Finding a Director of Pharmacy

I have spent many years observing those in the role of Director of Pharmacy and several months observing those in the role of Interim Director. While a lot can be learned through observation, I learned a great deal during my time actually spent in that role. It is not an easy job, and from what I can see, it is not a position that is easy to fill. I think there are a couple main reasons for this.

First, a Director needs a certain set of skills that are neither taught in Pharmacy School nor come naturally to many “scientists”.  A Director needs to be communicative, navigate with diplomacy, lead those with advanced degrees and those with minimal education, have a vision, be skilled in budget and numbers, be detailed, and be confident in their final decisions. They also need a thorough knowledge of pharmacy operations and regulations. It is hard to find pharmacists with experience and talents in all these areas. 

Second, there is great responsibility and liability that comes with being the pharmacist in charge (PIC). Many of us have heard stories about citations or fines levied on PICs for not following regulations. You can read about them on the BOP website and, in most cases, you may find yourself thinking the PIC should have known better and could certainly have done better. Well, in my time as interim director, I was issued a citation within 2 weeks of my arrival for a finding that was in place long before I got there! It was an administrative citation which is the least serious type, but a finding none-the-less for something I did not create and had not yet had time to correct. Thankfully, I challenged the citation and it was dismissed by the Board of Pharmacy. But this incident drove home to me how serious the liability is for all pharmacists-in charge. 

A winner is someone who recognizes his God-given talents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals.  — Larry Bird

Terri Vidals
Terri Vidals

Terri has been a pharmacist for over 30 years and is a drug diversion mitigation and monitoring subject matter expert. Her years of experience in various roles within hospital pharmacy have given her real-world insight into risk, compliance, and regulatory requirements, as well as best practices for medication and patient safety.

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