Alumnus Nick Bruck delivered the keynote address at WSU Doctor of Pharmacy white coat ceremonies August 19 in Spokane and August 26 in Yakima.

bruck addresses the people

Bruck currently serves as the district pharmacy supervisor for Walgreens, an area that covers Eastern and Central Washington, Northern and Central Idaho, and Montana. Walgreens has donated a white coat for each incoming WSU student pharmacist for the last six years. The company is also longtime supporter of WSU student scholarships and was recognized in 2014 by WSU as a Crimson Benefactor of the College of Pharmacy.

“We will need strong leaders to be the trail blazers for the new pharmacy practice, expansion in the pharmacist’s role in medicine and health care, and continued expansion the pharmacist’s scope of practice,” Bruck told the class of 2020. “You are going to be the new pharmacy leaders in this continued transformation.”

Bruck shared insights from his experiences rising through the ranks at Walgreens. Bruck grew up in Spokane and earned a Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Washington State University in 2004. He started at Walgreens as a pharmacy intern and quickly worked his way up to be a pharmacy manager. He then became the youngest pharmacy supervisor in the company nationally. Bruck is licensed to practice pharmacy in Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Illinois.

“I have been fortunate to learn from strong leaders, mentors, colleagues, and peers who have all contributed in one way or another to my success,” he said.

Here are a few points of wisdom that Bruck shared with the student pharmacists as he welcomed them into the Cougar family as health care professionals.

WSU Doctor of Pharmacy White Coat Ceremony keynote, Dr. Nick Bruck:
As you set off on the next chapter of your journey, I encourage you to keep the following things in mind:

1. As a profession, we need to work on communication. This includes communication with our patients, your peers, faculty, and health care team members. There are going to be some challenging times. You individually need to make sure you are working with your peers to make sure everyone succeeds as a team. This is the mindset of a true leader. If you see somebody struggling, pick them up. Share what works for you and listen to your peers, as they may have a different outlook or method, helping you grow as a practitioner. Everyone in this room was selected as they are capable. The continued support and caring for your peers will carry over to your patients throughout school and into the future.

2. Find a routine to reflect and follow up. As health care professionals, we are very good at evaluating the patient or chart in front of us, although after we move on to the next prescription or patient, the prior patient is forgotten. In your first year, look at your peers as your patients. After you have provided assistance you need to follow up. This can be in conversation, by text, or Facebook message. Your follow up, and follow through, as a practitioner is key to your success for better outcomes. Start early and now.

3. Health care spending is unsustainable. As a nation, we spend the most money on overall health care and statistically we have some of the worst outcomes. You will be one of the key drivers to deliver outcomes and ideas needed to make these changing models sustainable. There is going to be continued evolution in health care delivery models, and you need to take ownership of your profession and show the value of your services. There are many people in this room that have fought for years to get the profession to the level we are today, state wide and nationally. Be a part of this movement and ask questions and be proactive.

4. Take time to enjoy your experience as a student pharmacist and make time to build relationships. Throughout your next four years you will read many treatment guidelines, studies, textbooks, and attend many lectures. You will also look back at these four years as one of the best times of your life. You need to embrace the challenges and build lifelong friendships, as the WSU bond will never break. You will be working with the people sitting next to you in multiple capacities for the rest of your working career. These friends will be your support and push you to be better in all you do, both personally and professionally.

5.Les Brown — ‘Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.

You must consistently set goals for what you want to accomplish personally and professionally. One of my favorite books on goal setting and execution is Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith. I appreciate the framework that it provides on setting clear goals and developing the self-awareness, self-discipline, self-control, and commitment that are required to achieve worthwhile goals. This journey and your career as a pharmacist will require you to continuously challenge yourself and commit to lifetime learning.

Keep your goals clear, achievable and measurable. You will achieve a greater degree of success if you focus on one goal at a time and break that goal into monthly, weekly and daily goals.

As soon as you put on this white coat, you will be entering a legacy. When you graduate, you will be expected to continue to hold up this legacy. It does not matter where you go, WSU will be recognized as a national leader and you are now part of the WSU College of Pharmacy family. I challenge you to become a lifetime learner, work with the local, state and national organizations, build your network, and think outside the box making positive changes in the profession.

You will all go on to have great careers as pharmacists. You must always remember: as soon as you receive, give; and as soon as you learn, teach the next generation of pharmacists. Twenty years from now, we will see great change from the hard work and innovation you are getting set to put forth. Again, you are the new leaders that are going to build this profession, evolve this profession, and deliver the results to the health care industry, showing the absolute value pharmacist bring.