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Each month, we share insights about industry trends,  resources for building a sustainable business, and opportunities to enrol in programmes to support your next STEPS towards your goals.

National Pharmacy Conference 2019 - What's New?

Galway.  Blue Skies.  Spacious venue.  Experts.  Vendors.  Friends.  Colleagues.  Professional. Business.  Pleasure. Robust, constructive and encouraging conversations   ....  The Pharmacy Conference 2019. 

As I was driving back to Lismore from Galway, and reflecting on my take-aways, I reflected on how many of you would have really valued being there in person.  But that isn't always possible.  The very nature of community pharmacy, it means that at least 1800 pharmacists cannot attend a given conference, even if you wanted to, as you are patient-facing in your pharmacy.  

For your interest, here are a few of my take aways and, of course, questions.  

As we say in coaching, 'The quality of the question, determines the quality of the answer.'  So, wearing my 'Pharmacist Coach' hat, I offer you the questions in italics, with the intention that they give you cause to pause and find your own answers.

For me, the conference themes fell into four categories. 

Which one  of the four categories listed below is easiest for you to express?  


As a healthcare provider, you give a lot of yourself every day at work, as a manager, as a leader, as a healthcare professional, as a service provider, as an employee or employer.  What are your 'go-to' tools to manage your own mental, emotional and physical wellbeing in the moment? (and there are plenty of moments!)  Workplace wellbeing was a topic on Friday, leading through adversity on Saturday and delegating and communication on Sunday.  

These were truly inspiring and thought provoking sessions, which gave me cause to pause, wake up to the opportunities in my life, re-connect with the impact we have as pharmacists and the privilege it is to be able to serve our communities in such valuable ways.

If you haven't heard Jack Kavanagh MPSI speak yet, CLICK HERE to check out his TED Talk.  He is an inspiring person.  

What if you led with more love and less fear?  What would you and your team create?  

Which brings me to....


The plenary session and Slaintecare panel discussion invited us to envision operating to our full scope of practice, consider how to build alignment and take action now to move towards that goal.  What I found personally inspiring was the Canadian, UK and Irish pharmacists who have forged and illuminated our path before us and demonstrated to pharmacists, patients and healthcare commissioners alike the value we offer when we operate to our full scope (which included prescribing, injecting and ordering lab tests).  Indeed, they challenged us to consider if dispensing should continue to be part of our scope of practice.  What do you think?  

What 'yes buts...' are holding you in check and keeping you playing small?   What could being a pharmacist be like if you expanded beyond your current limitations?


Technical sessions included atrial fibrillation, palliative care, eczema diagnosis and treatment and breast cancer survivorship.  What struck me about these sessions is the very human skills of trust, empathy, communication and leadership required to empower patients to avail of, implement and benefit from our technical expertise.  Knowledge is foundational, but it is not enough. 

The expert pharmacist must also be an expert communicator to be effective. 

How effective a communicator are you?  How do you know that to be true?     


No matter what our role, we do not operate in isolation.  We need to sense we belong, connect, integrate and contribute to a bigger purpose, and feel valued, recognised and appreciated.  We need customers and patients.  We need contractors and employees.  We need suppliers and consumers.  We need pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and retail staff.  We need finance.  We need other healthcare professionals. We need our communities as much as our communities need us. 

The conference brought together many interconnected pieces, from APPEL preceptor training, to the health minister's address, to Slaintecare discussion, to the exhibition hall, and sessions to apply data analytics, people, processes and technology to drive pharmacy innovation for the future. 

What are the highest value activities that only you can do?    What percentage of your time do you spend doing those highest value activities?  What is the cost to you, your community, the pharmacy business and your profession of spending your time on lower value work?  

After the Minister's address on Saturday, several delegates said privately to me something like 'It's encouraging, but we'll see what happens.'  When I asked what they meant, they expressed a lack of confidence that anything would change.  When I asked 'WHO are you waiting for to effect that change?' ….. there were a variety of answers, many of which included OTHER people. 

My passion, my business, my mission is to support you to remember

  • just how powerful you and your team are,
  • that change begins with you AND
  • you do not have to lead alone. 

In addition to our bespoke one-to-one executive coaching, strategic leadership team coaching and onsite consultation skills training,  behind the scenes, our talented 4Front Pharmacy team is proud to be doing its bit to build capacity for a compelling vision for the future of community pharmacy. 

Simply, effectively and without any travel downtime, we deliver high quality, online content to train, assess and validate you and your team, offering you professional peace of mind and business growth. 

We have been diligently creating and developing 4Front Pharmacy's Online platform and training content as a One-Stop Shop for Pharmacy Team Training.  We create at least one training module per week, so our customers are constantly learning so they can continually grow their results.  Be sure to check out the latest modules on topics such as 

  • Sun Health 
  • Ibuprofen 
  • The Gut 
  • Headache and Migraine and many more

CLICK HERE to login or register for free access to our training. 

Feedback from our pioneering initial premium users (including pharmacists, technicians, OTC and cosmetic staff), strongly indicated that the 4Front Pharmacy Premium Membership was such a valuable way to contribute to raising the bar for pharmacy in Ireland, that we offered our product to a wider pharmacy audience for the first time by hosting a stand at the United Drug Pharmacy Show.  It has been exciting to hear case studies of how individuals and pharmacy teams are already applying what they are learning with their customers, sometimes within minutes of completing an online learning module!   Its a journey of continuous and never ending improvement.

CLICK HERE to try out 4Front Pharmacy Continuous and Never Ending Performance Improvement Programme for free. 

Registration is free and open to everyone on your team. 



18 May, as members of the Irish Pharmacy Award Expert Judging Panel, we'll be attending the 2019 Irish Pharmacy Awards at Clayton Hotel on Burlington Road in Dublin.  You can read more about the judging panel on page 55 of May edition of IPN  Click here for more information



Next STEPS Strategy Session 

If reflecting on the question 'What do you do?' leaves you anything other than 'inspired and energised' let's schedule a Next STEPS strategy session to discover how you can tap back into you and your team's motivation. and peak performance.   Click here to schedule a 40-minute, complimentary, "Next Steps" Strategy Session with Rachel. 

Connect with Rachel

4Front Pharmacy Founder, Rachel Dungan is a Pharmacist, Trainer and Professional Coach.  She has over 20 years experience in hospital and community pharmacy.  Her passion is empowering pharmacy leaders and their teams to be and do their best.   She is ICF Ireland Executive and Leadership Coach of the Year 2019.  Contact Rachel at 086 602 5584 Email: rachel@racheldungan.com

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Rachel Dungan
4Front Pharmacy Solutions Ltd