Dear Pharmacy Doctor:
I am a 55-year old hospital staff pharmacist, with previous experience as a director. I stepped down because my medical condition ((rheumatoid arthritis)worsened. For the past 6 months, I have been working at this hospital, with rotating shifts. I am a good worker and can enter orders, dose medications, and do everything else that is expected. My only problem is that I cannot get to work on time when I am assigned the 8 am shift. My arthritis kicks in the cold morning and then my two teenage girls take forever to get ready. By the time I get them to school, I am usually 10 to 15 minutes late. However, I always call the pharmacy as I am driving in to notify them. Recently, I noticed that one of the pharmacists have been making snide comments about my tardiness. As a former director, I don’t see what the big deal is. I’m getting less pay because I’m working slightly less than 8 hours but the work always gets done. I think the other pharmacist is being petty. How should I handle this?
Dear Tardy Pharmacist:
Your question has a defensive angle to it. Defensive behavior shows up when you know you did wrong but you are seeking a sympathetic ear or leniency in your case. Don’t expect it. You are chronically late. As a former director, you should exhibit a better standard for your staff. How would you feel if others were chronically late as you are? Shifts begin at specific times because work must start at that time. If you are late, you are in fact delaying work flow. The reason you don’t see the impact of your tardiness is because the other pharmacists and staff have been covering for you.
If you have a condition which prevents you from getting to work on time, you have the option of 1) requesting later shifts 2) waking up an hour earlier for your 8 AM shifts, or 3) seeking another position where you do not work at 8 AM.
Asking leniency from your co-workers or your employer probably won’t bode well. You are setting a poor example of appropriate work behavior and your job may be at risk due to chronic tardiness (a valid reason for dismissal) which is unprofessional conduct.
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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