Recent Tips of the Week have explored the value created when pharmacists lead and/or develop innovative services. Much of the time when we consider alternative care delivery models, workflow redesigns, and implementation of value-added services, we do so in the context of “freeing up the pharmacist’s time.” There is certainly much to be said about that. However, freeing up the pharmacist’s time cannot be accomplished in a vacuum.
Adams et al goes into further detail about this concept in their editorial whose title suggests that technicians are people, too.1 The authors assert that in order to make consistent long-term advances in pharmacy care, we must consider outcomes beyond the value itself to pharmacists, but also consider the humanistic value to other support staff, including technicians. They refer to the well-known Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, reminding the reader that it is not just pharmacists who strive toward self-actualization. Everyone seeks to have lower-level needs filled, then move on toward higher order needs like belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization. Role optimization is achieved when there is congruence of roles among all pharmacy employees, including support staff. After all, previous studies had properly uncovered technicians in the community setting as being the “face” of the pharmacy. Systematic reviews found much success among pharmacy interventions that optimized technician roles. When designing and implementing such interventions, pharmacy managers must be mindful of and promote technicians’ self-identify. It is through enhanced competence and professionalization of these support personnel that renders delegation more effective. It is effective delegation, not performing more tasks in and of itself that truly allows pharmacists to practice at the top of their license.
Pharmacy managers must understand that it is the people behind an intervention or service that make it effective and valuable. The service will not turn out to be effective if the people behind it are disengaged, do not understand their role in the organization, and thus exhibit low satisfaction and high turnover. Remembering that technicians are people too will actually improve the work lives of the pharmacists to whom they report.
Additional information about Pharmacy Technicians and Human Resources Management Functions found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If you or your institution subscribes to AccessPharmacy, use or create your MyAccess Profile to sign-in to Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e. If your institution does not provide access, ask your medical librarian about subscribing.
1Adams AJ, Desselle S, Austin Z, Fenn T. Pharmacy technicians are people, too! Let’s consider their personal outcomes along with other pharmacy outcomes. Ann Pharmather. 2018. Nov 19:1060028018810316. doi: 10.1177/1060028018810316.