The annual Professionalism Runway Show put career style and best ethical practices on display this week, as a handful of bold, stylish students strutted down the red carpet.
The show, which launched a decade ago, features student models who are critiqued on their professional appearance and responses to fictional ethical dilemmas. It is hosted by the student organizations ASHP-SSHP and ACCP.
This season’s winners are perennial favorites – conservative attire, an air of confidence and mastery of one’s subject.
Rubber-backed maroon rugs laid end-to-end created a “red carpet” down the center of the Albert M. White Gymnasium. Students Charles Middleton and Sadie Lozier hosted the event.
Associate Professor Jeffrey Brewer set the stage with an honest recounting of one of his own lessons in professionalism, when he gave a patient the wrong information on how often she should take her medicine. The patient’s daughter discovered the error and all turned out fine, but Dr. Brewer had to be accountable for his mistake, including graciously bearing witness to the patient’s anger and frustration. He has not forgotten the moment and said he hoped students would remember it too.
He also reminded runway models and the audience of the five pillars of professionalism: 1) excellence and accountability; 2) maturity and insight; 3) altruism and service; 4) honor and integrity; and 5) professional presence.
Participants were each presented with an ethical dilemma and asked how they would handle it. The five fictional scenarios, edited for brevity, involved:
- Whether to sell profitable tobacco products at a financially struggling community pharmacy that is an important resource in a disadvantaged neighborhood
- What to do when a best friend’s sexual partner comes to your pharmacy with a prescription for a sexually transmitted disease
- How to address concerns about the safety of prescriptions that are being reviewed by a supervisor who smells of alcohol
- How to handle discrepancies in the inventory of controlled substances, which, as a hospital pharmacy intern, you have discovered all involve the same pharmacy technician
- How, as an intern, to address improper garbing and unsanitary practices by a hospital staff pharmacist who is compounding IV medications
Five courageous students, each with their own inimitable style, walked the runway, putting their personalities and professionalism on the line as they responded to their given dilemma. They are pictured above from left to right: Diana Byk, Dina Alhassani, Alex Nolin, Natalie Hart and Nicole Suker.
Three judges critiqued the models on style and presentations. This being an academic setting and not reality TV, the criticism was thoughtful and constructive. The judges were:
- Alum Dr. Austin Myers ’22 who is a pharmacist at CVS
- Lauren Stock, academic class advisor in the Center for Student Success and the women’s basketball coach
- Dr. Paul Denvir, an associate professor of communication in Population Health Sciences
A confident, but undramatic, entrance: The judges gave high marks to students who appeared self-assured – smiling, enthusiastic, heads held high.
Assessing the situation clearly: Judges also liked overviews of the dilemma, including students’ recounting of the conflict they faced in determining how to act.
Strong, direct presentation of position, with eye contact: This was another way the judges detected confidence.
Empathy: This was a big one, a favorite in 2022 as always. The judges praised students who showed empathy for everyone involved in the scenario, including the character causing the problem. They liked language that demonstrated that empathy, such as “a person struggling with addiction” rather than “an addict.”
Respect for privacy: In pharmacy and health sciences, privacy is de rigueur.
Filler words: All right, so, maybe some of these words could, like, be eliminated, y’know?
Fidgeting: Wriggling and squirming undermine the appearance of confidence.
Sounding rehearsed: Preparation is essential, but not to the point where it makes a presentation unnatural.
Forecast for Next Season
The ethical scenarios will fluctuate, along with the length of a skirt or the cut of a jacket. But our professionalism experts predict that a classic presentation – thoughtful and prepared – will always win out over flying by the seat of your pants.