In the retail pharmacy world, you will witness small wonders if you pay close enough attention.

Our customer population is unique in that we aren’t just serving ice creams and lollipops to happy people. Instead, we serve to the mentally sick and the spiritually polluted.

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People may wait 15-30 minutes for their frappe at a Starbucks with no problems. But most of our patients come to the pharmacy emotionally bent because someone is sick, hurting, or dying. A ten minute wait can burden any creature who faces death or affliction.

At the register, we strategically position our pharmacy technicians at the front lines. We equipped them with genuine compassion, emotional intelligence, and technical skills to solve patient problems. Hours of team huddles and corporate training course through our veins.

Additionally, our leadership training affords us some resilience during the retail war zone we call rush hour. We know what we’ve signed up for.

Behind the counter, you’ll hear a strange, rhythmic beat, something almost musical.

Listening closer, you’ll make out the clanging of spatulas and amber vials. You can hear counting trays beating the counter. Medicine bottles bounce off walls and into trash bins.

We’re all going at the same lightning speed, trying to beat the clock. But that clock isn’t our nemesis, but rather what keeps us honest with our true production skills and potential.

While we hold for the doctor to inquire about a drug interaction, we’re also resourceful enough to administer a vaccination in between.

The patients waiting for a counsel are in a hurry, but they understand that the practitioner they are waiting to see is a highly coveted professional.

The district supervisor just so happens to visit on this day, but not to scold or give to-do lists; in fact, he’s here to help us teach our team and protect our business from risk.

While we finish verifying some waiters, our corporate leader spends a few minutes mingling with the student pharmacist and getting to know our technician talent. He’s one with the team, it seems.

When he’s done verifying, the corporate pharmacist is ready to give a review of the monthly profit and loss to the boss, as well as a detailed explanation of why he overspent on technician hours.

However, the district supervisor says no need because every target has been exceeded at the highest levels, and there’s a hefty sales comp. That’s because this store is #1 in the district this past month.

Already knew this.

After that, the rest of the day is a blur because 70% of the prescriptions we fill are brand new prescriptions. That’s what sales comp look like, baby.

More hours for us.

People complain about working in retail pharmacy because of the high-stress environment, the onslaught of rude patients, and the long working hours.

When asked if they like their job, lots of pharmacists have to lie to in order to pretend that their $200,000 investment is making them happy.

Not me. All I think is that it’s game on.

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Business Tips from The Corporate PharmD

  • Accept that we work in a profession surrounded by sick, afflicted, and dying people
  • You need both emotional intelligence and thick skin in order to survive and heal others
  • When times get tough, keep complaints directed upwards to management so they can quarantine the aftereffects
  • Your pharmacy environment is a product of what you put in and create day in and day out

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