Layer 1

The Area Manager: Simply not good enough

"Those reluctant to develop people or business management skills are often unhappiest with their lot in the profession"

We should all be wary of being described as a 'good pharmacist', says The Area Manager

I’m not sure what the mix of community/hospital/industry employment is among pharmacists these days.

I still imagine that the majority remains within community pharmacy, hence the default position the sector occupies in the minds of many, both inside and outside of the profession.

In the course of my work, this area manager interviews a lot of pharmacists from all three sectors, looking for work within community pharmacy.

Often they present for interview assuming that simply because they are a pharmacist, they could easily be a great community pharmacist. However, in my experience, the reality is somewhat different.

Being a community pharmacist, even within the structured setting of a multiple, is actually more difficult than many people give it credit. Lots of skills around people and business management are critical to succeed and enjoy practising in the sector.

Those without those skills, or reluctant to develop them, are often unhappiest with their lot in the profession – and often the quickest to complain about it. 

It is therefore more important to be a good community pharmacist these days, because the community sector no longer represents the default standard that any pharmacist can easily achieve.

I’ve worked with a number of managers and leaders within community pharmacy who are not themselves pharmacists. Whatever their background, and whatever their role, they all have a habit of describing those community pharmacists who have struggled to perform well in the sector as being ‘good pharmacists’.

These managers and leaders then go on to describe how the same individual struggled with the wider elements of the community pharmacy role that are increasing in importance as the sector becomes more specialised.

These include: operating a safe and efficient dispensary, delivering service results, maintaining professional paperwork, dealing with stocks, leading people, responding to customers and, of course, making a profit.

Just like when people describe a potential date as having a nice personality, perhaps simply being a ‘good pharmacist’ is something we should now be wary of being described as.

 

The Area Manager has worked for all of the large multiples

More from The Area Manager

 

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information


Do you agree with The Area Manager?

We want to hear your views, but please express them in the spirit of a constructive, professional debate. For more information about what this means, please click here to see our community principles and information

14 Comments

James Mac, Community pharmacist

The most egregious example of under-staffing I saw was in a huge "flagship" for a big chain. There was a queue of very, very irate customers being served by ONE guy, who it turned out was a placement student, with no more than 4 people (and one pharmacist) in the cavernous dispensary in the back doing other things.

Shaun Steren, Pharmaceutical Adviser

C and D Clickbait: As a pharmacist you are working very hard and are under a lot of pressure. You are, as a consequence, vulnerable to gratuitous provocation. The author of this article knows this and will be enjoying every reaction. One must assume that some in the C and D office have a similar morbid interest in such provocation. We are struggling as a profession, most of us are worried about the future. It is curious therefore to see this publication (one must assume under the veil of 'alternative opinion'), indulge the taunting of a badly injured profession it purports to support. Of course community pharmacists are to blame for many things and this is often ignored or denied by ourselves. But this publication rarely provides a voice from the shop floor to expose the fabrications, deceits and aspersions of the corporate management class. It is a matter of balance and the C and D gets it very wrong.

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

The C&D is a commercial publication. It makes money by adverts and subscriptions. Notice the TOTAL lack of coverage about the Nurofen scandal ??? This should tell you all you need to know.

Angela Channing, Community pharmacist

Yes, I also recall all the bleating on about stock problems a few years ago, in the front of the mag while in the back of the mag carrying adverts to sell your stock abroad hence making the problem WORSE!!!! Total hypocrite that Gary Tagliateli when I raised the issue with him!! "We're a commercial publication" OK fine, so stop banging on about it at the front and actively encouraging said practice in the Ads! Unbelievable !!

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

Not a good idea to mix Tagliateli with Passata !! Always leads to indigestion and disrupts everyone around you :-)

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Astonishing ! I wonder why there was no mention if it ? hmmmm.....

Farm Assistant, Community pharmacist

It would be nice to think that some organisation or publication would stick up for the average pharmacist before it is too late but the again he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

I hope the new editor gets rid of this blog please!

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

NOOOO. It serves as a useful tool to identify all that is rotten in corporate pharmacy and the way corporate pharmacy uses bully boy "area managers" to drive targets at the expense of professionalism.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

Exactly. It exposes the best of their David Brent claptrap. *This comment has been edited for breaching C+D's community standards*

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

Fair enough !

Leon The Apothecary, Student

Over the number of years, I have seen that most community pharmacies receive very little in the way of support from their upper managements. Taking operating a safe and efficient dispensary for example, I can say confidently that I have witnessed a massive gap in staffing levels, training time, and equipment to enable those hard working individuals to do their job in a stress-free and acceptable environment. Quite frankly, I've also seen a number of pharmacies I'd be personally embarrassed about. My advice to you would be to go into one of your pharmacies, and ask everyone "Is there anything I can do to make your working life easier?". Communication is key in all things, this is no different, so make a difference.

London Locum, Locum pharmacist

*This comment has been removed for breaching C+D's community standards*

Harry Tolly, Pharmacist

"These include: operating a safe and efficient dispensary, delivering service results, maintaining professional paperwork, dealing with stocks, leading people, responding to customers and, of course, making a profit." ----- Typical unprofessional and rather ignorant point of view from a typical nickel and dime "Area Manager". How can a Pharmacist operate a safe dispensary when he does not have adequate staffing levels ? How can he change the layout to make it safe for dispensing ? (95% of dispensaries are not laid out to minimise errors .. FACT). How can a manager control stocks when he is not allowed to order from more than one wholesaler or only allowed to order from one dodgy specials supplier ? Need I go on ??????????????????

Job of the week

Support Pharmacist
Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Heartl
up to £47,500 dependent on hours (30-40 hours flexible)