Two of the most common problems facing pharmacy staff are communicating with patients and functioning together smoothly as a team. Here are three ways to solve communication and teamwork issues.
Talking to Patients
Explaining medication use to patients can be challenging. Depending on their background and education level, they may have trouble comprehending the information. There may also be language barriers to comprehension. Try these three ways to overcome communication challenges.
1. Ask the patient to explain
After you have explained how to properly take the medication, politely ask the patient if they can repeat the information back to you. This will give you a good idea of how well the patient has understood the details. You will be able to see what the patient did not hear or does not understand, so you can give further explanation for whatever the patient is having trouble grasping.
2. Focus on a visual presentation
Patients tend to remember information better when it is delivered in some type of visual format. So, if you can explain medication usage using pictures or provide written material, that may help the patient better grasp what you are telling them.
3. Use simple language
When you explain, do it in a clear, simple, and direct way. Avoid medical jargon and explain things in language that the layperson can understand.
Working as a Team
Getting your pharmacy staff to work together can also sometimes be challenging. Work styles and personalities may clash. People have different ideas of how to do things. Here are three ways to improve cooperation among staff members.
1. Foster respect
Pharmacy managers can do this by giving respect to their staff. They can show their respect, for example, by jumping in and helping staff members when the workload becomes heavy, and people are struggling to keep up. Managers can do it also by making an effort to help out the staff in any way they can.
2. Exemplify the behavior you want
If you want the staff to work as a team, the pharmacy manager needs to show the way, and, through his or her actions, show what needs to be done. As a manager, you need to be a role model for the staff, to show them that you would not ask them to do anything you are not willing to do yourself.
3. Have a training session
The pharmacy manager should gather everyone together and explain what teamwork looks like and why it is essential. Then the manager needs to get input from everyone. Each person should give examples of good teamwork and also what a lack of cooperation looks like.
Have a discussion about what teamwork might look like in the pharmacy. Ask everyone to make an effort to prioritize cooperation and teamwork for 30 days. At the end of that time, get together again to evaluate how things are going.
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