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From medicine to motivation

August 16, 2011

Pharmacist-turned-author finds inspiration in patient interactions

Corey Jahnke, PH'90, has published a book about the power of positive thinking.

Corey Jahnke, PH’90, drew on experiences gained during his career as a pharmacist to write a newly published book titled We Are Not Here On Rehearsal.

"My book takes a gentle approach to walk people through the basics of positive living,” Jahnke says. The book, published in July and available for purchase online, aims to encourage individuals to pursue their professional and personal goals.

Jahnke, a recipient of the Wal-Mart Pharmacist of the Year Award and the Chamber of Commerce of Rice Lake, WI, Special Customer Service Award, found inspiration in interactions with people of all backgrounds and levels of success.

“The number one thing I keep in mind as a pharmacist is that we are in the business of establishing relationships with people, not just servicing customers,” he says.

A prescription for patient care

Jahnke's recently-published book features anecdotes from his career as a pharmacist.

To Jahnke, caring for clients means more than just filling a prescription; patients deserve empathetic treatment and health care professionals who listen to their concerns.

“For a good share of America, a bottle of aspirin is a major purchase, and pharmacists have to keep that in mind,” he says. “After their visit to the pharmacy, I encourage patients to call if they have any questions, and I make sure to ask how they’re doing. A patient is more likely to call if he or she understands that the pharmacist cares about their welfare.”

Jahnke was motivated to write a book as a way to inspire others to seek personal development.

“Over the years, I have talked to thousands of people and have heard millions of wonderful ideas,” he says. “Writing a book to discuss successful life habits seemed like a logical next step, and it prompted me to reflect on the values and work ethic I learned at Drake. What you want to do – to succeed personally or professionally, or to write a book – requires hard work, grit and determination. You just have to decide that your dreams aren’t optional.”

Preparing empathetic pharmacists

Denise Soltis, assistant dean for clinical affairs, says that current pharmacy students learn valuable skills related to patient interaction throughout their time at Drake.

“Students are introduced to basic communication skills and the importance of empathy in the first semester of the first year of the professional pharmacy program,” Soltis says. “This theme is continued through the pharmacy skills and applications course series, and students are evaluated for communication skills during advanced practice experiences in their last year.”

Communication development is a vital component of the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (CPHS), which aims to provide an intellectually stimulating learning environment through educational collaboration among students, faculty and staff. Graduates are liberally educated professionals dedicated to serving their clients, patients, profession and community.

Drake pharmacy students develop real-world communication proficiency through clinical and practice-related experiences coordinated by the CPHS Office of Experiential Education.

“Drake’s pharmacy experiential education program is dedicated to providing experiences for student pharmacists to enhance their communication skills,” says Anisa Fornoff, assistant professor of pharmacy practice. “These experiences may take place at a nursing home, a medical clinic proving free care or through health care screenings in the community.”

— Stella Hart, Class of 2011