Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist December 2013 Contents Australian Pharmacist December 2013 I © Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Skills training are another area he said the
profession needs to focus on.
‘One of the things that came up briefly
in my presentation was this notion that
given the Big Five personality profiles for
most pharmacists, one outcome was that
collectively we tend to be extraordinarily
Professor Austin said that pharmacists
need to learn how to be more
comfortable with conflict, to learn
how to verbally disagree and not take
it personally and not take offence, but
be willing to actually stand up and say
‘ There’s actually a skill to that. You may
never feel comfortable emotionally
with it but if you can learn a series of
behavioural responses to manage conflict
that may help you become a little bit
Summing up, Professor Austin said
that one of the things we need to focus
on collectively is this notion of simple
diversity within the profession.
He said that in Canada, the United
States, the UK and probably in Australia,
pharmacy historically has been attractive
to certain types of students, ‘individuals
who value stability, security, professional
designation all those sorts of things.’
‘ What that meant is that we actually
ended up having relatively homogeneous
classes. Diversifying this we can get
students that may not be quite as
bright academically, may not have had
this experience, or may not have won
‘Having more diversity in this class is
probably the single best thing we can do
to encourage the kind of cultural shifts
that we want. Our admissions policies
are part of that but it is also recruitment.
What’s the face that pharmacy has to
the 17‐ and 18‐year‐olds out there when
they are thinking about career decisions?
Why are a lot of people never considering
pharmacy at all?
‘ We need to understand what 17‐ and
18‐year‐olds are thinking about this
profession and why so many of them who
would make great pharmacists are not
even giving it a second thought.
‘ We need to diversify our student body.
And that’s I think one of the best ways to
bring in new ideas and new behaviours
and to in encourage the proliferation of
innovation that we really desperately
need right now!’
One person who definitely believes pharmacists
can be their own worst enemy and are therefore
missing out on innovative opportunities is
pharmacy business consultant Bruce Annabel.
He told Australian Pharmacist that in Australia
the pharmacy risk-averse culture has worked
thus far because of the easy profits from a
technical role augmented by generics.
Further, some of it had also come from
universities ‘which have promoted largely a
technical type of training rather than a patient
engagement style of role.’
‘Some universities are better than others at
that. I also know a lot of young pharmacists
come out of their training into community
pharmacy and many of them are just pushed
into the technical role. Some of them leave the
profession totally. Others go into say, hospital
pharmacy. Others just get caught up in the rush
of becoming dispensers.’ ‘ That’s the nature of
the pharmacist character type. They’re quite
conservative and cautious about change – a
very task oriented character type which is a very
important attribute of the profession. However,
it’s important in ensuring future relevance and
viability of the industry that pharmacists be
more open to innovation and encouraged into
expanded practice roles while using their base
qualification and expertise as a base,’ he said.
‘I prefer to define the role of pharmacists for our
future as customer care pharmacists. A lot of
older pharmacists are saying ‘we’re going back
to the old days, the way we used to be.’
Age does not appear to make any difference.
‘Many young pharmacists just want to dispense.
They hide out in the dispensary. I see a lot of
older pharmacists, I see a lot in the middle
they’re all the same. It comes back to this
character type. However, there are also some
breathtakingly fabulous pharmacists who aren’t
cursed with this culture of being a technician
and being averse to dealing with customers,
who are doing the opposite and doing
fantastic jobs and getting incredible results,’
Mr Annabel said.
‘ We need to address the practice model so
these pharmacists are not just thrown in the
deep end, or the rut, of pharmacists just being
dispensers. I’m not a pharmacist but it annoys
me when I come across pharmacy owners who
just see interns or newly registered pharmacists
as quasi-dispense checks, quasi pharmacists
who are relatively cheap and are buried
‘I think it’s missing the opportunity! There are
piles of opportunities for pharmacists in
community pharmacy today and there are
plenty of pharmacists available.
‘ The opportunities aren’t as dispensers.
The opportunities are as customer engagers
and service providers. When I’m talking service
providers I mean walking around in that middle
store area helping with minor ailments and
primary care, helping with wound care, helping
with digestion problems, helping make the
right selection of products.
‘And secondly, the services role, which is
delivering MURs and HMRs and recommending
MMR services – things like that. There are plenty
of things for them to do. But to do it we need
to crack that culture in the practice model
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