Jorge Farias, Pharm.D. MS

Director, Medical Outcomes Specialist – Pfizer Irvine, California

As I started my transition into the role of President-Elect with the Orange County Pharmacist Association, a local chapter of the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA), and in a new field medical role with Pfizer, I was concerned with my ability to efficiently time manage and fulfill all my responsibilities in my professional and personal life. With so many competing priorities in life, I have used “time” as an excuse for pushing certain things aside, sometimes sacrificing my health

and relationships with friends and family. I’ve come to wonder how it is that some people seem to accomplish and are so involved in CPhA yet still balance their time for family and friends? If you look at CPhA’s LDI program graduates, you will see a lot of leaders within pharmacy that have accomplished a lot in their time and have balance in their life. Along with being a leadership program, LDI is also a network of pharmacy leaders, from all different pharmacy settings, filled with pharmacists who are

passionate about leadership and self-improvement. LDI offered an avenue for development through learning from others and engaging in active self-reflection that allowed me to examine what activities I was spending time with, how they aligned to my interests, and gave me information about myself so that I could make better informed decisions for self-management so that I could have a more balanced life.

My experience with the LDI program has taught me the power of responsibility, this includes the ability to respond to life so that I am a player of life and not a victim. When negative things happen in life it is very easy to place blame on other people or circumstances, but in fact sometimes the result is from the action (or lack of action) that we took. For example, if I held an apple in the air and it fell to the ground, did it fall because of gravity or because I let it go? The apple fell because at some time I let go of the apple. By looking at life with the lens of a player and not a victim it has completely changed my life. In LDI, I learned that while some things cannot be controlled, many things can be and therefore we must take responsibility if we want to succeed in finding a solution to our problems. Applying this concept to my life has changed the way I view, interpret, and react to events that occur in my personal and professional life. It has reminded me of the old saying, life is what you make it! Life doesn’t always go according to the way we want it to at times, but we should remember that we are in the driver seat and we always have choices.

LDI was also a great reminder of the importance of having grit. Grit is the passion and perseverance for long term goals. Having grit takes courage and an optimistic mindset. Those with grit will not stop working towards their dreams because they are committed to the end goal, no matter what obstacles come to pass. Grit is what got me through pharmacy school, it’s what got me my first job out of pharmacy school, and it’s what keeps me going to continue developing professionally. With LDI, I’ve learned to apply that same grit to different areas of my life that align to my core values. For example, I now make the time to take eat better care and to get regular exercise. This means always seeking ways to stay physically active (biking, running, or visiting the gym), and trying out new recipes at home. I still enjoy my lattes and eating out a few times a week but now I’m feeling better that I am on the path to having a happier and healthier lifestyle.

My LDI Project is a Continuing Education (CE) series titled, “Improving Patient-Pharmacist Communication”. CPhA has done a great job in advocating the patient care role that pharmacists can play with the passing of SB 493 (Hernandez) and the new Advanced Practice Pharmacist designation. With the growing evolution of discussions between pharmacists, physicians and patients, the importance of interpersonal communication is also growing. Good communication skills allow for improved history-taking skills, communicating across cultures, dealing with difficult patients, and interviewing techniques to promote behavioral change. The goal of my project is to bring a new series of CE programming to CPhA members, aimed at improving communication skills and health outcomes. Currently, the series is planned to launch with a talk on motivational interviewing for pharmacists at CPhA’s 2018 Western Pharmacy Exchange.