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March 2016, Vol 4, No 3 - Inside Pharmacy

This month, we asked the experts on our editorial board to provide their thoughts about the qualities of a pharmacy staff in a high-performing pharmacy.

Here is what they had to share

A: The pharmacy staff of a high-performing pharmacy contributes to the success of the company, and knows that their personal success only comes from making the company more successful. They are not bound by the clock for when they start or stop work—rather, they are bound to getting the job done no matter how early they start or late they finish.

The staff members exceed their job descriptions; for them, their job description is just what they do before they help out with other things. They are individually responsible for looking for what to do next as soon as they finish their current task, and when things go wrong, they look at how to make them right instead of who is to blame.

These staff members fill voids and do the jobs that nobody wants because they need to get done. No necessary task is beneath them, and they have spirits that keep them from bringing down the company or their colleagues. They know that problems are solved not by complaining, but by mending; they communicate any concerns to management, and seek help and improvement versus whispering through the grapevine.

In addition, pharmacy staff at high-performing pharmacies are committed to the concept of patient care; after all, what is best for the patient drives all activities. Being able to cultivate relationships within the medical community, “unsilo” their thinking, and have an entrepreneurial spirit are also predominant qualities, in addition to being passionate about lifelong learning, and having a “challenges are opportunities” mind-set.

—John O. Beckner, RPh, Senior Director, Strategic Initiatives, National Community Pharmacists Association, Alexandria, VA.

A: Qualities of high-performing pharmacy staff include patient empathy (ie, when they put themselves in the shoes of their patients and don’t look at them as just another customer), having a great attitude—a smile goes a long way in making a patient’s day—and being open to critique and able to quickly correct mistakes. A team within a high-performing pharmacy works together and helps each other on tasks that need to get done. This includes people who ask to do more, learn more, and focus on standard operating procedures.

—Ami Bhatt, Senior Director, Operations, Health & Wellness, Wal-Mart, Bentonville, AR.

A: Predominant qualities include being caring (ie, really caring about the patient—not just the prescription/transaction—making eye contact, engaging them in conversation, and displaying gratitude for providing them with a service); having integrity (honest and forthright, won’t hide behind a corporate line); being productive (proactive, timely in responding and making sure patients are not waiting); having a good sense of humor (putting the patient at ease—especially if that patient has a serious illness—and using lighthearted humor to make them feel better); and being knowledgeable (well-informed, and able to educate patients about the latest information and facts regarding their therapy).

—Alexandra Jung, Principal, Advisory Services, Ernst & Young, LLP; former Senior Vice President, Corporate Strategy, Walgreens.

A: To me, the most important quality in an employee of a high-perf­orming pharmacy is being of high character. These are staff members who have high integrity and a strong work ethic. They work hard even when no one is watching. Working with a team consisting of people with high characters will, in turn, create a high-performing pharmacy. Another quality is having an owner-like mentality. These employees have an intuitive mind-set for business and customer service. They know that every interaction with a patient is not a battle to be won or lost, and realize that creating a long-term relationship is more important than any single interaction.

—Barbara Campbell, RPh, CCN, Pharmacist and Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Peoples Rx, Austin, TX.

A: High-performing pharmacies typically have a pharmacy team that understands they are valuable members of the local healthcare team, engages patients, and continually works to improve patient care and outcomes. They understand what metrics define the pharmacy’s quality and performance, and view people seeking care at the pharmacy as patients, not customers. Other characteristics of high-performing pharmacies include having a nonpharmacist team that is a seamless extension of their pharmacists, having a pharmacy team that knows what is important to their local healthcare provider partners as well as their mutual patients, and fully understanding the clinical services offered by their pharmacy, in addition to why they offer them.

—Tripp Logan, PharmD, Vice President, Logan & Seiler, Inc, Charleston, MO.

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Last modified: April 23, 2016
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