PROPOR TION OF PHARMACIS TS WHO RATED WORKLOAD AS HIGH OR EXCESSIVELY HIGH BY WORK SE T TING.
Independent Chain Mass Merchandiser Supermarket Hospital
2004 2009 2014
KEEPING BUSY profession, in part to determine what exactly
makes for a good pharmacist. Respondents
say they rate pharmacists and other pharmacy
staff highly because they are helpful, good
resources of information, informative, knowledgeable, courteous and easy to talk to.
“That speaks to the professional and interpersonal qualities that make a good pharmacist from the ultimate perspective—that of the
patient,” says Chris Krese, spokesman for the
Arlington, Va.-based NACDS.
A closer look reveals that some of the more
important qualities have very little to do with
the profession of being a pharmacist and more
to do with providing attention to and treating people with respect. That is no accident.
“From the curriculum in pharmacy school
schools to the practice setting, the evolution
continues to an ever-more patient-centered
focus,” says Krese.
That patient-centric focus is creating
increased dialogue between pharmacist and
patient. Within the NACDS opinion research,
more than half of respondents say they had
spoken to a pharmacist regarding a question
about prescription medication. Nearly as many
say they had spoken to a pharmacist about an
over-the-counter medication. Three in 10 say
they had spoken to a pharmacist about a personal health question.
“This all goes to the need to interact well
with patients and customers,” says Krese.
“There is also a keen focus today on the pharmacists’ ability to provide nutritional counseling, which certainly open up possibilities
throughout the community pharmacy setting.”
IN TEAM SPORTS, it is the
superstars that usually get all the
press and accolades. However,
without strong support from
their teammates that team will
never be successful. In that
regard, a supermarket pharmacy
is much like a hockey or football
team—making a strong support
Industry observers say that as
insurance reimbursements continue to shrink, it is becoming
increasingly difficult to achieve
a positive bottom line. This can
present pharmacies with difficulties when it comes to providing
“Even in pharmacies with a
moderate workload, there are
times during the day that the
pharmacy will experience a high
volume of business,” says Mike
McKinley, director of pharmacy
for Bashas’, Chandler, Ariz.-based
grocery chain. “If support is lack-
ing during those times, serious
customer service issues can
occur. Bashas’ goal is to provide
an adequate support staff, well
trained on our QS/1 pharmacy
system, which provides the
tools needed to fill prescriptions
promptly and accurately.”
Pharmacy support staff can
be filled in a variety of ways.
Bashas’ looks for people with the
same traits as its pharmacists.
“People who like people, who
will interact with people and
who show that they care about
people,” says McKinley.
Since there seems be ample
amounts of candidates available in the industry now, Bashas’
normally posts support staff
positions on it website. Another
good source is pharmacy interns.
“It is a good way to recruit technician and pharmacists,” adds
Oft times support staff is culled
from technical colleges and are
provided on-the-job training.
“There is no credentialing, per
se, to become a pharmacy tech-
nician,” says David Kreling, a pro-
fessor at the School of Pharmacy,
University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“So high school graduates or col-
lege students who aren’t phar-
macy students kind of morph to
Officials at Harps Food Stores,
a Springdale, Ark.-based 80-unit
chain with stores in Arkansas,
Oklahoma and Missouri, say it
is difficult to explain just how
important and valuable the sup-
port staff is. They say a great staff
that is well trained makes a huge
difference in the pharmacist’s
ability to spend the necessary
time with customers.
“As for finding great support
staff, I always tell our pharmacists
that whenever they are out shopping, eating, etc., to keep their
eye out for friendly outgoing
people with smiles,” says Robert
Acord, RPh, director of pharmacy
for Harps. “That is what we need.
I can teach anybody the technical part of being a great support
staff, but it is hard, if not impossible, to teach the people the caring side of the job.”
THANKS FOR THE SUPPORT