Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Someone game me flowers

Well... someone gave the pharmacy staff flowers.

Apparently, there is one person in the entire world that knows it is Pharmacist Appreciation Month. Hell, I didn't even know until a customer showed up with flowers a couple days ago. She was the daughter of one of our most frequent customers. Her mother is generally a nice person, but her advanced diabetes has caused her vision to deteiorate significantly, so she can get confused and irritable sometimes. The daughter told us she was giving us the flowers as a way of saying thanks for taking such good care of her mother. She said she knew her mother could be a handful, but she knows we do our best for her.

Having one customer like that makes me feel my job is worthwhile. Most (not quite all) of our pharmacy staff works very hard do give each customer/patient the best service and care possible. Often, with all the incessant complaining about wait times, prices, what is and isn't covered by insurance, and plenty of other things, it seems like people don't appreciate us. This one customer showed us that we are appreciated.

I've been at this store for a year, and now I really feel like I've gotten to know a lot of our regular customers, and they've gotten to know me. I feel almost like part of a community, and that's how it should be. Afterall, it's called "community pharmacy." Most of us have gotten into the habit of calling it retail. I think that's the wrong attitude to take. We should be taking advantage of our opportunities to interact with the general public.

That's really the key to advancing this profession. Fuck residencies and all the other clinical bullshit that pharmacy schools try to shove down the throats of pharmacy students. We don't need to vie for the respect of other healthcare professionals. We need to be more respected by our customers. We need customers to feel comfortable calling us for advice. We need customers realizing that we are the medication experts, and if they have a question about one of their meds, we are more qualified than anyone else to answer it.

It doesn't take much... A change in attitude can go along way. You have to be always be willing to go that extra mile to help someone. Instead of just pointing a customer to aisle 20 when they ask for benadryl, go out and show them where it is and talk to them about it. Show the customers that their questions are welcomed and not an inconvenience to you. Just show you care.

That's the most important message I can give anyone going into community pharmacy.

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