Pharmacy U

Leaders in Pharmacy: Sean Simpson – Pharmacists as the agents of change

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Sean Simpson’s work day is a balancing act: he devotes much of his time to managing the business and supporting staff. An average day often involves visiting most, if not all stores in the SimErgy Network, including Simpson’s Pharmasave in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

Education: University of Toronto (Pharmacy)

Current role: Pharmacist-owner/co-owner of five pharmacies in Ontario, collectively known as SimErgy Health Network

 

Sean Simpson’s work day is a balancing act: he devotes much of his time to managing the business and supporting staff. An average day often involves visiting most, if not all stores in the SimErgy Network, including Simpson’s Pharmasave in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

 

When you graduated what did you envision for your future? Did your career path take any unexpected turns?

As a pharmacy student, I anticipated the expanded scope of practice and knew pharmacists would be taking on a greater role. At the same time, the challenges presented by the economic model most pharmacists used were obvious. It was clear we would have to sharpen our pencils. I knew I had chosen a profession that reflected my two career interests: helping people and being an entrepreneur. I wanted to be in control of my own destiny. However, there are more challenges than I expected. I recognized that as my business grew I couldn’t necessarily be as hands-on with patients as I would like. We’re also seeing consolidation in the profession with more multiple storeowners. I take great pride in further expanding the business my father built.

 

What has been your greatest challenge as a leader in pharmacy? The biggest challenges have to do with how we identify ourselves. Some pharmacists feel what they do is a job not a calling or a vocation. While that is not unique to pharmacists, we do need to be able to engage all members of the profession in order to move forward collectively. Together we need to rise up and meet the challenges ahead. As leaders, we are called upon to do this.

 

What are the biggest opportunities for pharmacy in the next decade? We’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg in terms of the clinical value we can bring to the health system. We are contributing to the leadership of this system. As we move forward, pharmacists will take on a much more central role in coordinating care for patients. To do that, we need to embrace technology. From a skill-set perspective, we’re a group that, frankly, remains largely untapped.

 

How would you advise new graduates to bring value to the healthcare system? The main thing we need to do is provide value at every opportunity we’re given. That can be challenging. I’d encourage all pharmacists to look at how they can step up. There is an opportunity for us to do more for patients. My best advice is to make sure you are getting into this profession for the right reasons and fully commit to it. You need to be agents of change.

 

What can pharmacists do to bring even greater value in the future? We can become valued by each individual patient as a trusted advisor. We really need to challenge ourselves to move away from the technical functions that we’ve always done. At times we fall short of contributing our full value to the system. We need to get out of our comfort zone. We have to undertake a continuous quality improvement mindset for both ourselves, as well as our profession.

 

 

Leaders in Pharmacy, including this independently written article, is supported by Pfizer Canada Inc.