Inform, Engage, Inspire
There are more ways to celebrate American Pharmacists Month than there are days in October. You just need to figure out what works best for your pharmacy.
APhA put together the following ideas to help inspire you. Some work anywhere, while others are best suited for specific settings. Remember, pick quality over quantity: Your events should be memorable for everyone involved.
Ideas for Pharmacists in All Settings
- Make Time for Face Time: Schedule special events where patients can meet and talk to their pharmacist. Use the time to promote vaccinations, flu shots, or host screenings for cholesterol, diabetes or osteoporosis.
- Check on Medication: Invite patients to bring all the prescription and nonprescription medications they take, so pharmacists can answer any questions and conduct a medication check-up for potential interactions, unneeded or duplicate medications, adverse reactions, and passed or upcoming expiration dates.
- Serve Healthy Lessons for Lunch: Ask local businesses if you can come in during employee lunch hours and make presentations about safe medication usage and answer medication-related questions.
- Clarify Medicare for Seniors: Set aside time each day/week to answer questions about Medicare drug coverage for local seniors. Use the questions and your knowledge for a local newspaper column or call-in radio show. You can also offer personalized counseling by contacting your local office on aging.
- Host Local Leaders: Provide your legislators with an invaluable view of the contemporary roles of pharmacists. Make sure they talk to a patient who has benefitted from interaction with his or her pharmacist and get to watch a pharmacist in your facility conduct patient care services, like MTM, immunizations, patient education and wellness screenings.
- Create a Social Media Challenge: Establish a goal of organizing and understanding medications by the end of the month. Activities can include:
- A tip a day delivered through social media
- A drug disposal day a week, with reminders
- Reminders to do a drug checkup (check expiration, interactions, etc.)
- Lead discussions on how patients keep track of medication use or what gets in the way of consistent adherence
- Links to articles and research
- A blog for the month with articles, links and interviews about organization, using technology and smart phones, etc.
For Community Pharmacies
- Conduct OTC Aisle Tours: Gear them to specific groups, like parents, older adults and athletes. Help each group understand how to pick the right products for the conditions most likely to affect them. Emphasize the importance of reading labels, knowing the active ingredients and asking the pharmacist questions.
- Join the Race: People interested in fitness and health activities are a built-in audience for the pharmacy message. Marathons, 5Ks and walkathons are excellent settings to spread the word. Choose ones that align with your message and be on hand with APhM giveaways, like water bottles, T-shirts, bandanas and headbands. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you could organize your own race.
- Get Cooking: Check local cooking classes that give instruction in cooking and nutrition for health issues such as diabetes, heart-healthy or allergies, and ask the instructor for five minutes to make a presentation about the importance of talking to your pharmacist and knowing about food/medication interactions.
- Get Down to Business: Reach out to stores, restaurants and services in your block, mall or shopping center. Note: Chain stores may have restrictions about promotional activities, so start with independent, local businesses first:
- Approach restaurants about having a pharmacy awareness day where they promote healthy choices or give out material with the check.
- Work with local retail stores or dance and exercise studios to generate a month-long information or coupon promotion and exchange. Offer to promote their business in your store window or near your register if they put up an APhM Window Cling.
- Create a “sidewalk sale” day where local businesses promote themselves outside their stores and you promote pharmacist-provided patient care services or offer mini-health screenings.
For Hospital and Managed Care Pharmacies
- Join the Class: Find out when diabetes, nutrition and prenatal classes are being held at your hospital or managed care setting throughout October. Check with the class organizers to see if they can give you time for a five-minute presentation on the importance of knowing their medications and talking to pharmacists.
- Give Parting Gifts: Patients and class attendees are often given “care packages” when they leave the hospital. See if you can add an information card or fun giveaway for APhM promoting the importance of talking to pharmacists, especially for diabetes patients, heart patients, new parents and chemotherapy/cancer patients.
- Make Rounds: Visit patients in their rooms. Introduce yourself and answer any questions they may have about pharmacy services, their current drug therapy or how to transition back to a normal medication routine when they leave the hospital. Give them patient education brochures and small American Pharmacists Month-themedgiveaways, like magnets, pens and tote bags.
- Set the Stage: Create a lobby display to promote the pharmacy department. Include information about pharmacy services and photos of your staff. If your facility is large, consider changing the display weekly to focus on a different pharmacy activity or function. Make the display colorful and fun, with eye-catching elements like red and white streamers or APhM balloons and banners.
- Open Your Doors: Invite all hospital and managed care setting 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.
- Decorate Ambulatory Care Pharmacies: Hanging APhM decorations like banners, posters and balloons is a great way to publicize your events and draw attention to your pharmacy.
- Offer Curbside Service: Encourage patients and caregivers to talk with pharmacists about medication therapy issues. Hold the sessions in a conference room or other relatively private area, and allot from 5 to 10 minutes per person.
For Long-Term Care Settings
- Head to Class: Visit the chair dance, stretch, or dance class with the message that patients can talk to their pharmacist about how their fitness and movement activities affect their medications, and vice-versa.
- Start a Project: Engage in a month-long project with facility residents, meeting once or twice a week with a clear goal and outcome. Here are some ideas:
- Create a cookbook with healthy recipes contributed by residents.
- Create a short joke book with funny stories and jokes around the theme of “My Meds.”
- Stage a talent show around the theme of “My Meds.”
- Share Information: Hold a visitor information day once a week during APhM, complete with an information table and giveaways, where visitors and relatives can get information about how your pharmacy works, meet the pharmacists and become aware of the importance of the pharmacists in their relatives’ health and well-being.
- Open Your Doors: Invite all long-term care center 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.
- Throw a Party: Invite residents and their guests to a special APhM party. Maybe host an afternoon tea or other themed event. Decorate the designated areas with streamers and APhM balloons, banners and posters. Provide patient education brochures and small themed giveaways, like magnets and pens.
- Make Rounds: Visit patients in their rooms. Introduce yourself and answer any questions they may have about pharmacy services or drug therapy. Give them patient education brochures and small APhM-themed giveaways.
- Serve a Side of Advice: Develop lunch tray tent cards that explain the goals of the pharmacy and the services you offer residents. Encourage them to ask to speak with the pharmacist if they have any questions about their medication.