I’m not bemoaning the current state of pharmacy, but what percentage of your time is spent doing what you went to pharmacy school to provide?
How can we ensure that we prioritise care over service?
Somehow, we have to re-educate our patients and customers that outstanding care is essential, and good service isn’t.
We don’t ask people to wait because we’re on the phone to the TAB, or enjoying our morning coffee.
We ask people to wait because we are providing care.
As time goes by, we each have to re-emphasize our place in the healthcare team, and ensure that we regain trust.
Our representative organisations won’t do it for us – this is an individual professional commitment.
Our patients have to be reassured that our sole motivation is to optimise their health and well-being.
The fact that we operate in a semi-commercial atmosphere is incidental, but the care factor must be separated in some way – quiet chats in a private area, away from the interruptions is a start.
I continue to be amazed that so many pharmacists can’t actually be seen any more – heads down, pounding the keyboard, looking at the pile of prescriptions needing attention.
It’s not those pieces of paper that need attention – it’s the sea of faces staring longingly at you, and seeking care.
I sometimes wonder if the banking industry has infiltrated our learning institutions, because avoiding eye contact is a skill.
Watch it being perfected in a bank, GP reception area or restaurant – it takes practice to be perfect in that skill.
An old boss of mine, in a country pharmacy, taught me that you are on the stage, that your pharmacy was your performing theatre and that people would pay you to engage with them if you performed courteously and in a caring manner.
That skill has been lost.