It’s a Beautiful Day in your Neighborhood
Getting out into the community is easier than it seems. A few simple things are all you really need: Time, Service, and Promotion!
Anyone can ALWAYS use the attention of a pharmacist. In the community setting, you are most likely to meet senior citizens, retired persons, holistic patients and other professionals working to meet the needs of the same population. Sometimes you may find more specific community events or information fairs centered around specific areas such as cancer awareness, diabetes, asthma, obesity, etc. You may feel intimidated in certain specialties, but acknowledgement of your limitations, focusing on what you do know well- medications, having a useful resource along, and a little compassion will take you a lot further than you may think, plus with any luck you may score some free “air time” with the local media.
Many of these events are WONDERFUL sources for self-promotion. Be sure to pack along your tools for taking blood pressures (and logging them), pill boxes with your pharmacy name, address, and phone number are beneficial, pens, not to mention advertising and educational awareness of any special services you provide such as vaccinations, compounding, delivery, anticoagulation, whatever you have…make it work!
Students can be a wonderful asset to help you on these as well. Not only do they offer cutting edge information, they can relieve your pressure by helping with the promotions or just talking with the patients as they wait for you. These are perfect projects for them to assist you in doing. You and the student will be empowered by the experiences of the day. You can perform simple blood pressure checks or do brown bag reviews, or offer to give a presentation on a specific subject to the audience.
Senior Centers or Complexes are a big opportunity. You can meet many people you would not normally see as they may have limited opportunity to get out. These complexes typically have a common area where they are accustomed to meet and greets such as what you are doing. Find out what’s going on in your area and set up a table or booth at an upcoming event. If it’s a hit, make it more frequent.
First, identify a few places you might be able to do this and offer your services. Check with them to see if they are interested and will permit it. Find out all the details. Is it free? What will they have available - a table? Then you need to determine a time that works for your schedule and confirm the date and time with the facility, along with all the details.
Community events are very rewarding. You will meet new people and have the opportunity to assist them with medications, basic medication knowledge, insurance benefits and even helping patients come to terms with their health and opening portals for discussion with the prescribers. You may also find yourself in the situation of encouraging patients to establish a primary care prescriber.
If you don’t, someone else may! By putting your face out there, you will gain the self confidence and respect you deserve. It will also lead subsequently to new patients for you all because YOU offered a glimpse of hope to them. You need to find that one little thing they are not currently receiving; it may be a clinical consultation with a formal medication evaluation, it may be the fact that it’s the same “pharmacy family” every time they walk through the door. It could be your smile and acknowledgement of their arrival. It may be delivery services. Every patient is looking for something different, find it and you are GOLDEN!
Contact your local Senior Centers, Department on Aging, local government official, YMCA or School District to set up things like a monthly Brown Bag event, Poison Prevention Awareness, Substance Abuse Education, Career Day or join in an event already scheduled. Often, a relationship with a well established police, fire or EMS department or local official may help with the events as well.
**Always remember to dress appropriately for the event and wear your white pharmacist coat, where applicable. It helps keep you confident, professional and is a great place to store your business cards and pens!
Presentations Available for Your Use!
PPA has some already developed presentations which you can use or modify slightly, if you wish. These presentations include the following topics and are available free-of-charge to our members for community outreach: Adult Immunizations, Asthma, Careers in Pharmacy, Diabetes, Health Tips, Hypertension, Medication Use, and Ownership. Contact PPA for more information.