How to Set Yourself Apart in Community Pharmacy

Pharmacy CareersPharmacy Careers Fall 2016

The vast majority of graduating pharmacists are willingly destined for community pharmacy, which certainly has its rewards.

The vast majority of graduating pharmacists are willingly destined for community pharmacy, which certainly has its rewards.

Although it’s easy for you, as a new graduate to accept a position with a company and become a cookie-cutter pharmacist, I’d like to take a few moments to share my thoughts on how to avoid this trajectory by setting yourself apart and getting ahead.

First and foremost, remember that people notice things. If you come in early and leave late every day, someone will notice. If you finish all of your work and make a point of getting things done, someone will notice. You will create a name for yourself in the company.

If you are a floater, there is no bigger compliment than someone asking for you to float at his or her store. If you are a staff pharmacist or a pharmacy manager, surely you will know if your techs like working with you. If they do, it’s the ultimate compliment because it means that you are hardworking and that you make everyone’s job easier.

Make personal connections with your staff. There’s nothing that technicians love more than a confident, hardworking pharmacist who is a both a supervisor and a friend. Make work fun for them, respect and stand up for them, and they will work hard for you in return.

Technicians are essential to our profession. Don’t forget that a happy staff creates a well-run pharmacy, and that reflects positively on you. It also projects an efficient, friendly image to customers, making them want to come back, which will help your business. Higher-level supervisors notice happy employees, even if you may not think they do.

Do what is asked of you, promptly. Don’t put tasks off until a later time because then they become a chore. You will be recognized and acknowledged if you always respond to information requests or complete assignments in a timely manner.

Be flexible and accommodating but not a pushover. If you are asked to help, and you are available, then help. However, don’t be afraid to say that you can’t sometimes. In my experience, I have seen both extremes: pharmacists who always change their own personal plans to help out the company, and pharmacists who are never willing to do extra work. Neither is good, so find a happy medium.

Notice pharmacy trends and use them to make yourself a better pharmacist. Community pharmacy, in some ways, is becoming more clinical. Most companies are encouraging or requiring pharmacists to secure off-site vaccine clinics and perform medication therapy management for patients. These affect company revenue and star ratings, and they also help you improve your people skills and brush up on your vaccine/disease state/medication knowledge.

Companies will give you the opportunity to set yourself apart, so don’t miss out. It is your career and you are representing yourself and your chosen profession, so be empowered and prosper.

Rana Hamdan, PharmD, is a pharmacy manager at Mariano's Ravenswood.

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