I was rather puzzled when reading an article on the challenges of a “pushy” customer and the pressures placed on student pharmacists.
I’m puzzled because we, in pharmacy, have lost the skills of listening.
We have become so “medicalised” that we now seem to “tell” rather than “partner in a satisfactory outcome”.
Whether the educators like or not, customers are now quite informed.
They have access to lots of information, and despite what they are “told” by us, their beliefs are maintained.
In my view, that’s because the communication is one way – we ask the snappy questions what-stop-go-back and collect $200 or whatever that system is, by which time the patient is totally confused.
“Tell me how you feel” is a far better option.
Academia wants to “teach” better engagement but it’s not easy to learn from role plays and textbooks.
We “oldies” learned from the people for whom it was a privilege to worth with (not work “for”) as we strove to be part of our customer’s lives.
That generation of pharmacists was part of every household – we aren’t “passing trade” (whatever that is) and we forget the precious qualification we worked so hard to attain.
Patient requests are merely an opportunity to solve a problem.
Are we too hasty in making a sale, much to the disappointment of the customer?
So student pharmacists listen up………we oldies still admit we don’t know enough to solve every problem, but we do listen and engage.
Go and watch and listen to how it’s done – you might learn something.
I do, every day……
OTC consultations are the backbone of our involvement.
Dispensing fast is a tool that anyone can master, but patient engagement is an acquired skill.
Skills need to be practiced, and honed, and changed to meet the individual expectations.
Try it sometime – its actually quite fun, whether the customer is “pushy” or not.