Digital Nomads – Providing Clinical Services That Appeal

There’s a growing opportunity that is emerging among professionals who are adapting to a nomadic lifestyle. 
You don’t have to be “grey” to qualify for the lifestyle – and it can accommodate any age.
It does however, require a full confidence in your knowledge base and have some tech-savvy skills in addition.

Welcome to the world of the digital nomads.
Digital nomads are professionals, independent of specific locations, who rely on a cloud-based toolkit that includes Skype, Google Docs and social media to work from wherever, whenever, all the while continuing to collaborate with clients back home.

And it is a match for the delivery of consultations for patients in multiple locations – even those who are located in private homes and who have individual skills to be able to work with the technology.
Typically it will work best through a community pharmacy hub.

And it works equally effective for the training of all facets of management and marketing for pharmacists and key personnel of a pharmacy – mentoring, coaching or management consulting.

Despite common misconceptions, the life of a digital nomad is not just for the carefree Gen Y’s – the digital nomad comes in many forms.
There are those who have a regular home base but are part-time travellers; those who choose long-term locations from which to work and live; and those who travel constantly and cram everything they own into a backpack.
Some are alone, some are couples and some even bring the kids along.

It is yet to catch on fully in the ranks of pharmacy, but there is a nucleus of training programs that are under way, replacing the previous telephone contact sessions involving business coaching.

But in this mobile world of ours, patients are seeking remote services, and teleconferencing services are the closest thing to a face-to-face communication.
Doctors have been seeking to have Medicare pay for Telemedicine sessions for some time, but government is yet to embrace the concept.
But doctors still use the system so that they can refine the process to deliver an acceptable service.
With the cost of health escalating almost daily, pharmacy too, must embrace this technology to minimise the cost of delivery, particularly for the elderly patients, whose ranks are rapidly escalating on a daily basis.
And it is liberating in that the service can be delivered at any time over a day, not confined to a 9am to 6pm regular routine, straight to a patient visiting a pharmacy or directed straight to their private home, allowing direct contact links involving contact visits by clinical assistants, or an in-house pharmacist or simply a delivery service.
All organised through a community pharmacy hub.

Organised efficiently, these service models will allow pharmacy owners to bypass major shopping malls and set up in cheaper rental locations.

An entire marketing program can be built as a “Pharmacy-in-the Home” program and i2P has often referred to it in various articles posted around this theme.

This is not a new concept.
Working remotely has been common in Australian workplaces for some time now, with an estimated 1 million employees now working from home.
However, as with all things in life there must be a balance and while there is a strong appeal in delivering services from an interesting or an exotic location, a physical appearance within a pharmacy environment must occur on a rotating schedule so that proper communication and interchange occurs with pharmacy management and other clinical staff, particularly if a new service is being introduced and integration needs to occur.

The concept of becoming a digital nomad can generally be considered a plus all round because a pharmacy can work at becoming a hub for an unlimited range of clinical services delivered by multiple clinical pharmacists, who in turn can deal with multiple pharmacies that are appropriately located in appropriate geographic areas, so that conflict of interest does not occur with competing pharmacies.

On the digital nomad side, non-pharmacy hubs have sprung up around the world that can provide social networking support and technical skills to all types of other nomad professionals.
This means that expertise can cross-fertilise one nomad professional with the other (including other clinical pharmacist nomads) with the result that creativity and innovation can occur.
The potential is enormous.

Work hubs have popped up in locations across the world to provide workers with a chilled-out space to do what they do, help them baseline their expenses, as well as feel part of a community and have those strong networking moments that can only otherwise be achieved through attending conferences.

Places like Chiang Mai, Medellin and Berlin formed the first wave of these hubs for roving digital nomads but new centres are growing and evolving to offer today’s digital nomad something even more unique.
Deep in the Indonesian jungle, perched on the side of an active volcano and wedged between picturesque rice paddies you can now find places like ‘Hubud’ – a creative co-working hub in Ubud.

With over 200 members, and around 50-60 daily co-workers, Hubud is revered amongst the digital nomad community for offering the space and productivity that big city offices could only dream of – proof that a life of adventure and professional success are not mutually exclusive.

But don’t be fooled – like all things, working in a developing country remote from major business centres has its drawbacks. Maintaining international health insurance with global coverage, understanding and abiding by myriad local laws, obtaining work visas, and keeping on top of long-distance relationships with friends and family back home are all major challenges facing the digital nomad.

The logistics of a nomadic workplace can also be frustrating for some.
Digital nomads do not have the benefit of ‘passive face time,’ which is getting credit for showing up at the office, and their performance is judged purely on results, which means they must clearly demonstrate their value to clients at all times.
Add on top of this the juggling of time zones, international currency exchange, and unreliable internet and electricity connections – it soon becomes clear that the life of a digital nomad is not all Sea Breezes and suntans.

But for those willing to take the leap, the experience can be priceless and will only get easier as more people join the nomadic workforce.
So if you’re thinking about ditching the daily grind and joining the thousands who have set themselves up in a sunnier situ, here are a few tips to help you on your way:

  • Develop the skills you need to thrive. While there is no requirement to be an entrepreneur or have your own online business, there are certain skills that suit the digital nomad lifestyle more than others. If you’re in no real rush to set off, then consider cutting your teeth in jobs like digital marketing and IT that will set you up with the core skills to work from just about anywhere.
  • Freelance in your spare time. It’s important to build up your own portfolio and online profile to attract clients once you’ve left the safety of your current pharmacy.
    Not only will this assist in building your skill set, it will also give you a taste of what it’s like working remotely before you decide to take on the life of a digital nomad full-time.
  • Do your research. If you’ve made up your mind that the life of a digital nomad is for you, make sure you do the proper ground work before you go.
    As the saying goes, “If you fail to plan, you’re planning to fail.”
    Consider simple things like adding the World Clock Google Calendar widget to your laptop, get an unlocked phone and local SIM card (you may be shocked by how inexpensive local phone services can be), buy a USB ethernet adaptor in case of limited wi-fi, and download an app that lets you text your friends and family back home for free (WhatsAppimo and textPLUS are all good options).
  • Start closer to home. The digital nomad lifestyle is not just for jet-setters.
    There are a number of creative co-working hubs that have popped up recently in locations across Australia, offering the same like-minded communities away from the stresses of city life without the commitment of remote overseas living.
    Some of Australia’s best spots include StartInno in Byron Bay, Parliament in Hobart, and 6 Degrees in Coffs Harbour.
    For those with family commitments the more local options may be the most sensible.
    But I am also thinking that senior pharmacists thinking of retirement, that this is an option made in heaven, because this is an option to combine travel and make lifetime experiences available at a time when the ageing population will be able to benefit.

Globally, digital nomads have grown 103 percent since 2005 with most occurring in the US.
It is still an emerging trend but now is the time to be planning for the introduction of this concept.
It is also a concept that for the digital nomads, access to the best global conferences becomes available because you can just be there, and work in segments simultaneously.
The switch to remote employment is often driven by both employees and their management; for professionals with long commutes or busy family lives, remote work can reduce time spent commuting or time-off requests.
For others, remote works offers the opportunity to travel while working—reducing vacation time used. 
Seventy-nine percent of millennials would consider quitting their current job to freelance, listing the flexibility to travel and freedom to set their own schedules as driving interests.
According to the Quarterly Journal of Economics, remote employees are up to 13% more productive, feel less distracted and report higher work satisfaction levels. Improved productivity ultimately improves business performance the economy; freelancers, who traditionally work outside of the office, already contribute over $700 billion to the U.S. economy annually.

Given employees’ interests in remote working and its productivity-boosting effects, several companies—including IBM, the United States Government, and Automattic (parent company to WordPress)—have transitioned some (or all) employees to remote work.
In total, 400% more Americans work remotely in 2015 than did in 1995.

Subsequently, professionals who opt to live and work nomadic lifestyles are feeling more secure in their career choices. 
Two-thirds of freelancers expect to continue working in this lifestyle for 10+ years.

Clinical pharmacists without borders is a concept looking for a leadership organisation to advocate on its behalf, and formulate a whole host of organisational activities ranging from the business format, the range of contracts that need to be in place, identifying a global educational schedule and booking places in bulk, negotiating with the various service hubs and generally identifying the types of insurances required and identifying the best types of equipment as well as other components such as templates for various reports and communications.

It is work that would satisfy new pharmacist graduates with about five years experience or older pharmacists 50+ seeking early release from pharmacy ownership.
It embraces both ends of the pharmacy profession – satisfying work for new pharmacists and a succession into retirement for the older pharmacist.

It has appeal for the stability of the entire pharmacy profession in that there is a succession for the pharmacist human resource to be efficiently caught in a progressively stable and interesting flow of work for a lifetime of individual choice.

Surely that is a platform that could make us all come together and unite for a common cause?

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