Monday, March 29, 2010

A few good words

Sunday night after finishing my shift at the pharmacy, I hurried out to head to my small group meeting at my church. The church I attend is fairly large and Sunday School style classes for adults just are not feasible. So the church has us meet in small groups to have Bible studies and form more intimate bonds with others within the church.

We've been working our way thru a particular study for the past few months. This week our chapter focused on James 3:1-12. If you want to look it up, go ahead. The point of the passage is that our tongue, even though it is a small part of our body, can do a lot of damage if it goes uncontrolled. We discussed areas in our lives where we need to watch the words that we speak.

We talked about how it is so easy to speak in a negative manner, and how it takes many positive words to counter the effects of one negative word. Then we did something that I wasn't expecting. Our group leader selected somebody and every person in the room said something positive about them. We continued around the room until each member of our group had been recognized for their positive traits, as seen by the others in our group.

It was an uplifting moment for me. I have known some of the people in the group for over ten years, others for only six months. It was interesting to see what these people saw as my positive traits. Some of the things that I have insecurities about were seen as strengths by my group.

As I was driving home, I thought about how the night's lesson applied to my work life. Am I positive when speaking about other people? How do I speak about our patients? Do I look for the positive in my technicians? Do I stereotype patients who are receiving government benefits? How do I speak about my manager? district manager? I've decided that, moving forward, I'm going to be more positive in my comments both to and about the pharmacy staff that I work with.

Looking back over my 15 years in community pharmacy, I can only recall three or four times where I can remember receiving a genuine, positive comment from somebody within my company. During evaluations I've had positive comments read to me, but actual positive comments have only come around every four or five years. But those few instances made an impact. In one case, it kept me from taking a position with a competitor.

I know that management from several pharmacy chains visit my site, as well as governmental agencies, hospital systems, and academia. I see it in the reports that are generated by the programs that monitor traffic to this site.

Right now pharmacist/pharmacy staff morale is in the crapper. Everybody on the front-lines of pharmacy is busting their tails and what do we see... declining margins, decreased staffing, increased workloads. Yet we are able to keep the pharmacies operating and not killing patients in the process. We're not doing it for loyalty to the company. We're doing it out of loyalty to our patients and our staff.

So management, the next time that you swing by one of your pharmacies it would be nice to hear a kind word. Not the canned crap that we are used to hearing. Those words are empty and mean nothing. Show us that you appreciate the efforts that are being made by the pharmacists and technicians out there.

And then listen to what we have to say. There are many excellent ideas held by the people who work in the pharmacies. You need to be open to the ideas. Not every great idea comes from somebody with a VP after their name on a business card.

We only complain because we care about the profession. A wise person once told me that people only stop complaining when they stop caring.

Pharmacy is not the place where people should stop caring.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One word - AMEN!