As a practicing pharmacist myself, I began offering diabetes classes at an independent pharmacy in Augusta, GA, around 2005. We tried different times of the day and different days of the week in effort to find the best time that would grab the most patients. Unfortunately, I began with one patient during our first class. Instead of being discouraged, however, I began to use my influence as a pharmacist to grow the classes. While I had only meager success the first few classes (even one month in which no one showed up), we began to quickly grow approximately 6 to 9 months after our first class.
Believe me…I was ready to give up after just a few months of meager success. It reminds me of a common expression that long distance runners use: ‘hitting the wall.’ If you’re a runner like myself, you know that almost every runner experiences a time during their run in which they become tired and are ready to give up. However, runners who work through this time eventually feel much more rejuvenated and are able to complete the course. This same principle can be easily applied to pharmacists attempting to launch the Sweet Spot program in their store(s). Pharmacists who push through the time of ‘hitting the wall’ usually experience great success down the line.
I have several thoughts on why pharmacies working through early struggles tend to be more successful, but I believe it ultimately boils down to patients and physicians seeing consistency in the program. Physicians, for example, weren’t willing to forward patients to our class until they saw consistency in our program. One physician remarked, ‘I just assumed you were having a few ‘Diabetes Days,’ but I realized you actually have a great service you can provide to my diabetes patients on a consistent basis.
If you’re currently ‘hitting the wall,’ be encouraged! Keep your classes consistent. Let your area physicians know you don’t plan on quitting any time soon. If you’re ‘hitting the wall,’ be sure let us know…we’re full of ideas to break through the wall!’
David D. Pope, PharmD, CDE
David can be contacted at david@CreativePharmacist.com, or 706.210.9087