As a manager, employee, parent, or simply as a human living in the 21st century, you have probably experienced information overload firsthand, and it's possible that you are even experiencing it right now.
In such circumstances, it can be difficult to make clear-headed and unbiased decisions. It is important to recognize when we are overwhelmed because we risk getting into a bias trap and making a wrong choice.
And since information overload is one of the most common bias traps and is a frequent component of our profession, let’s discuss how we can recognize that we are in a biased thinking mode.
Imagine you have hundreds of patient notes to go through over limited time. Your brain will recognize the pressure and will automatically use shortcuts to help you make fast assessments. Essentially, bias is a pattern recognition technique that our brain develops over time and keeps for quick reference, which helps ease the burden of information overload.
The two most common biases that people experience when facing an overwhelming amount of data are Confirmation bias and Anchoring bias.
Confirmation bias describes our underlying tendency to notice, focus on, and give greater credence to evidence that fits with our existing beliefs.
Let’s say you have a patient who reminds you of your relative whose condition was successfully treated with a certain therapy. Upon research, you will likely notice the literature supporting your beliefs and leave all other opinions without attention. Same bias you will experience when searching for the answer to your question in Google. You will likely give more credit to answers that are aligned with your beliefs, even if they are wrong.
The image is taken from the decision lab website https://thedecisionlab.com
Anchoring bias refers to our tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information we encounter when making decisions. That’s why first impressions often play a significant role in how we think of people. We quickly develop a theory in our heads about a person’s background, intellect, ability to pay, and so forth.
Although bias is the mechanism that helps us avoid being paralyzed by constant information overload, it can affect our actions and decisions in relation to patients, our co-workers, and important processes.
Have you noticed this bias appearing in your workplace? Take some time to reflect on what actions you can take to create space and pause between what triggers your biases and how you react.
In an effort to promote further the exchange of ideas, integrate diverse perspectives, and enhance engagement the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee held its first live, in-person meeting in July. Our meeting was held in a central location for us to gather in Middletown. The restaurant's space played a significant role in breaking down barriers and facilitating open conversations. The inclusive environment encouraged us to share our thoughts and experiences openly, creating an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. As a committee member, I felt honored to be part of an initiative that sought to break down barriers and promote a culture of genuine acceptance and unity.
The meeting began with wisdom cookies AKA fortune cookies stuffed with DEI quotes. These delicious cookies were handmade by Vera Malkhasyan. Each quote served as a conversation piece in which each recipient talked about what the quote meant to them. This was a powerful exercise in which individual experiences were shared in a confidential and respectful manner. Openly sharing DEI experiences highlighted the importance of such gatherings at a live meeting.
We concluded the meeting with a presentation on implicit bias by Nicole Denouden. This presentation emphasized the role personal biases play in healthcare and how they can affect the populations we serve. As a newer pharmacist, I believe this type of presentation should be given to all who work in healthcare. It is difficult for most people to face their own biases. Providing an opportunity to discuss implicit bias in a supportive environment allows individuals to recognize, process and make it easier to digest.
As we move forward, it is crucial to keep the momentum going - continuously learning and evolving. By building on the lessons and connections formed during this meeting, we can collectively create a more equitable and inclusive environment for all, both within our organization and in the broader community.
Submitted by Christelle Bibo, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee Member
Written by Tiana Tran
As a new pharmacist who graduated in 2022, I experienced pharmacy school and am now experiencing a residency as someone who was born in Generation Z. Generation Z includes everyone born from 1997 to 2012. We are the most ethnically and racially diverse generation, as well as the largest, making up about 27% of the US population. Generation Z has been touted as having a shorter attention span, being dependent on technology, and overall being a challenge to educators, among other things. However, it is important to understand that Generation Z was born during an era of change and progress. There may be some challenges that come with Generation Z, but these are challenges that will spur on change and innovation to the overall career of pharmacy. What is important is that we understand and wield the strengths of this generation.
For Generation Z, communication is widespread and abundant. With the use of social media, keeping in touch with a variety of communities and networks is instant and easy. This is something no other generation has had throughout their childhood. However, the challenge this comes with is the potential lack of face-to-face communication skills, especially for those born later in Gen Z and that grew up during the COVID pandemic. To adapt to this, it is important to offer chances for Gen Z to learn and grow - during class and IPPE/APPE rotations, students have chances to improve their communication skills as long as they are given early feedback. On the other hand, our strengths in digital communication can lend itself to the pharmacy world. We can connect to the local community much faster by utilizing social media, posting and spreading news with valuable information, and taking advantage of the technology. The network available today is incomparable to any past generation - capitalizing on Gen Z’s expertise in communication when it comes to projects, outreach, and more, will help expand pharmacy’s reach in the community.
Gen Z grew up with an abundance of information at our fingertips. Instant learning is available with a Google search, a YouTube video, or podcasts. We are skilled at finding exactly what we need in a short amount of time. This does come with a short attention span, as we are accustomed to obtaining information instantaneously. This can make lecturing harder as Gen Z students may find it difficult to pay attention. To adapt, teaching students how to use the right resources to find answers and spot misinformation, is important to emphasize early on. During class, it’s important to refer back to the applicability and usefulness of the information. Gen Z learns best when we have information readily available - we like infographics, visuals, tables and charts that can communicate a lot of information in a compact format. Furthermore, we can use our quick learning skills in practice - as APPE students, we are capable of answering follow-up questions with the appropriate sources. We are brimming with the ability to find new information and apply it as soon as possible. We are a generation that has the ability to absorb an abundance of information, pull out the pearls and relevant pieces, and apply it to several situations.
All in all, Gen Z has an overall drive to progress - we are the first generation of digital natives and so we have grown alongside the evolution of technology. We are extensively connected to one another. We have the potential to learn as well as teach information to all generations in innovative and creative ways. As a result, we can help drive the future and expand the practice of pharmacy - especially if we work together and learn from other generations as well.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION COMMITTEESubmitted by Teresa Papstein, MHA, RPh, BCNSP
We are pleased to share CSHP is partnering with the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy (UCONN SOP) Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee to help support our some of our goals. This includes ensuring all patient populations of community have equal opportunities to access pharmaceutical care, provide advancement for all pharmacy professionals in every stage of education, career development, and offer mentorship to diverse groups in the pharmacy community.
CSHP members are invited to participate in several opportunities with UCONN SOP DEI. Some examples are listed below:
Here is the link for a general sign up to select the various ways in which you would like to support our DEI Committee’s initiatives with UCONN SOP: https://forms.gle/hmZdeUDecWcXpbpf9
To become involved in once monthly meetings to help achieve our DEI goals for CSHP, please sign up via our website Connecticut Society of Health System Pharmacists - Get Involved (cshponline.org). For any questions, please contact Teresa Papstein at Teresa.Papstein@bpthosp.org.
Connecticut and Arkansas Health-System Pharmacists’ Associations Receive PTCB Grants
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB), the leading credentialing organization for pharmacy technicians, has awarded grants to support technician training in immunization administration to the Connecticut Society of Health-System Pharmacists (CSHP) and the Arkansas Association of Health-System Pharmacists (AAHP).
“Advancing the role of technicians as immunizers expands public access to vaccines, creates opportunities for technicians to specialize, and allows them to contribute more to their pharmacy team,” said PTCB Executive Director and CEO William Schimmel. “And training more technicians to administer vaccines means pharmacists have more time to engage patients in clinical or other services.”
The grant to CSHP will help fund technician training in immunization schedules, management and storage of vaccine supplies and doses, use of personal protective equipment, and safe delivery of immunizations directly to patients. The grant will also help pay program fees to alleviate financial burdens for technicians seeking career advancement.
AAHP will use the grant to provide scholarships to technicians completing Arkansas’ required training in vaccine administration. The grant promotes medication safety by helping ensure uniformity across the training process. To complete the course, technicians fulfill state requirements to be authorized to immunize, including demonstrating proper administration of intramuscular and subcutaneous injections. Pharmacy technicians in Arkansas gained authorization to administer vaccinations in March.
We are saddened to announce the passing of Dr. Paul Pierpaoli. CSHP's major annual award is named after Dr. Pierpaoli, who was a hospital pharmacy leader for many years. We were fortunate to have him practice in CT for several years.
Link to the Obituary
Link to ASHP notice
This is a historic week as we have seen photos and news stories of vaccines arriving at hospitals and health systems across the country, and providers and patients receiving the very first COVID-19 vaccines.
As you receive, prepare, and administer the vaccine, ASHP would be grateful for the opportunity to help recognize the significant role that you and your team members are playing in what will be one of the largest public health initiatives our country has ever undertaken.
If you have photos or video from these activities and would like to share them with ASHP to tell the story of pharmacy’s role, please send them to email@example.com. Also, please send any links to local news stories featuring pharmacy or if there are any social media posts that you would like us to recognize.
Thank you for your efforts with all you are doing for your colleagues, patients, and public health through COVID-19 vaccinations!
Anne Policastri, PharmD, MBA
ASHP Director of Affiliate Relations
PTCB Rolls Out Advanced Certification (CPhT-Adv) for Experienced Technicians
PTCB has launched their Advanced Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT-Adv) credential for qualified CPhTs seeking to climb higher on their career ladder. CPhTs who meet the requirements can claim theirs now. Read the full story
CONTACT: Lisa Capobianco, Vice President, Operations
(860)563 4619 firstname.lastname@example.org
Connecticut Pharmacists Gear Up to Administer COVID 19 Vaccines As Hospital Health Systems Are Strained By COVID
In preparation for the first shipments of COVID 19 vaccine expected to arrive within the next few days, Connecticut’s health systems and hospitals are calling on immunization certified pharmacists to administer vaccinations, as nurses and physicians grapple with the wave of hospitalized COVID 19 patients, staff shortages, and treatment demands. Statewide, over 1,100 COVID patients are currently hospitalized.
To address this unprecedented challenge, qualified Connecticut pharmacists from every
practice setting and career stage, including advanced students and retirees, are gearing up to
serve on the front-lines of this immunization effort On Tuesday Governor Ned Lamont issued a
new executive order authorizing Connecticut pharmacists to administer FDA approved or
authorized COVID vaccine to patients over the age of 10 This order also allows pharmacists to
administer flu vaccine approved by FDA for patients over age 10 under a healthcare providers
“As vaccines become available, pharmacists will play a key role in providing immunization
services, first in hospitals and care facilities, and then later to our communities,” said Nathan
Tinker, CEO of the Connecticut Pharmacists Association ( “Whereas many healthcare
providers do not receive much if any specific immunization instruction, pharmacists are required
to undergo extensive training to administer immunizations, both during their graduate schooling
and during their professional careers. Connecticut pharmacists who are certified immunizers
also are required to complete annual updated continuing education, so they are well equipped
to take on COVID 19 vaccinations.”
Elizabeth Cohen, President of the Connecticut Society of Health System Pharmacists said, “As the most accessible health care providers, pharmacists are in a unique position to provide a wealth of valuable public health services and immunizations remain at the cornerstone of these services.” “Having pharmacists at the forefront of the COVID 19 immunization e fort will ensure that those who need the vaccine the most will receive one “
Health system pharmacists are uniquely armed with the skills and tools to lead vaccine administration to healthcare personnel during the initial phase of COVID vaccine distribution in Connecticut said Kimberly Metcalf, Associate Vice President of Pharmacy and Ancillary Services of UConn Health. Pharmacists understand the intricacies involved with storing, tracking, distributing, preparing, administering, and documenting vaccine quickly and accurately. They also have a clinical knowledge of how the vaccine works and the importance of its utilization. The Profession is well poised to support this important public health initiative.”
Since 1948, the Connecticut Society of Health-System Pharmacists has represented the professional interests and provided professional development for CT pharmacists, educators and pharmacists in training.
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