Pharmacy U

Leaders in Pharmacy 2019: Michael Wright

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As CEO of Rubicon Pharmacies, which has 104 stores in Western Canada, Michael Wright’s role comes down to bringing out the best in people. “We want our pharmacy managers to feel empowered to make their own decisions,” he says. “My role is to bring people together to share best practices and help pharmacists evolve into their new role.” Wright has been a leader in pharmacy for more than 30 years, with 20 years in direct patient care and more than 12 years at head office with Rubicon.

 

by donalee Moulton

EDUCATION: University of Saskatchewan (Pharmacy)
CURRENT ROLE: CEO, Rubicon Pharmacies

As CEO of Rubicon Pharmacies, which has 104 stores in Western Canada, Michael Wright’s role comes down to bringing out the best in people. “We want our pharmacy managers to feel empowered to make their own decisions,” he says. “My role is to bring people together to share best practices and help pharmacists evolve into their new role.” Wright has been a leader in pharmacy for more than 30 years, with 20 years in direct patient care and more than 12 years at head office with Rubicon.

What makes you want to get up each morning and go to work?

Our store teams do tremendous work, but there is much more to be done. That’s what drives me. As a profession, we often don’t get recognized for the work we do, but that work impacts patients’ health. I try to remind my team of that every day.

If you could change one thing in the profession today, what would it be?

Everybody today is aligned around the need to shift from medication distribution to a practice-based model. If I could snap my fingers, I would move us to the day where that model is viable. We need to focus on how we achieve a practice-based model. This has to work from an economic perspective. Other professions have made this transition successfully, and we can learn from them.

Why is it so important to take action to enhance pharmacists’ value to patients?

We all understand the healthcare system is under great economic pressure. At the same time, there is no question the demand for services and access is increasing. Pharmacists, based on our training, can be at the centre of this. First, we need to define our role. That will vary depending on where the pharmacy is located. In many rural areas, for instance, pharmacists are often a central part of the healthcare team.

In this environment of change, what actions should pharmacists take to enhance their value to patients?

We spend a lot of time talking about having deeper, more meaningful relationships. Most of this comes down to engaging with patients. Many people know the name of the person who cuts their hair, but they do not know the name of their pharmacist. We need to have deeper relationships with our patients. People have to know that you care before they care what you know.

It’s also important for pharmacists to schedule their workload. Traditionally, prescription volume comes at us as soon as we open the door. A growing number of pharmacies, including here at Rubicon, are moving to a more structured, appointment-based format. This puts the focus on the patient, not the product. It enhances both engagement and value for the patient.

What advice would you give to young pharmacists looking to make a difference in the lives of their patients?

I would stress the need to do your due diligence. Surround yourself with like-minded pharmacists and pharmacy leaders. Work in a store that is truly focused on patient care. At Rubicon, we spend time with our new graduates. We host a special event for them. This is an opportunity for everyone to get to know one another and to ensure our goals and values are aligned. Alignment is vital. This is roll-up-your-sleeves time for pharmacists. A lot of what we do is not glamorous, but has significant impact. New graduates need to understand – and embrace – that.

Click here for a video of the 2019 Leaders in Pharmacy:

  • Video featuring all the 6th annual Leaders in Pharmacy

 

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

The article appeared originally in the January 2019 issue of Pharmacy Practice + Business and Canadian Healthcare Network.