I talk to many Pharmacists and visit quite a few. I believe I have met a few real community pharmacists who talk the talk and walk the walk and have developed an understanding of community pharmacy practice. Surprisingly some have been older and some very young – it is safe to say that age doesn’t matter – it is understanding and passion that counts.
- There are some features that are clear. I can’t remember the exact words, but I will give you the drift.
- I am located on the counter – I have delegated all dispensing to my team – every prescription comes in through me and out through me. My customers know me and I know them.
- I create time to talk to ‘my’ customers, check their understanding, ask about progress and offer some help and advice about associated symptoms and other common complaints, usually while their prescription is being expertly dispensed. I try to be proactive in helping them.
- I haven’t sold a perfume or lipstick for years – I simply don’t stock them. Everything I stock is related to healthcare. I maintain a professional healthcare environment.
- I have some special products that I believe are good. I always ask how people get on with the treatment that I have offered. It builds the relationship and I learn – I can adjust my advice and the products I source to fit customer needs. You have to keep learning.
- My local General Practice asks me for pharmaceutical advice – of course they pay – they get good value from me and they know it.
- I take on services that are commissioned – I like to be one of their high performing pharmacies. They often come to me to pilot new services before they are offered more widely.
- I love being a pharmacist – my profession allows me to make a real impact on people’s lives.
So there you are – older pharmacists who have always done it like this and younger pharmacists who know it is the right thing to do. I don’t pretend that such exposure on the front line is easy – it certainly is not. Pharmacists who tell me that ‘you have to know about everything that you sell’. Pharmacists who tell me that ‘working with customers/patients is the most exciting part about being a pharmacist’. My sort of Pharmacist