioid crisis. I’ve had students tell me that people like @trfree13 have helped them understand why we use language like substance use disorder vs. addiction and keep people-centric language at the forefront. 17/x
That’s big stuff. That’s fundamental people-first thinking. AND THAT IS PHARMACY. It’s patient first. All. The. Time. 18/x
A personal life mantra of mine has been “People first, then everything else.” And I have seen that same type of mentality in the pharmacists I’ve had the privilege to meet and work with. (And let’s not forget their pharmacy techs; they’re awesome people, too.) 19/x
Is the profession perfect? Nah. And we’re working through that. We’ve got some inclusion issues around race, class, gender, identity, and ability that aren’t talked about enough. 20/x
But I also see our students digging into those conversations that matter, pushing our faculty and staff to innovate and embrace needed change. 21/x
And I think part of why pharmacy can move in a better and more inclusive direction is because it’s ALWAYS been about people—and then everything else. To be anything less than inclusive and equitable goes against the ethos of the profession. 22/x
So when people ask, “But what does a pharmacist DO?” Here’s my answer: They save lives every day and rarely take credit. They keep entire communities safe and informed. They vaccinate, test, care, and assist. They are friends and advocates... 23/x
They know how to analyze and interpret data. And they are on the frontlines in every way right now. Y’all our pharmacists are superheroes. And right now, their calling card is sometimes just a small blue mask with a UKCOP logo on the side.
You won’t see many of the ones who are helping run clinical trials, bottling/compounding sanitizer, delivering meds to someone’s homebound grandparent, counseling transplant patients, protecting babies in the NICU, guiding people through diabetes management... 25/x
...or writing out best practices for safety and efficacy in a pandemic. But they are there. 26/x
And seeing them do that work, often without any recognition, reminds me to hope. And that’s what pharmacists do, too. They give us hope for a better future. And I don’t know about you, but I could use more of that right now. 27/27

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