How to Deal with a Parent Questioning a Prescription

As a pharmacist, you have to deal with many different types of people, all with varying concerns. Among the people you have to deal with are parents who come to pick up prescriptions for their children and have questions about the prescription, or even question whether their child should use it. What is the best way to deal with a parent?


Here, as with any patient, it is best to remember the guidelines for good patient counseling.


This begins with good communication, and that means using open-ended questions. These are questions that encourage more than just a yes or no answer. This technique opens up a dialogue between the patient and you, a conversation where you can gain some insight into the patient’s concerns. It helps to build a relationship by showing interest in the patient. It also helps prevent errors.


Body language should not be overlooked. When talking to a patient, you should face him or squarely and make eye contact. Maintaining a relaxed posture is important as well, to put the patient at ease as well as indicating to him that he has your time and attention.


Good communication also involves verification, making sure that the patient actually understands the instructions and information that he’s receiving.


Active listening is also an important aspect of good communication. It means that you’re focusing on what the patient is saying, and truly engaged in trying to understand him.


Another part of good communication is talking in everyday language. Medicine is notorious for its very specialized vernacular, language that is understood only by medical professionals, so you need to be sure you talk about prescriptions in language that is clear to the lay person.


As a pharmacist, you need to focus on the parent as an individual, taking into account his background and knowledge, his values and point of view, and especially the particular nature of his child’s condition.


You need to be open to each individual patient by truly listening to the information he’s giving you and the particular facts of his situation or experience. Having empathy here is important as well, putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and trying to understand things from his point of view. This also involves being aware of your own biases and assumptions and not letting them get in the way of understanding and addressing the patient’s needs.


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