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According to the art: peer assistance for pharmacists with problems

On Behalf of | Jan 19, 2016 | Medical Licensing

As a pharmacist, you are an heir to a great healing tradition. It’s a tradition that reaches back to Greek and Latin antiquity in the search for suitable treatments and medications.

It is therefore entirely fitting that the peer assistance program for pharmacists in Pennsylvania bears a Latin phrase. In this post, we will give a brief introduction to the S.A.R.P.H. program, which uses the Latin phrase “secundum artem.”

secundum artem literally means “according to the art.” Figuratively, in the context of pharmacy, it refers to the art and science of healing or providing pain relief through dispensing medications.

Historically, the role of providing such medications has been filled by practitioners who have borne various titles. The terms “chemist” and “apothecary” were once widely used. But now, in our modern world, the word we use for the person who fills prescriptions from physicians is of course “pharmacist.”

A pharmacist helps people by dispensing useful prescriptions. But the job comes with the pressure to steer clear of substance abuse problems oneself.

Sometimes those pressures can be very difficult to bear and can lead to problems with addiction. And sometimes pharmacists run into problems with psychological disorders too. Indeed, it is even possible to struggle with addiction and mental illness at the same time.

It is for scenarios such as this that Pennsylvania’s S.A.R.P.H. program comes in. The S and the A stand for secundum artem — in other words, according to the standards of the profession. The RPH refers to reaching pharmacists with help.

It’s a confidential program that has been around for over 30 years and has been approved by the Pennsylvania State Board of Pharmacy. It is open to licensed pharmacists and students of pharmacy.