How Music Heard in the Pharmacy Affects Attitudes


Plastic surgeons make better stitches when they listen to their favorite music, according to new research.

Plastic surgeons make better stitches when they listen to their favorite music, according to new research.

If music has such a beneficial effect on operating tables, how does it affect pharmacists and their patients?

Jason Poquette, RPh, of Pharmacy Healthcare Solutions, told Pharmacy Times that he believes music can have a direct effect on a pharmacy’s quality of service.

“Annoying or repetitive music tends to frustrate the staff and create a negative atmosphere,” Poquette said. “On the other hand, fun, snappy, and multigenerational music tends to produce a workplace that helps everyone focus and remain calm.”

Poquette, who has experimented with playing different genres of music in the workplace, said songs from the 1950s and 1960s tended to have the best results.

“Though this era is before my time, I find it to be music that many generations can connect with,” he said. “Not only that, but we have to take the patients into consideration when thinking about music, and this music genre seems to really connect with the majority of the patients I currently serve.”

Poquette pointed out that music can bring back good memories. So, even if the circumstances surrounding a pharmacy visit are unpleasant, a certain song can bring a smile to a customer’s face.

“The pharmacy can be hard on patients and employees alike, [but] music can soften the blow,” Poquette said. “As Bob Marley once said, ‘One good thing about music: when it hits you, you feel no pain.’”

For other pharmacists, the go-to genre was classical music.

Erin L. Albert, PharmD, JD, MBA, an associate professor at Butler University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, told Pharmacy Times that classical music worked best for her, especially in terms of concentration. Generally, she preferred music in the workplace that did not have lyrics.

Anyssa Garza, PharmD, director of Life Sciences Library at RxWiki, told Pharmacy Times that she favors some music over no music in the workplace, and she prefers “relaxing, yet uplifting” songs.

“I strongly believe music has a positive influence on my productivity and attitude,” Dr. Garza maintained.

However, she noted that her colleagues have found music to be distracting in the workplace.

“Before I play any music, I ensure the entire staff is comfortable with music being played, as well as take into account what music they prefer to hear,” Dr. Garza said.

Beyond lifting spirits and improving concentration, music may have effect on pharmacists’ stress levels. Previous research has shown that surgeons’ stress levels decrease when they listen to music during operations.

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