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Place of Business I would like to work upon graduation Essay

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The contemporary state of affairs in relation to the crisis facing the pharmacy and hospital in general is both compelling and confounding. The decisions based on the recruitment hiring, retention and staffing makes the crisis very compelling as they are usually given the first priority for a majority of managers in the pharmacy departments in hospitals. Similarly the problem is confounding as a majority of the pharmacy departments appear to be facing a worsening situation for these crises and there is no tangible solution and at times the least elusive and frustrating for the people involved.

            Many hospitals have increased salaries for their pharmacists to be in line with the market demand, but the problem gets more complex when the managers find out that the profit drug stores chains have double or at least increased their salaries and wages for the qualified pharmacists at a faster rate than theirs. The profession has tried to create an increasing demand for its expertise; but apparently the limited number of pharmacists characterizing the low staffing in the hospitals seems to be undermining these efforts.

The safety initiatives on the part of medication have enhanced the demand for the pharmacists. (Diane A, 2001)

            One of the most glaring statements that are normally made by most medical staff is that they need pharmacists doing the rounds like physicians, nurses in order to monitor and at the same time improve medication quality in the hospitals. Often, the question asked by most people is why the lack of pharmacists if patients, nurses, physicians are already present. If all these medical staff are able to be present everyday and doing the rounds why then can’t pharmacists also be there every day. By restructuring what the pharmacists and hospitals do and how they do them then the response to the patient health care can it be greatly possible to achieve this.

            The curriculum provided for by the all pharm D has effectively reduce the supply of pharmacists in the recent past in spite of the increased number of new colleges offering pharmacy as a course. Thus the agony facing most hospital managers has been that of who will be around during the night shifts like other medical practitioners and at other odd times other than the weekdays. For a majority of pharmacy departments, technology which has seen the advent of automation has contributed very little to alleviate these problems. Most of the hospitals including those with the state- of- the art physician order entry systems have equally been faced with the situation of having to look for pharmacists to enter the orders of medication in the pharmacy records.

Even though there have been attempts to address this issue with some technicians assuming the role of pharmacist and other duties that they do perform; the demand for pharmacists has by far outdone the place with which the technicians do get assimilated in to the system. In addition, the rate as well as the number with which new drugs are being approved by FDA, together with the complexity of application of the said drugs, has compounded the problems facing the institutions and the practice.

            There are not so many pharmacists who can effectively command a great sense of knowledge on the entire inventory of drugs found in this institution’s formularies. The effect brought about by this is that of pharmacists having the desire and ready to specialize which complicates the problem of recruitment of qualified personnel even further. Ideally these are the issues that Norfow hospital and many other hospital institutions have to grapple with. (Frederick J. 2002)

            The increasing number in new colleges of pharmacy will not solve the staffing problem in the short term. What this step is brand to offer little or no solution in the short term. The solution that is offered by such a measure is only in the long- term at some intermediate point and as such has to be factored within context of financial constraints. With this various questions like, can the existing colleges find the appropriate faculty as well as clinical rotations so as to expand class sizes in a significant proportion.

Is it possible for organized pharmacy to have a union that is able to speak in one voice when faced with the issue of different constituencies that are within the profession having various needs as well as incentives. The glaring dichotomy that exists between the health care system and chair during store pharmacy practice has often made it very difficult to offer training to pharmacists to become generalists in the profession with the ability to successfully practice in these two direct working environment. Thus when the shift plus is shifted to other profession to offer guidance or direction might not be much of a better solution. (Frederick J. 2002)

            Most pharmacists often wonder whether the shrinking gap that exists between the wages and salaries of physicians and pharmacists makes the prospect of pursuing pharmacy practice. The pharmacy department may face staffing problems where acute shortages of staff may affect the way prescriptions are handled .Staff in the pharmacy department are needed to handle the screening, packaging , keying in and dispensing to patients. Patients tend to take longer periods of time waiting to be served due to the low or inadequate staffing levels. Staff shortages create room for other complex problems like inefficient record management which could lead to inadequate drug supply control. At times drugs could run out of stock causing inconveniences to patients.

Appropriate measures like adequate staffing management would ensure effective record management and replenishment or reorder levels could be done to ensure that drugs do not run completely out of stock. This will be a step forward to ensure patient satisfaction levels are higher. This would translate to more trust on the pharmacy department as well as on the entire hospital at large.

Less staffing would make pharmacists to be overworked as they would be extremely busy. This would see them fatigued. Staffing problems in hospitals occurs in the technical department. Limited numbers of qualified pharmacists may be due to lesser people pursuing pharmacy. Again others claim that the remuneration in hospitals is poor and hence shy off venturing into it. Retaining the staff already working is a difficult task but it is very critical and pharmacy managers should be keen to consider it. ()

             High turnover rates in pharmacy could be attributed to increased workload as well as stress associated with pharmacy. Hospitals ought to recruit more staff both technicians and support staff to reduce the workload pharmacists have.

             Turns over rates are influenced by the working environment, training, stress and skill mix. Managers should ensure that the working environment is conducive for the pharmacists as well as their support staff. Roles should be clearly defined so that each staff understands their duties and responsibilities. Conflicting roles would work to demoralize the employees who may seek other opportunities. Clearly defined duties work to enhance the efficiency of any organization and pharmacy managers should ensure role clarity and well defined responsibilities. Effective training works to increase employees and consequently their retention will be attained .The pharmacy department should be well structured and it should allow for progression of pharmacists by effective training. The hospital should allow for professional growth if its goals are to be achieved.

This is because employees seek to stick to jobs that offer them professional growth. Training could be done through research opportunities and through conference attendance where people learn of new experiences from experts. Encouraging continued professional development for instance by offering loans to those interested in furthering their studies would work as an incentive to work. It would increase motivation of the staff members and consequently their retention. Provision of an effective or appropriate technical and administrative support would reduce the work load that pharmacists have. Managers ought to be very cautious to hire multi skilled technicians who can multitask thus saving time for the pharmacists. (Cooke M and Pharm M, 2000).

             Utilizing locum pharmacists is also an appropriate measure in solving the workload problem. Locum pharmacists who are mostly from abroad can be utilized. They offer appropriate services as they have the appropriate training. Quality of work done is therefore not jeopardized. The hospital can utilize part time workers who can be sought during when need arises for instance when absenteeism occurs.

             Efficiency can be improved and workload deceased if positive changes are incorporated. Effective labeling of drugs would save time taken searching for them. To retain the staff in pharmacy one can use the joint approach method whereby hospitals can embrace staff working in other areas for instance in the community or with the general practitioner GP. Care should however be taken to ensure that the timing does not clash and that they still retain their roles. Their hiring should not staff adversely affect the links between the hospital and the outside community. Pharmacy managers should ensure that the system allows staff to move upwards as long as they acquire the appropriate skill.

As long as they acquire the appropriate skills pharmacists should rise up the social ladder and their salaries should increase with time. Encouraging staff members to advance their skill acquisition would work to benefit both the staff and the hospital at large. Pharmacists and other support staff should not be paid below what the market dictates as that would act as a disincentive for them to work. It would only lead to increased job turn over rates.

             Inadequate staffing means that the prescription levels are high and patient have to delay before being served. Adopting appropriate technology and re-engineering the administrative procedures would work to increase effectiveness and efficiency in pharmacies. (http://www.careerpharm.com/employer/resources/Parker.pdf)

             Pharmacy educators have a role to play in ensuring that the declining numbers of enrollments are stopped. People opt for other careers due to the workload and decreased job satisfaction perceived to be associated with pharmacy. Increased educational time period to acquire pharmacy licensing has also decreased the number of enrollments in pharmacy. It discourages potential pharmacists who opt for other careers which can be pursued at shorter durations or periods.

             Staff shortages precipitate temporary cutbacks in the operational hours of pharmacies. Better technology would result to automation which can reduce the workload on the existing staff thus reducing their turnover. Attractive packages like good salaries and other benefits like offering a company car would work to attract new staff. New and improved workflow enhancements can make the processing of prescription very efficient. Use of administrative software s like TechRX and Script Pro can help in increasing the efficiency in pharmacies.

             Additional training on technicians would equip them with appropriate skills to handle questions from patients, administering claims as well as checking for errors. Introduction of more education, training and competency exams would work to increase the quality and quantity of work produced by technicians. The move to encourage pharmacy students by offering financial aid to students and schools of pharmacy also works to increase the number of qualified staff in pharmacy.

             Retaining good pharmacists will entail recruiting the appropriate person, offering satisfactory work, creating an empowered environment that focuses on development excellence as well as being involved in professional organization. Hiring pharmacists should be after effective consideration whether a hospital is willing and capable to invest in training a recent graduate or is looking for one with a wealth of experience. Satisfactory work optimizes the workers satisfaction levels and consequently their motivation and retention. Developmental excellence is about ensuring sustainable and continuous quality improvement through training. (Brannick J. and Harris J, 1999).

 Internal pathway to for growth entails enrollment of pharmacists to degree programs as well as technician enrollment in pharmacy schools. Encouraging staff members to be active in professional organizations where they can gain collective benefits acts as an incentive for them. Pharmacy staff can be encouraged to participate in pharmacy school activities where they can act as mentors to the student. Such a move may increase the pharmacists’ retention as it could increase their job satisfaction levels. (Cooke M and Pharm M, 2000).

             Retired pharmacists can return to their jobs to cover for the junior staff who seeks advancement in pharmacy practice. Hospitals ought to be willing to accommodate such staff. Both parties would benefit from such an arrangement. The hospital would gain from the experience and skills as the retired staff gets a chance to earn extra income without the pressure of working on full time basis. Since such staffs are very experienced they can be consulted for advice by the inexperienced staff.

Again they help in reducing the workload that is brought about by reduced staff and increased patients seeking to be served. With staff shortages hospital pharmacies are unable to handle or meet the demands posed by patients. The staff shortages are caused by some staff seeking jobs in other places offering better packages, those on maternity leave or those opting for locum which is not as demanding as full time pharmacy practice. This is worsened by reduced numbers of pharmacy graduates.

             Placing the staff in positions that they are most appropriate based on their experience; interests as well as their training would ensure that staff retention is realized as they are motivated. Incentives like occasional paid for trips, movie tickets or dinners can work as incentives for employees and would work to increase their motivation. Good communication is very vital as the staff members can effectively air their views or grievances and the hospital management can respond effectively. The overall effect of this would be increased satisfaction levels and the staff turnover would be minimal. (Cooke M and Pharm M, 2000).

References:

Cooke M and Pharm M. 2000. What pharmacy managers can do to retain staff. Hospital Pharmacist. Vol 7. No 1 p2.

James Frederick. 2002. Staff shortage acute and still growing. Pharmacist Shortage, pharmacies, statistics Drug Store News.

Patrick E. Parker, M.S.P.2002. Recruiting and Retaining Staff: A Midsize Hospital Experience. Retrieved on 28th November 2007 from:

http://www.careerpharm.com/employer/resources/Parker.pdf

Arthur Diane. 2001. The employee recruitment and retention handbook. Amacom Books.

Brannick J. and Harris J. 1999. Finding and Keeping Great Employees. Amacom Forrest

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