In her 2006 Harvey A. K. Whitney Lecture, Sara White1 proclaimed that successful pharmacy leaders invest in the development of their staff, students, and residents to prepare them to lead others. Pharmacy residency program directors should take advantage of opportunities to help ensure that graduates of pharmacy residency programs will be prepared to take on leadership roles when they enter into pharmacy practice. Have pharmacy residency program directors ever considered developing a pharmacy residency leadership certificate?
Many pharmacy residency programs and those affiliated with colleges of pharmacy offer optional teaching certificates to their residents who feel that it is in line with their career goals.2 Teaching certificate programs are also beneficial to pharmacists with clinical responsibilities, as they are in a position to educate patients, students, and other health care professionals.3 With the positive perception and success of teaching certificates, pharmacy residency programs should offer leadership certificates to provide opportunities for practitioners to develop leadership skills.
One can argue that general pharmacy residency training does not necessarily focus on leadership or expose residents to leadership opportunities. It also does not identify the specific gaps in leadership education and training for residents. Most practitioners assume that pharmacists interested in leadership training and opportunities will pursue postgraduate year 2 residency training and education and obtain extra credentials; however, this is often not the case.
A report entitled “Leadership as a Professional Obligation” indicated that the leadership skills among pharmacy school graduates and practicing pharmacists are not sufficient to enable the achievement of ASHP’s 2015 Vision for Health-System Pharmacy.4 The authors of the report set forth several recommendations, including one calling on colleges and schools of pharmacy to provide leadership training to all students in a standardized fashion. The report of the 2008–09 Argus Commission recommended that the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy should encourage the ASHP Commission on Credentialing to further strengthen residency program standards related to leadership development.5 Based on the recommendations from the Argus Commission, pharmacy residency program directors should identify additional opportunities for leadership development activities.
Hertig6 stated that not everyone can hold traditional leadership positions; however, new practitioners can take charge of their own practice and become effective pharmacy followers, exhibiting key leadership characteristics while assuming a supporting role. A pharmacy residency leadership certificate will allow practitioners to pursue leadership opportunities and to distinguish themselves from their peers. Pharmacy residency programs that offer the pharmacy residency leadership certificate will also stand out among other residency programs.
I encourage pharmacy residency program directors to develop pharmacy residency leadership certificates for postgraduate residency programs. The implementation of pharmacy residency leadership certificates will motivate practitioners to embrace leadership opportunities in their practice settings. It will enable practitioners to better create and lead the changes necessary to advance pharmacy’s mission within the health care system.
The author has declared no potential conflicts of interest.