5 Things I Wish I Would Have Learned in Pharmacy School

LINK to Pharmacy Times article

I noticed when I enrolled in pharmacy school that there were no courses in things that I could have really used in the profession. Here is a list of the things that I wished pharmacy school taught and required prior to becoming a pharmacist grad.

1. Teamwork: In my opinion, one of the biggest problems is the lack of teamwork among pharmacists. The profession tends to attract the introverted personality. These people like to work alone and receive their energy from being alone and become drained in social situations. Brainstorming and collaboration can be lost because this requires working together as a team and supporting one another. One of the biggest themes running through my career is not working as a team but as a loner to only further your own agenda. The best run pharmacies today no matter the setting has strong teamwork and collective pride. I wish in pharmacy school this would have been addressed in a class or two. Not only does the department need to be a team but we need to work together with nursing and physician teams among others. Another issue within this category is the divide between clinical and distribution roles in the hospital. In the hierarchy of treatment, distribution pharmacists seem to be on the bottom though I know many order entry pharmacists who could run circles around a clinical pharmacist who just graduated and completed a residency or two. 

2. Management skills: We do not learn management skills in pharmacy school and most of the time on-the-job training by another manager only passes along the same bad habits of the previous pharmacy manager. In the many years of working as a pharmacist, I can only think of a couple of really good leaders. What made them excel was their grasp on how the pharmacy should operate and also being willing to step in when needed. Most of the time, management in pharmacy means a 9-5 (or whenever you roll in) and no weekends or holidays. Very rarely do I see middle management taking the opportunity to really lead rather than believing management equals pharmacy order entry and clinical shifts are not in their job description anymore.

3. Conflict resolution: I believe conflict resolution should be taught in pharmacy school to be able to handle issues where a couple of people may not agree. Many times in the day-to-day grind there are opportunities to have a good grasp on how to deal with conflict. Emotional intelligence goes a long way and I would have liked to have been taught this skill in pharmacy school.

4. Financials: I had one semester of accounting, and I believe learning more about finance within the healthcare model would have been worth it after graduation whether you are running your own store or managing a hospital department budget.

5. Emotional Intelligence: A higher emotional intelligence usually equals better job satisfaction, good job performance and better leadership skills.

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