The One Year Experiment, United Pharmacy Association, Has Ended.

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I’ll give any project one year to see if it’ll work. People who know me can tell you I have worn many hats. In 2007, I wanted to see if I could form an all girl band just to see if we could get gigs, knowing I wasn’t even good enough on my instrument at that time to be impressive. It was a social experiment. I ended up performing in bands for 10 years in that town.
My resume may look like I play hopscotch with jobs and careers, but it’s more like Twister. I have hands and toes in multiple projects at any given time. Some projects went from seed to full grown plant. Some sprouted, struggled, and withered.
United Pharmacy Association (URPhA) sprouted and started to grow a tiny stalk with one leaf starting to grow, and then, for lack of nutrients and water – it has withered.
I always have a hypothesis for my experiments. I can usually see how it’s going to go. Even when my theory is that a project will inevitably fail for lack of support, I still give the universal forces a chance to prove me wrong, and every once in a while they do give me a miracle. The miracle shows me that I want to help others and that I’ll be guided on how to do that. Sometimes it helps more to not enable bad behavior, to walk away after the messages have been delivered.
With this, URPhA, I really wanted to be proven wrong. I wanted the miracle of pharmacists and their staff coming together in large numbers to support students, pharmacy technicians, other pharmacists and business owners. But alas, I KNEW.
I’ve been a licensed pharmacist for 24 years. I’m one that has gone up against corporate, I am one that has written to my governor, to my state board(s) of pharmacy, to my representatives, to government agencies and to my colleagues about the unethical nature of PROFITS OVER PEOPLE, and the fact that antitrust laws are broken daily by the conglomerates. The working conditions regarding staffing and workload are terrible and unsafe, plus morally and psychologically harmful to pharmacy professionals. We’ve seen it in the polls and surveys. Pharmacy and healthcare in general has a LOT of unresolved issues. 
Throughout the last three decades, this profession has been complicit.
Throughout my career, I’ve had pharmacy technicians, interns and other pharmacists complain to me and in some cases ask for me to speak on their behalf. And when the inevitable would happen, something at the corporate level was unethical and I’d challenge it – when I was being retaliated against – those same staff members and colleagues looked away. They didn’t support themselves or those around them when things weren’t right at work.
I actually work for a small local small chain now, and there is a degree of autonomy where each pharmacy manager runs their pharmacy their way. There are no crazy metrics and impossible expectations. I still struggle, in the retail environment, to understand why healthcare conglomerates are allowed to exist and why anyone would support an insurance system that demands people be on certain drugs or the providers get financially punished. However, with finding a job where I can support local and serve my community, it’s a small win. I am not one to settle, and you shouldn’t either. Do your job with integrity, otherwise it isn’t worth the money for how expensive bad karma is.
I’ve known pharmacists to be a group of people who are consistently mad while having no backbone to support themselves or others. Pharmacists become comfortable being overcompensated employees because it’s understood that if you get paid that much – you follow orders even when it goes against what’s best for your patients, even when it’s dangerous for the public. For decades I have wished more of us would have stood up for our profession, and for public health and safety. We fell victim to our own passive nature, and let corporate fascism combined with public ignorance result in a profession of grumpy white coats. 
This experiment was a long shot to succeed. I knew that. It feels amazingly wonderful to have completed it and come full circle to knowing who and where I want to help with my time and energy. In the end of this cycle, it’s better to help the underdogs, and for me, locally. I can touch lives in my immediate communities and start there with outreach and activism at home. Nationally, I could not get the reach to be able to raise funds for scholarship money. Even thousands who were reached, just weren’t really focused on wanting to help in that way. If complaints and criticism were dollars, we pharmacy folks could have sent every kid in America to college for free by now.
In the end, I never regret trying the impossible, it’s the only way I will know that all possible solutions were initiated, until new ideas come up, and new solutions may be tried out by someone else. I really hope something can help pharmacy and can help healthcare morph into an industry that is about caring for people and caring about their total wellness. As long as it stays in the hands of corporate and is about profit – the country will be unwell. 
I will move into working directly with the community in the public education piece and continuing to mentor young people. That is my heart work and is more helpful and gratifying than beating a dead horse, trying to get it to wake up and drink the water its corpse has been dragged to, while the peanut gallery and cheerleading section are creating a cacophony of deafening proportions, and the rest are dead silent, which is even more intolerable.
I’d encourage all to find a way to help everyone around you succeed. It’s a mindset that makes your world a better place.
United Pharmacy Association (URPhA), soon to not be a 501(c)3,
Cristina Manos RPh.
#pharmacy #pharmacist #PizzaIsNotWorking #angrypharmacist #pharmacystudent 

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