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Pharmacy Leaders Podcast: Career Interviews and Advice

Jun 6, 2018

Pharmacy Schools have poured significant dollars into digital advertising, but what do their ads say about current and future pharmacy practice. I argue that many pharmacy schools are portraying students and pharmacists as pill counters rather than primary care professionals through their advertisements. 

Full Transcript:

welcome to the pharmacy leaders podcast
with your host Tony Guerra the pharmacy
leaders podcast is a member of the
pharmacy podcast network with interviews
and advice on building your professional
network brand and a purposeful second
income from students residents and
innovative professionals hey welcome to
the pharmacy leaders podcast I am away
on family vacation but I wanted to make
sure that we had an episode in and what
I'm gonna talk about today our pharmacy
school adds so I'm getting a ton of ads
because I am looking for real estate
investments and on Zillow and I think
Yahoo and YouTube I see a ton of these
ads and I'd already recorded the episode
but I'm rear according because it was so
negative and it's just I thought that it
was I was being too specific so what I'm
gonna do is I'm gonna rerecord with
naming the good ones the ones that I
like and then I'm not going to say who
the ones are that I don't necessarily
like so Mercer University College of
Pharmacy was one of my favorites it says
think pharmacy is just counting pills
think again and they've got four
students that are in lab coats noti
smiles and all that stuff
and I thought this was a really class
act really doing a great job of
advancing the profession letting people
know what it is that we do is very
different from the perception that
people have of us the next one was Notre
Dame of Maryland University School of
Pharmacy preparing engaged in caring
pharmacist what we don't usually see is
pharmacists sitting down with patients
and so important that the visual here is
either a pharmacist or pharmacy student
counseling on medication the patient is
looking in their pill tray and you're
seeing you know how a pharmacist is
supposed to be practicing where we sit
down with the patient take some time
away and we're not trying to do it while
we're on the phone or saying to have any
questions about the
medicine lane one do you have any
questions about the medicine lane 2/3
one that I really liked was let's see no
that was just a lie see okay
transforming pharmacy into a primary
care profession so I thought that this
is California Health Sciences University
in seven words they've said exactly what
we're trying to do down in Washington DC
and just as a nation we're trying to
transform pharmacy into a primary care
profession and while many of you that
are working in VA systems already know
that you know we are you know primary
care professionals in those regards
we're trying to do it at a much greater
scale to show that we can do it and you
know physician assistants nurse
practitioners have a lot of abilities
that we don't and I think that these
seven words are really a mantra for
saying okay what are we trying to do you
know what can pharmacists do and you
know we're trying to transform pharmacy
into a primary care profession so I
thought that was really well articulated
as far as you know how you want to make
an ad for students to feel welcome I
don't think anyone could have done it
better than the University of California
San Francisco it's a banner ad and on
the left-hand side it's kind of like a V
so you're coming down the hallway and on
the left and right you have all these
students smiling welcoming you and it's
really cool like it's like we really
want you to be here at you know you Cal
San Francisco and then on the right hand
side it's critical thinkers limitless
futures discover how and it's the Golden
Gate Bridge not only does it provide you
know the the people and how welcoming it
is but on the right side it gives you in
just one picture exactly where you're
going to be so in terms of you know the
message and and I have a background
graduate background and rhetorical
communication or rhetoric and
professional communication probably one
of the best ones that I've seen
but I've had hundreds of these
impressions from these ads so I wanted
to talk a little bit about how some of
the ads are maybe not advancing the
profession and how they could do a
better job so I understand that the
three-year PharmD degree is a benefit of
you know being able to go more quickly
but if you have people that are just in
lab coats and they're looking at
medicine and they're not really doing
anything what we want to do is have
those people in some way interacting
with the public so that the people they
get this besides the students are also
saying oh I didn't know a pharmacist
could do that or I didn't know that you
know that's how Pharmacy is supposed to
be some issues that some of the schools
may be having in that they put just
their logo but if you're from another
area and so for example in Zillow if I'm
looking in Arizona it doesn't give me
schools on the west or in the southwest
or on the west it gives me schools from
wherever so it's not dependent Google
does that but Zillow doesn't so if
you're going to put your logo you have
to tell me what the college is because I
don't necessarily know what logo is
because it's just saying College of
Pharmacy apply now all right well which
college is it I have no idea then I
found another one where sometimes the
text and what's happening in no way
agree so I'm not gonna use the actual
words to identify the ad but it
basically says we're totally different
than your regular pharmacy school or we
are not your regular pharmacy school but
in the ad
you've got pill bottles and you've got
mortar and pestle saying well we might
not be a regular pharmacy school but
it's counting pills and compounding
medicines as usual so really what you
want to do is you're gonna have students
engaging have them do something that is
you know there are tons of examples from
the hard work that the students at APHA
are doing with generate
our ex with the diabetes and diabetes
immunizations you know one of those
advanced roles is what you should have
them do don't have them talking to each
other around a bunch of pills some
schools use community like you're going
to be part of our community and as
someone who went to a college for
pharmacy that didn't have a football
stadium I really envy this school but
that's certainly a way to get people
into the school but in in no way
talks about pharmacy and although it
says pharmacy what we really want to do
is in some way advance the profession if
you're gonna spend this much money on
ads if you have a School of Pharmacy
that in no way tells you where it is
it's really not helpful so I get that
somebody paid a lot of money to the
school and now the name of the school is
on there you know the name of the
schools named after them but if you
don't put where it is I have no idea if
I should click on this or not because I
I'm going to look regionally at you know
this school or that school and then
please please again you know things like
pipettes weighing scales lab coats and
gloves while hygienic you're portraying
pharmacy as exactly what we're trying to
say it isn't and we're saying it's a
primary care profession but the pictures
are saying we're in the back counting
pills or in the basement making IVs same
thing a lot of times I'll see PharmD ad
but PhD work so phd's often use pipettes
PhDs often use certain computer
equipment and laboratory equipment and
if of School of Pharmacy just sends it
to an ad agency they're gonna give you
an ad that looks just like that that
says hey this is what I think in
pharmacy looks like oh yeah yeah that's
what we think too and it's just not
advancing the profession another three
calendar year pharmacy ad again if
you're just gonna show a picture of a
smiling student
have the student doing something that
matters to the profession or helps the
profession don't just say okay well
we're three years that's our value
proposition and here's a student she
seems happy you'll be happy you know do
a little better than that I can't really
talk about this one without just this
just infuriates me but basically there
are a school out there that is making
how do I put this they're saying that
their return on investment is going to
be better than other schools return on
investment and you just heard the
episode from Travis Hornsby we talked a
little bit about this but if you want to
know what it's really gonna cost you to
go to pharmacy school multiply that
number by 1.25 is his advice but what
they do is they use present value not
future value so if your tuition is going
up if the cost of living goes up that's
not in those numbers the other thing is
if you use salary growth salary as a way
to say hey you know you're gonna make
this much that's completely deceiving
because you're gonna net only a fraction
of that you're gonna have many costs to
take care of and I know that you know
16% of students don't have any debt at
the end but 84% do so to say this is
what it costs and not put the actual
costs and to say this is what it's going
to what you're going to make and it's
not what you're actually going to take
home is completely misleading what you
want to do and what is fair to the
student because I think that school is
eventually gonna get sued by some
student that says I didn't get a job or
I got a job that doesn't make that much
what you really want to do is say this
tuition is the lowest or our graduates
make them most those are identifiable
and quantifiable and verifiable numbers
that's something that you can compete on
but don't do that don't say it's gonna
cost this much and you're gonna make
this much because that's just not true
another thing that you can do that one
school did really well and this is
Hawaii is that you can show somebody
being in a place and being happy by
taking the lab coat off and so they have
their lab coats in their hands and you
can say okay well it's probably you know
hot there and nice and wonderful there
are no winters so they're carrying their
lab coats but also one person's got a
polo shirt on one person's got a tie so
you're showing professionalism sometimes
and that you can be more relaxed at
other times but I thought the Hawaii one
and I mean Hawaii's got such a big
advantage its Hawaii you know that's
that's just amazing
again making making claims like this is
the place to start your pharmacy journey
or this place to start your pharmacy
journey is better than others there are
a ton of other ads doing the same thing
you're not saying anything new you're
not really helping us as a profession
the way to help us as a profession is to
say that the profession is moving
forward and show them this is how it's
happening and be a part of it
that's what I would do don't show
buildings like buildings in no way you
know I get that it it's you know an
homage to the person that you know gave
the money to found the school but a
building is static a building in no way
shows what pharmacists can do you know a
medical school building versus the
pharmacy school building versus a
nursing building there's no difference
okay so we want to differentiate
ourselves as a profession hey the PharmD
MBA is a smart thing to put together so
students especially those that are
interested in you know business and
PharmD although most MBAs are really not
going to teach you how to be a
solopreneur which is what we really need
it still will give you the basics of
business in in one way or another but I
would definitely hope that schools will
start making MBAs or making business
classes that are much more relevant to a
solopreneur or an entrepreneur here's
another one that the picture doesn't
agree with the text so have the people
looking at me
don't have them doing laboratory work
don't have them doing things that are
you know pipe heading and don't have
them counting pills and don't have them
in front of pill bottles and things like
that we get that it's about pharmacy the
word pharmacy is there don't do that and
then make sure you tell the if you have
an acronym for your school make sure you
tell them where they are in the country
because if this one that I'm looking at
it's saying we're here but most people
will think they're somewhere different
so again be very clear of where
something is maybe put a map on there
and this is where we are and you know
and so forth I mean the school can have
an ocean in their picture I don't know
why you wouldn't put an ocean when you
could do that so anyway I wanted to try
to be as positive as possible about this
but there are hundreds and thousands of
impressions coming from all this money
pharmacy schools are pouring into ads if
you're gonna make an ad about pharmacy
school make an ad about that advances
the profession that shows us doing the
things that we want to do and that we
are doing to help people don't make us a
static profession don't have us counting
pills don't have us pipe heading don't
have us doing the types of things that
just make it make it so that we're in
the basement of a hospital or that were
working drive-through in some way or
another so while this was kind of aimed
at the people in pharmacy schools that
make these decisions if you're a
pharmacy student and you see an ad about
your school and you're like that's not
what we do I would bring it up with the
Dean I think they'd be really
responsible responsive to you and may
have they may have actually you know
they're too busy you know the staffing
might not be there to do marketing or
they might not have the marketing
expertise just say hey you know I don't
really know if that ad is saying what we
do I mean this is what we do and here's
some pictures of what we do is there a
way that maybe we could be part of
creating this campaign because this is
the most important campaign of all
which is to say that we are someone that
you would want in a physician's office
that you want sitting down with patients
and so forth so that's my rant hopefully
this was helpful and I will talk to you
next week
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