Human Resource Considerations in Community Pharmacy

Article excerpt

DISPENSED AS WRITTEN

Today, the focus of pharmacy practice has shifted from direct personal preparation of medicinal compounds to clinical services such as interpretation of laboratory results or administration of vaccines. Pharmacists also have to deal with many personnel management functions. Emerging societal health issues, such as obesity, teen pregnancy, and abuse of narcotics have added to their tasks.

Interestingly, pharmacy in practice is distinct from other professions, in that it encompasses a significant involvement of business and economics. Pharmacy practice entails a high degree of entrepreneurship and business competition. For a pharmacy to run successfully and profitably, the human resource component must be carefully harnessed and effectively managed to ensure optimum productivity.

The human resources challenge

The area of human resources has emerged as a distinct area of challenge in community pharmacy practice. Consider the roles of pharmacy support staffers and the need for pharmacists to effectively monitor them in the workplace. The health of the pharmacist, customer relations, productivity, and the image of the organization all depend on these employees.

During my years of experience as a relief pharmacist, I have observed that in some establishments, it is not uncommon to discover that the high volume of prescription errors occurring in the pharmacy, whether at the hospital or retail level, can be traced to the poor quality of technician support.

Again, in my experience, I have noted that most independent pharmacies have few employees, who are often under the direct watch of the pharmacists, and they are dedicated and committed personnel. Conversely, chain-store pharmacies are run purely for profit, and staff turnover is high, In these envirionments, employees often show poor understanding and scant commitment to the purpose for which the organization exists, and few can say what their career prospects are. Typically, morale is low, and many employees are underqualified, undertrained, and potentially hazardous in their conduct toward the pharmacist and even toward patients.

The pharmacist serving in the chain store, despite his or her highest intentions to encourage staffers, often meets with frustration from an uncouth, ill-motivated, and unprofessional workforce. …