Good interpersonal skills, a customer focus, flexibility and conflict resolution skills.
When dealing with a client a pharmacist should make the buyer feel welcome and well attended and listen carefully to the customer. A pharmacist should also be able to relate well with both the customer and his colleagues to work effectively. And most importantly they should be able to solve conflict either between employees or with the customer amicably.
While working at the community pharmacy I have been able to learn and develop all of these qualities and they have helped me create a better working environment. When dealing with a client at the pharmacy I always guarantee that they have my full attention to ensure that they feel satisfied and well attended. This is important because if a customer feels neglected he or she will not open up about the problem she or he is having. I remember an experience where a customer walked into the pharmacy and she looked very uncomfortable, I approached her and made sure to give her my full attention. She was able to open up and I found that the source of her discomfort was that she required ointment for a genital rash and did not want to say this out loud, I pulled her aside to a private area where she was more comfortable and where she could not be overheard by others and she explained about the rash and I was able to give her the required medicine. If I had not focused on her I would not have been able to see the discomfort she was projecting with her body language. On the other hand, conflict with either colleagues or clients can sometimes be un avoidable at a place of work. The one conflict I have had with my colleagues was with a colleague who kept second guessing by professional opinion in front of my clients making it had for the client to have confidence in the drug I was giving her. To solve this problem, I called my colleague aside after hours and used a very open and flexible approach to explain to her that we had to be able to trust and respect each other's decisions in order to work well together. She graciously accepted my request, acknowledged her mistake and even apologized. We have continually worked well together in mutual respect to date.
Attention to detail and the ability to follow pre-determined procedures accurately and diligently.
As a pharmacy student, most of what we are taught and most of what we do at the community pharmacy follows predetermined procedures. For example, the procedure for compounding drugs is complicated and must be followed to the letter to avoid complications with the patients taking the drugs. The first compounding procedure I did at the pharmacy was for a syrup, Ciprofloxacin suspension in syrup NF, I followed the following procedure to prepare it correctly: ingredients; Stevioside 500mg, Xanthan gum 500mg, Glycerin 5ml, flavor qs, Ciprofloxacin hydrochloride(monohydrate) qs, syrup NF 100 ml. the procedure was:1. Calculate required quantity of each ingredient for the total amount to be prepared.2. accurately weigh each ingredient.3. comminute the Ciprofloxacin tablets, Stevia powder, Xanthan gum, and mix well. 4. Mix powder with 5ml Glycerin to make a paste.5.add 90ml of syrup NF, in portions with thorough mixing after each addition.6.add desired flavor and mix well. Add sufficient simple syrup to volume and mix well.7. package and label. After following this procedure, I got the syrup and sold it to the client after getting verification from my supervising pharmacist who said I was well done.
Some previous dispensing experience and knowledge of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Safety Net Scheme.
In my classes as a pharmacy student I have learned a lot about the pharmaceutical benefit scheme for the patients and also the safety net threshold. More to that I have done broad research on this topic because I feel it is for a good cause in helping members of our community. Although I have not yet had a chance to deal with any client who had reached his safety net threshold or wanted to get into the pharmacy benefit scheme in my time working at the community pharmacy, I believe that through my studies and constant research I have adequate knowledge about the same. A pharmaceutical benefits scheme safety net, the PBS safety net, provides critical protection against on-going, high prescription medicines costs. It is calculated on a calendar year and resets at the beginning of each year and the thresholds are updated on 1 January. The 2018 PBS Safety Net threshold is: $1,521.80 for general patients, or $384 for concession card holders. Before you meet the threshold, your medication will cost: up to $39.50 for general patients, or up to $6.40 for concession card holders. The pharmaceutical benefit scheme is important as it will help the growing number of patients living with chronic illnesses.
Ability to critically analyze medical and pharmaceutical information and exercise independent professional judgment.
As a pharmacist whether a student or a qualified pharmacist it is very imperative to be able to critically analyze medical and pharmaceutical information before making any professional decisions. This requires all pharmacist to poses a lot of information on all drugs they deal with especially problems that may occur with the interaction of some of these drugs with different patients. While working at the community pharmacy a client came in with a prescription for Digoxin, after consulting with the patient about other drugs he was using he mentioned that he was also using Quinidine. I recalled that my lecturer had talked about this drug interaction and he said that the interaction can lead to a marked increase in plasma concentration levels of digoxin in more than 90% of patients. Significant changes in serum digoxin are noticed within 24 hours. The effects from this interaction range from nausea and vomiting to death. Quinidine also decreases renal and nonrenal excretion rates of digoxin, which leads to increased steady-state concentrations of the cardiac glycoside. From this information, I knew that patients taking Digoxin should avoid taking Quinidine. I explained this to him in a way he could understand and made the professional judgement not to sell him the Digoxin to avoid complications. I later consulted with the supervising pharmacist who said that I had made the right judgement call.
Knowledge of relevant legislation, regulations, codes of practice and practice guidelines including Society of Hospital Pharmacist of Australia Standards of Practice and principles for quality use of medicines across the continuum of care between hospital and community.
As health experts with a boundless assortment of knowledge and abilities about medicine and related health products, pharmacists should care for health of the community they serve. it is the responsibility of a pharmacist to ensure safe and viable utilization of drugs for their buyers by providing pharmaceutical care. As indicated by the Pharmacy Board of Australia, pharmacy practice can include direct clinical care or non-clinical associations with customers; working in administration, education, and policy development roles. In my time working at the community pharmacy, we have been given several opportunities to attend seminars and trainings involving professional practice standards by pharmacists. At the beginning of the year we attended a seminar which was organized by the pharmaceutical society of Australia. We were taught about relevant legislation, regulations and codes of practice and guidelines which are required from every pharmacist according to the Pharmacy Board of Australia by key pharmacy organizations as well as experts from across the profession. I learned that these standards originate from international guidelines for 'Good Pharmacy Practice'2 that were endorsed by the International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP) in the Tokyo Declaration of 19933 and by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1997. The standards are designed for individual pharmacists to self-assess their professional practice, identify areas where improvement is needed, and re-assess their performance after the appropriate changes have been implemented. I learned about the eighteen standards which among them includes The first standard, Fundamental Pharmacy Practice., among others. At the end of the seminar I went home with a wealth of information which I always make sure to follow.
An understanding of appropriate Work Health and Safety legislation.
Working at the community pharmacy gives a lot of experiences to learn from especially when it comes to work health and safety regulation. The first time our supervising pharmacist was teaching us about extemporaneous preparation he told us about a case where a pharmacist lacks of understanding on the proper work health safety legislation led to the outbreak of meningitis in 2012 when they did not observe proper work safety while compounding a drug. After my first lesson I went back to the library and did extensive research on work health safety when compounding drugs at the pharmacy. I also did a lot of research to understand what the pharmacists who caused the 2012 outbreak of meningitis did wrong so as to ensure that I did not fall victim to the same mistakes. From my research, I found that simple procedures such as sterilization were among the causes of the outbreak. I found that Compounded sterile preparations pose the additional risk of microbial contamination to patients. I also found that in the last 11 years, three separate meningitis outbreaks have been traced to purportedly 'sterile' steroid injections contaminated with fungus or bacteria, which were made by compounding pharmacies. My research into this cases have made me get a better understanding of all work health and safety legislations and the three times I have been given a chance to compound a drug I have done so successfully by following each and every safety legislation required.
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