All discussion of Pharmacist employee benefits aside, a successful pharmacy team extends to all employees and departments of a pharmacy. Segregation whether by physical location or by work place culture, is a hindrance to the successful implementation of your practice. We are all on the team of providing “optimal drug therapy outcomes for Canadians through patient-centered care”.
To understand the importance of “team” to the success of your scope of practice, you must first define the goals of your practice. If you wish to dispense medication within the scope of practice that includes more one on one consulting with the patient as well as more formal, structured collaboration with other health care professionals – I humbly suggest that you will need the support of a team. Your team has many jobs within the pharmacy, but their one job in common is the understanding of the availability and importance of your services to the health of your patients.
First you must educate and engage your team. This does involve a commitment to participate in full staff meetings on a regular basis to communicate new developments, re-enforce the importance of the service as well as indicate just how important your team is to the service’s success by defining their activities and goals. Departmental staff meetings can impact the exact method of staff’s engagement in the service. Remember to congratulate and thank your team for their commitment and success in accomplishing their goals
Beyond words, how does this translate into action? Everyone in your pharmacy needs to know what services are available and be able to recommend these services – even if this only involves passing on your “ticket” of professional services to clients expressing an interest. (See Connecting the Dots 1.1) A team member does not have to technically explain the benefits of a service but can refer the patient to the pharmacist. A team member can create a positive impact on the patient’s perception of your service simply by being helpful, making the service the standard of care in your pharmacy.
Your pharmacy has many clients seen daily by team members that are not patients of your pharmacy team. To ensure the successful education and possible referral of clients – making them your patients, ensure that your team is not divided by department, has an overall view of how to make the professional services successful and of course has the tools to support their efforts!
How are you ensuring your team is not a house divided? How can we promote a culture of a health centre within a space providing so many other services? Clarity of vision, shared expectations and regular communication – those are my DOTS.