Dear Pharmacy Doctor:
I am an outpatient pharmacist. During the day, there are five pharmacists and eight technicians, all female, who work here. The problem is that half of the technicians have befriended each other. Whether it is break or lunch, they will leave the pharmacy together. This leaves the pharmacy with less technician help and dispensing comes almost to a halt. Patients have to wait longer for their medications. Phone calls are either on terminal hold or missed because we cannot get to the phone in a timely manner. My director is quite passive and would rather dismiss my concerns. I am frustrated because they know that without technicians, the pharmacy cannot function as well. And they know that our director cannot replace all four technicians easily. Do these techs really have the upper-hand?
Dear Frustrated Pharmacist:
No. The technicians do not have the upper-hand; they are taking advantage of the situation. Anyone can be replaced.
I am assuming that the techs did not break any pharmacy policy regarding breaks or lunch (because your director would have brought it up).
The foundation of a smoothly-run workplace is TEAMWORK. Unless you are a “one-man” pharmacy show, you need to collaborate with others. Your first approach is to gather your evidence or data. Show your director the number of scripts filled during the day. If you are correct, then there should be extremely low numbers during break and lunch. Managers respond better to hard data than hearsay. Keep in mind that a slight dip in numbers should be expected during those times.
If you are wrong, then perhaps there really is no problem and that is why your director doesn’t want to address it. Are you sure that you are not jealous of their friendship? At times, jealousy creeps in when we are left out of a social circle. Ask yourself: have you been friendly to your staff? Do they feel intimidated by you? According to Dr. Tannen in You Just Don’t Understand (1990), women bond by sharing. If you don’t share, then how can other women befriend you?
About the Author and Column
Dear Pharmacy Doctor is a column that provides advice on pharmacist related work/life challenges. Karine Wong, Pharm. D. has a 10 year history of working in hospital management, and 2 years as a graveyard hospital pharmacist and outpatient pharmacist. You can submit questions to email@example.com.
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