Focus on these 5 mental mantras and watch your community pharmacy practice improve like no other.
Do you remember every single medication monograph you studied in pharmacy school? Every single adverse reaction, warning/precaution, and interaction? How about law: do you recall every minute detail in the federal regulations? Let’s add the state regulations on that; do some slip your mind?
We are all human, and have finite “storage space,” so we focus on the important points: how the drug works, most common side effects, etc., and we can look up the rest with our resources. Our minds work to keep things simple: top of mind, tip of tongue, to keep the most essential facts in our sights.
To be the very best pharmacist you can be, there is A LOT to keep in mind. So much so, in fact, that it could make your head spin! I don’t know about you, but when I studied medications in pharmacy school, I loved the secret weapon of mnemonics — simple tricks like rhymes to help me remember not so simple things.
I present to you my success list for community pharmacists to help keep those most essential things in the forefront of your mind so that you can be the best pharmacist possible, and thus deliver the best care possible for your patients (this is NOT all-inclusive, but I hope it will be helpful in your service as a pharmacist in community practice):
1. If you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen.
We try so very hard to keep our patients safe and clarify potential issues with other professionals! Unfortunately, things can happen that we don’t want to see happen, and should it happen to you, all of the extra effort you took to prevent it MUST be documented to display what you did in good faith with your ability as a pharmacist. Words and heresay never hold up in a legal situation, but when the writing is on the wall, facts are facts.
2. Keep your voice low, because only you and the patient need to know.
One word: HIPAA! We want to make sure our patients’ privacy is protected and we respect their privacy to health information. One of the best ways to make this happen is to be as discreet as possible when counseling and discussing such matters. It’s even better if your pharmacy has a designated private room or consultation area so that the patient can be assured privacy is your priority.
3. When in doubt, check it out!
We have ALL seen that handwritten chicken scratch—err, I mean prescription–where it could say “1 tab daily” or “3 tabs at bedtime.” Professional judgement of course is key, but if you are not certain, one phone call could prevent a serious adverse reaction for both the patient and your license. Make the call! Yes, it is probably so busy you haven’t peed in 8 hours, but your patients’ lives are worth it.
4. Treat every patient like a family member.
The recommendation you are about to give patient Jane Smith-the tone of voice, the eye contact, the care-would you do the same if it was your sweet old grandmother? The woman that raised you, the most important person in your life that makes you smile? Pause, put your mindset into that scenario, and I am willing to bet that the level of patient care you deliver will be even better! That is a win-win right there: patient gets a better consultation, you are the new favorite pharmacist, it’s like ta-da!
5. Treat your techs better than you treat yourself.
OMG SO TRUE!!! Your technicians are your life force in the community setting. If you treat them well, they will WANT to be a part of your team and drive progress for you and your patients. Did they do something nice for you? Go out of their way? Make a big deal about it, because that is a big deal! Recognition and appreciation are so key to maintaining ongoing efforts and enthusiasm from your team. Yes, I DID save the best tip for last!
*TheFitPharmacist Tip: one thing that I like to do is celebrate every tech’s birthday with a special cake. It is THEIR day, and they should feel like it!
As pharmacists, there is WAY more things than this list provides to keep a focus on. If you start with the basics- the most important parts- and master those, then you can grow fromn their. It all starts with YOU!