I love professional conferences. I am the kind of person that gets absolutely full of fire listening to a motivating speech from a keynote speaker. I always bring a notebook with me to any conference I attend and I fill the pages, whether it is with knowledge about a specific medication or disease state, or an idea to make a change to the way I practice. Last spring, a pharmacist entrepreneur I had been following on LinkedIn posted about a free, online pharmacy conference she was hosting. I signed up immediately. Pharmacy knowledge and inspiration AND no cost? Yes please.

The best thing about this online conference was that I could “attend” while I was working at the hospital. When I am working on the floors, I usually have one earbud in listening to a podcast episode, so during these few days, I plugged my headphones into the computer and listened to the recorded presentations. As soon as I started hearing pharmacists share about integrating into physician offices, creating new classes for the community, and offering cash-based pharmacy services, my pen hit the paper and didn’t stop.

I filled 3/4 of a notebook page on “return on investment for integrating pharmacists into ambulatory care practice” with Mary Onysko. She opened my mind up to the idea that you do NOT need a collaborative practice agreement to be a member of a clinic care team. She also emphasized that you do NOT need to have all the answers to start doing what you want to do. I was at a point in my career where I was seriously reflecting on the path I had taken and where I wanted to go. I had been working in the hospital for just under 6 years, and although I liked my job fine, it was not bringing me the joy that it did when I first started. I realized I was not the same person I was when I graduated pharmacy school: now I was a wife and a mother of two and I had more experiences under my belt. I had this deep desire for more – to be able to use my strengths and opportunities to serve others to the best of my ability. I knew I still wanted to practice as a pharmacist, but I also wanted to have more freedom to focus my time on listening to and motivating others, learning and then sharing new information, and to have more freedom to spend time with my family. But I didn’t know if that dream was really possible.

And then I heard Travis Wolff share about how he created a tobacco cessation program in his community pharmacy. I had never heard of a pharmacist offering community classes before, but it made so much sense. Then, Beverly Schaefer shared about how she had patients booking appointments with her for consultations on travel vaccines and medications. Wait. Pharmacists could have patients book appointments with them right from the pharmacy? She saw beyond the “traditional” role of the pharmacist and met a need for her community. Could I do that? And then Mona Ligvani blew my mind when she described her cash-based service where she completely sets her own schedule to offer online travel consultations to anyone. Wait. A pharmacist could work as a pharmacist outside of the walls of a pharmacy, hospital, or doctor’s office?

As I filled up pages of notes on how pharmacists were being innovative and bringing value to patients in ways I never learned about in pharmacy school or ever even thought could be possible, the ideas started flowing. I still have all these notes kept in a journal and as I look through them again now, I see all sorts of stars on the page, which is my symbol for a brand new idea. I wrote things like, “help my health-system be more coordinated between inpatient and outpatient settings,” “education,” “share what you are learning to help others,” “be the pharmacist who helps people get OFF medication,” and “what if I could help women learn about NFP or to help recover from FHA?”

The Elevate Pharmacy Summit is coming back again this year, April 8-12. It is still completely free to register and hear from pharmacists who are truly making a difference in their patients’ lives, in ways that you may have never realized a pharmacist could work. Even if you are not a pharmacist (and I know many of you who read this are not), if you are interested at all in learning about different ways a pharmacist could help you with your health, or if you are wondering about your own career and if you could start doing something different, I encourage you to listen in. You may find just the bit of inspiration you have been waiting for.

If you do take a look at the agenda, you will see a familiar face on Saturday April 11. That’s right, I was interviewed and shared my experience starting my natural family planning pharmacist business for this year’s conference! In just one year, I went from sitting at my desk wondering if it was possible to make a change, to starting a new business helping people interested in a more natural lifestyle achieve their family planning and health goals. Yes, I do still work at the hospital. But I have a new mindset about that job: it is funding my future. And I get to do work that completely lights my soul on fire: I meet with women interested in a natural method of birth control to learn their body’s natural signs of fertility so they can avoid pregnancy without any synthetic hormones or other devices, or those women who want to learn their body’s natural signs of fertility to help get pregnant. In addition, I meet with anyone interested in taking charge of their own health and who wants to be sure they are taking the right medications and supplements, and I conduct a thorough review of their entire medication/supplement/vitamin regimen to make sure what they are taking is needed, safe, and effective. I absolutely LOVE educating people and then empowering them to make the best, healthiest choices that are right for them. I am convinced it is what God put me here to do.

To sign-up for the free, online Elevate Pharmacy Summit, follow this link: https://elevatepharmacysummit.com/

If you want to book a consultation with me, either for natural family planning or for a medication/supplement review, head to www.calendly.com/nfppharmacist. Or if you have other questions for me, feel free to email me at emily@nfppharmacist.com. If you’re not interested in any of these services right now, but would just like to support me and my business, you can follow my pages on Facebook (www.facebook.com/nfppharmacist) or Instagram (@nfppharmacist).

Let me know if you attend the Summit this year and what your take-aways are! I am excited to hear from the other speakers and I will be sharing my take-aways with you too!