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Pharmacy Technician Etiquette

Making the Most of Your Pharmacy Technician Role

I have recently had a couple of experiences that have impacted my work life that I want to share with you.

1st: While recently on vacation at Disneyland, my family stayed at a Marriott TownPlace Suites hotel in Anaheim. I was very impressed by one of the front desk staff at the hotel. He always greeted you when you came in with a smile and asked how are day has been or how Disneyland was. He also paused to wait for a response that made you feel like he actually wanted to know. This is a skill. The other staff weren’t bad, they often said hello or some other customary greeting. They didn’t always smile and very few times did anyone ever wait for a response.

The reason I share this is that this one staff members responses left me with enough of an impression that I actually filled out the survey the hotel sent me by email after my stay (I rarely fill these out). Many hospitals and retail pharmacy chains do the same (they send out surveys).

2nd: Last year, my pharmacy department at my hospital decided to engage people in the hallway (by people we mean everyone: patients, patient’s family, other staff, other visitors). To do this you cannot be glued to your cellular phone or other device. We also adopted a rule called 10-5, which means that you make eye contact with everyone at 10 feet and say hello at 5 feet (of course you can say any greeting you want that is appropriate). Recently, we also decided that any staff member can hold another staff member accountable by saying the keyword “10-5” if someone is caught not doing it. This would prevent embarrassment and provide a gentle reminder of our 10-5 rule.

So why do all this? To provide an experience. Taking a note out of Disneyland’s playbook, people have many options for spending their money. They can go to many hotels, fun parks, hospitals, and pharmacies. They are not just looking for good or okay customer service, they are looking for an experience. It is a subtle difference in thought, but a huge difference to our customer and patients.

How this can apply to you and how this can make you a better staff member? I firmly believe that if you take the stance to be like my hotel worker in Anaheim and always be engaged in what you do in your current role (whether it is in a pharmacy, pharmacy technician role, or some where else does not matter). You will be seen as an engaged team member and your boss will appreciate it. When I think of my staff that always have a positive attitude and go the extra mile to help anyone around them, I consider them “High Performers.” They tend to get the better annual evaluations and bigger raises. I think it fundamental comes down to seeing the good in your job and making the most of it. We can always look for things we do not like or things that we would like to change, but dwelling on them to the point you are unhappy and let those around you know you are unhappy will likely result in the one question you do not want your boss to ask: “If you are so unhappy, then why are you here?” Eventually, your boss will help you alleviate your unhappiness by letting you go. From experience, this does not typically make people happier. One colleague of mine went through this phase, and I would like to end on one idea he shared with me. He gets to work at least 5 minutes early. He sits in his car and contemplates what it would be like to not have his current job and how that would impact his life. He then thinks about how happy he would be if he were out of work and this job came open and he were to obtain it. Well, he already has it, happy day!

Provide an experience for your patients and customers, be positive, and think of the reasons why you are happy to have your job. We can all get into a rut, but reflecting on these things can often help pull us out.

Best of luck in your endeavors. -Rob

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