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Rapid City Hospital Director of Pharmacy named one of the 50 Most Influential Leaders in Pharmacy

Pharmacist in pharmacy

Dana Darger, Director of Pharmacy at Rapid City Hospital, loves his job, and he isn’t shy about it. “I really truly don’t know anyone doing anything who loves their work more than I do,” he says enthusiastically. “I’ve been doing it a long time and at this point I could easily retire, but I don’t want to — I love coming to work every day.”

His enthusiasm shows. It’s obvious in his demeanor, how he interacts with people and the positive way his team reacts to his presence. Whether he intends to or not, Dana sets an example for those around him — waking up and choosing a positive approach for the day. “There’s always a choice, and I’m not going to let someone else decide I’m having a bad day,” he says with a smile. “It doesn’t always work, we all have days that don’t go right, but I get to decide what my attitude is going to be.”

This kind of leadership doesn’t go unnoticed, and Dana was recently included in the 50 Most Influential Leaders in Pharmacy Awards and Recognition Program, launched by the Pharmacy Podcast Network. Pharmacy professionals were encouraged to nominate peers that made a significant difference in their organizations.

“Our pharmacists and teams of people who support our pharmacists are under so much pressure right now,” says Todd Eury CEO & Founder of the Pharmacy Podcast Network, the first podcast dedicated to the profession. “We want to re-instill pride in our industry and honor innovative leaders who are helping to transform pharmacy, making it better for our patients, who we exist to better serve.”

“One of my vendors put my name in for it,” Dana explains. “I don’t do anything for recognition. It certainly feels wonderful to get it, but it isn’t a driving force for me.” What does drive him is a desire to figure out ways to improve how the hospital pharmacy works, especially in the rural environment. “But I can’t do it on my own. The hospital administration and leadership have been really good to me, letting me dream and reinvent the way we do things.”

An example of the innovative thinking that put Dana on this list was his idea of floating work when needed, allowing pharmacists and techs to take care of patients anywhere in the Monument Health system, from anywhere in the system. The staff don’t need to be sent anywhere, which costs at least a couple hours of productivity. “We can take care of patients in any of our facilities 24/7. If you’re in Custer and you’ve had a heart attack, you’re going to get the same pharmacy services at two o’clock in the morning as you would in Rapid City,” Dana says. “It’s not even high tech, by any means — although the technology helps — it was just a matter of designing new processes and workflows to make it work.”

That kind of thinking spills over into all of Dana’s leadership. He’s a bit of a “color outside the lines” kind of individual, but that’s what makes him so effective at finding innovative ways to improve hospital pharmacy. “For me, it’s always about driving better patient care. It’s about better clinical pharmacy, better patient safety. It’s always been about trying to do things better.”

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