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LEARNING OBJECTIVES

Learning Objectives

After completing this chapter, the reader will be able to:

  • Discuss the importance of working effectively with the media.

  • Plan methods to interact with the media effectively.

  • Develop ways to address potential barriers to working with the media.

KEY CONCEPTS

Key Concepts

  • image Health care practitioners have an important story to tell, if you do not tell your own story, someone else will tell the story for you. And they may not get it right!

  • image Work with the organization or institution’s resources before accepting any media requests.

  • image Develop a plan and key messages before talking with the media.

  • image Be cognizant of deadlines and follow-up requests.

  • image Stories can help your patients, organization, community, and profession, and shape public policy.

INTRODUCTION

A key competency for health care practitioners is to advocate for our patients, organizations, community, and our profession. In fact, it is considered a professional obligation for pharmacists.1 It is important to take a stand on key health care issues that affect patients (e.g., drug shortages, drug pricing). Yet for most health care practitioners, the thought of talking to someone from the media is frightening, if not paralyzing. What many do not recognize is that we advocate for our patients and community frequently, but may not think of this advocacy as a strategy to further our aims. They may not think they have anything to say. In the case of pharmacists, they are the most accessible clinicians providing health care in communities and are painfully aware of the issues that affect patients, the health care teams, and communities. image Health care practitioners have an important story to tell, if you do not tell your own story, someone else will tell the story for you. And they may not get it right!

WORKING WITH THE MEDIA

Planning

If asked to speak with the media, do not miss an opportunity to do so if the topic is right and you have support and approval from your supervisor and media relations department.2 If not familiar with the topic, seize the opportunity to facilitate getting the right person in your organization to work with the media. Likewise, there may be an opportunity to ask for coverage of a specific topic (push a story). Most organizations have resources available to help with media requests. image Work with the organization or institution’s resources before accepting any media requests. At a minimum, it’s important to obtain permission first, and to be clear if you are speaking on behalf of yourself and your expertise, or if you are speaking on behalf of the organization. In most cases, you will not be speaking on behalf of your organization. Get to know the media relations and government affairs professionals within your organization. Let them know you are willing to help work ...

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