Phones are ringing off the hook. Cars are filling the drive-thru. Waiting lines are growing by the second. The fill queue is getting larger by the minute.
Does any of this sound familiar? It should, since it’s probably what a typical day at the pharmacy looks like. As we’ve gone through in previous blogs, pharmacy work runs at a hectic pace.
Retail pharmacies mix the careful precision of patient care with the breakneck pace of retail work. While some pharmacy works look like they’re built for this unique line of work, others take a much-needed breather.
Stress is inevitable, whether in life or at work. Work-related stress is a different breed of stress, requiring a unique breed of solutions.
Here is how you can reduce work-related stress in your independent pharmacy.
Like sports, pharmacy work is a game of inches. You constantly have to meet deadlines for all different kinds of people, be it your patients or doctors.
The brisk pace can make you feel like you can’t take hold of the day. Confidence and assurance are key leadership qualities, especially for independent pharmacists.
It is your responsibility to steady the pharmacy ship when going through choppy waters. The most efficient way to do so is excellent time management.
Time is always of the essence when it comes to pharmacy work. Assign your pharmacy staff specific roles and tasks that best suit their strengths. Nothing helps a long line of restless customers than a customer service extraordinaire.
They can handle the traffic while your pharmacy’s fill wizard is chopping down the fill queue. Delegating certain tasks to the right people will let your staff shine in even the most stressful days.
Furthermore, it opens the door for you to perform important pharmacist tasks. Whether it’s contacting doctors, administering vaccines, or giving comprehensive patient consultations, do what the moment demands of you.
Excellent time management is an excellent stress management method that makes pharmacy work a little easier.
Following up on the previous section, your pharmacy staff is the backbone of your independent pharmacy. You can only maintain an efficient workflow if your staff can keep pace.
But we’re all human. We all have bad days every now and then. And despite our best efforts, some of that negativity can bleed into the workplace.
Assure your staff that you’re here for them. A simple “It’s ok” or “You’re strong” goes a long way for those who need to hear it. Assure them that your door is always open and that your independent pharmacy is a safe space.
Though it might not totally do away with the stress, it’ll make an insurmountable obstacle a little more manageable.
Pharmacy work is already stressful as is, and sometimes life doesn’t make it any easier. That’s what makes supporting your independent pharmacy staff so important.
A healthy work-life balance is essential to running an efficient independent pharmacy. Pharmacy work demands a lot of your attention, time, and effort. Spend your free time recharging your batteries in time for the next workday.
Breaks don’t have to only happen outside of work, however. Sometimes the best way to reduce work-related stress lies within the workday itself.
That’s what makes breaks and lunches so important. They are necessary reprieves from a stressful work day. Think of it like a long run: pacing yourself is vital to crossing that finish line.
To cross that finish line, you might need to go easy for a little bit and let your body recover. In your independent pharmacy, a 15-minute break gives your staff the chance to clear their head and charge their inner batteries.
By the time they come back, they should feel refreshed and able to take on the rest of the day.
The same is the case for lunches. Whether your independent pharmacy closes for lunch or your techs go one by one, their lunch break is a key part of reducing work-related stress.
No matter how busy a day becomes, we need a break every now and then. It can make the difference between a bad day and a fantastic one.
If a coach doesn’t like what they see from their team, they’ll call a timeout and make adjustments. They will changes that directly address the team’s faults or the opponent’s strengths.
Independent pharmacists are coaches, and your staff is all-star players. There’s not really an opponent, though work-related stress can be for the sake of argument.
As a coach, you’re calling all the shots. You draw up the play and your staff is here to execute it to perfection. No two days at the pharmacy are ever the same. As such, you’re making new adjustments and drawing up new plans every day.
In a prior section, we discussed the importance of knowing your staff’s best strengths. Though that’s absolutely true, pharmacy work likes to throw a monkey wrench into your workflow. All you can do is adjust.
Different days require different solutions. Sometimes you have to send that customer service savant to the drop-off window and process prescriptions. Sometimes you’ll have to let the phone ring a little longer so you can take care of the fill queue.
If a tech or other staff pharmacist calls in sick, make do with what you’ve got. Simply put: take things as they come and focus on the task at hand.
NBA coach Phil Jackson said it best: “The soul of success is surrendering to what is.”
Work-related stress is present in all industries. In the case of the independent pharmacy industry, it’s as commonplace as the act of filling a prescription.
More often than not, patients urgently need their prescriptions. A 20-minute wait time can feel like an eternity if they’re waiting for a post-op pain med. That’s not only an hourly occurrence — that could be your whole day.
Work-related stress in the pharmacy is completely normal. But it can be dangerous if left unaddressed. These tips can hopefully turn a bad day into something more salvageable.
Patient care is equally rewarding and stressful. Use that fact to your advantage: coordinate your team, promote the use of regular breaks and lunches, and listen to your staff — always listen to your staff.
Work-related stress is part of the program, so get with it and make a bulletproof plan of action.