It’s time for a change. Isn’t it always? As the saying goes: the only thing that remains constant is change. Strange saying, but it is true.
Personally, we might want to exercise more, eat better, travel or learn a new skill. I like doing all of those things. Change is good.
Societally, our democratic political system has change built into it at all levels. Sometimes it’s a renewal and reaffirmation that those who are currently serving, continue to meet the pleasure of those who carry the votes. Sometimes it’s a refresh – bringing the same folks back, but with a change in approach or perspective. Or it’s time for a change. Get a new group to change things up. It’s a time for democracy to demonstrate its value. To complete the circle of power, so those at the top of the food chain are held accountable by those below them. Change is good.
Professionally, the self-regulatory system that we live in has a twist to it. Pharmacy professionals have the privilege of self-governance. We are responsible for ensuring that the public is provided with competent, caring and safe pharmacy services, but the public doesn’t elect our governing Board. Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians, along with our government, do. If the Board of the day does things that don’t resonate well with them, they aren’t renewed. New folks come in. Fresh faces, different perspectives. Change is good.
The College and the profession have changed, even in the last few years. We have Chairs, not Presidents; one-third of the Board are government appointees; Technicians are recognized as professionals; The Knowledge Assessment Exam has been replaced with Practice Reviews; we’ve had 6 Presidents/Chairs and 2 Registrars in the last 10 years; and fees have gone down. Technicians check prescriptions; Pharmacists administer drugs; the PharmD replaces the B.Sc.(Pharm.) degree; and Pharmacists practice without dispensing drugs. Change is good.
As I was preparing this piece, I ran the draft by some pharmacy sages. The notion that “Change is good” elicited some different perspectives. Here’s what they said:
The merit with change is that we must embrace it to grow - and isn't that our mandate - growth through personal development. Otherwise we would never leave our comfort zone - life would become boring and without purpose. So give me change but ensure the delivery of a quality outcome.
Often, people want change because the current state is not perfect, but there is failure to evaluate how the new outcome will stack up against the current state and there may be unintended consequences of the change, and perfection remains elusive. If the pace of change is too fast, there is also a risk of setting up a situation where people never have an opportunity to become familiar or competent with a system. In addition, we are all aware of examples where something is changed, perhaps more than once, only to end up back at the original state. Change may often be undertaken for people to feel or demonstrate that they are doing something; this can be detrimental if that is the prime motivation.
Not all change is good. It is more accurate and optimistic to say "change CAN be good". This opens up the opportunities for an active mindset rather than a passive one. Maybe mobilise the members to ensure that when change happens, they seize the opportunities. Or that they get off their butts to make "good" change when they don't like what they see.
They have a point. Great thoughts for consideration and reflection as we move forward. What is working well, and should be maintained? What needs to be changed, and why? What different outcomes are we attempting to achieve? Embrace and grow with it. Stay positive, consult with others, and make things better.