Teamwork of a Pharmacist: Pharm.D. Leadership Skills

Regardless of title or job description, as a pharmacist you’re a leader. You have the opportunity to change the world, helping patients achieve better health and other providers achieve better ways of providing care one patient at a time.

At Concordia University Wisconsin, we take great pride in giving you the tools and opportunities to develop your own leadership skills and style that will help you serve future patients throughout your career.

Interprofessional Education: IPE@CUW

In addition to the leadership curriculum above, Concordia University Wisconsin has multiple student organizations to join for networking, social, and collaborative learning opportunities, including Interprofessional Education (IPE) for School of Pharmacy students.

The IPE program brings together students in Concordia’s six health and human services degree programs to help build teamwork, learning, and communication across departments and disciplines—particularly important in today’s evolving health care environment.

“If students learn to rely on their team members, on other professionals, they’re going to have a lot less burnout and really be ready for a future career in team-based health care.” —Michael Oldani, Ph.D., MS, IPE Campus Coordinator

By participating in IPE programming, events, and curriculum, pharmacy students are eligible to complete an IPE certificate, learn more here.

Servant Leadership Principles

The Concordia University Wisconsin School of Pharmacy aims to develop pharmacists committed to the service of their profession and communities, and in possession of the leadership skills required to provide service, regardless of the pharmacist’s position or title.

The first five learning outcomes for our Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum include:

  • SL1: The student will articulate the roles, responsibilities, and characteristics of leaders who are engaged in service to their organizations, communities, and profession.
  • SL2: The student will possess and articulate awareness of self as a leader through the discovery of their strengths and values.
  • SL3: The student will demonstrate a service orientation toward others by utilizing their talents, knowledge, and skills to achieve the common good.
  • SL4: The student will demonstrate the ability to work in teams by utilizing the principles of combining individual strengths, team dynamics, and emotional intelligence.
  • SL5: The student will participate in leading change—within groups and organizations—aimed at accomplishing goals for the common good.

The need for leadership instruction in pharmacy education has been articulated by multiple pharmacy groups over many years. The positions of many stakeholders have evolved, beginning in the early 1980s, to call for expanded curricula and leadership skill development in students.

In particular, the Oath of a Pharmacist calls for us to “devote our professional lives to … service …” and to “embrace and advocate changes that improve patient care.”

In 2013, the Center for the Advancement of Pharmacy Education (CAPE 2013) identified leadership as an educational outcome for pharmacy school curriculum to address. Current accreditation standards and guidelines have endorsed CAPE 2013, and all pharmacy schools are required to include leadership as an educational outcome.

Concordia Leadership Development

At Concordia University Wisconsin, we focus on student leadership development through the lens of the servant leadership philosophy. This philosophy and perspective connects with the ethos of our profession and the mission of CUW. Servant leadership outcomes are covered longitudinally and through specific classes in our curriculum.

Longitudinally, within the first six weeks of the curriculum students engage in self-development through the identification of their strengths utilizing Gallup’s StrengthsFinder® materials. Development and reflection on strengths is a theme that continues through coursework and advising at CUW. You’ll focus on team development, and have the opportunity to combine your awareness of strengths and team dynamics in future coursework.

A focus on service as a pharmacist is further developed in the curriculum in these three areas:

  • Servant Leadership and Service Learning: Foundations of servant leadership and examples from pharmacy history. Students will discuss the foundations of service and navigate how to make this happen in our communities. As a capstone, students will be grouped in teams to identify, plan, and implement a service learning activity that uses their knowledge and skills to help advance the health of others.
  • Legislative Advocacy: Navigating legislative and rule-making processes is an important skill for pharmacists to grasp to meet the needs of society. Activities geared toward navigating legislative and regulatory body advocacy will be implemented. Students will be highly encouraged to attend Pharmacy Legislative Days as one of two possible legislative projects during the spring semester to engage in the policy and legislative process.
  • Leading Change: Working to lead change by implementing or improving processes and activities across a variety of settings is vital to serving others, and is an extremely difficult skill to master. Students will be exposed to Kotter’s Process for Leading Change and navigate this process by developing a plan to lead change in an area with which students self-identify.

In addition, CUW pharmacy students have the opportunity to work in teams to deliver service projects in a variety of required and elective courses.