More than just training: lessons from the community pharmacy manager training program

October 15, 2019 The Tablet
Miguel Lopez-Dee

Miguel Lopez-Dee recently completed the Community Pharmacy Manager Training Program. He has been a pharmacy manager since 1998 and says the training is a useful refresher.

BY MIGUEL LOPEZ-DEE

As August drew to a close, I spent the last few weeks of summer getting the kids ready for another school year, making the most of our fantastic Vancouver weather and completing the Community Pharmacy Manager Training Program developed by the BC Pharmacy Association.

In spite of having been a pharmacy manager since 1998, it was certainly a valuable exercise to tackle the Community Pharmacy Manager Training Program for a number of reasons. Firstly, the training program was useful as a refresher pertaining to the key elements that a pharmacy manager is accountable for. As I navigated my way through the program, I also realized its value as a resource that can be drawn upon in various types of situations in day-to-day practice. Finally, the program motivated me to reflect on my current practice as both manager and pharmacist, and think of possible improvements in this regard.

As there is an ongoing responsibility to stay on top of clinical, regulatory and other changes within and related to our profession, the training program did an excellent job of organizing much of this information and serving as a reminder of the key elements that a pharmacy manager is accountable for. The program modules covered a broad number of areas thoroughly, from various aspects of pharmacy practice to physical, operational and human resource requirements and/ or standards. It essentially functioned as a checklist, to make sure our i’s are dotted and our t’s are crossed. After completing the program, I felt a sense of reassurance that my practice met the standards expected of our profession.

As I was going through the program modules, it also became apparent that it could serve an ongoing function as a resource that can be referred to both in daily practice and in more unique situations that may arise from time to time. For example, if I wished to clarify information about how to handle a drug recall, or look up specific details regarding cold chain management, or some other type of query, the Community Pharmacy Manager Training Program slide deck is an easy and reliable resource, and in many cases, links to the relevant regulation(s) or to more detailed information, documents, webpages, etc. are also provided right on the slides. In a profession governed by regulations from various pieces of legislation and practice frameworks, it is helpful to have one or two “go-to” resources close at hand.

The program also has value in that it could be a springboard for reflection and evaluation, and consequently as a quality management tool for continuous improvement. Going through the modules gave me an opportunity to reflect on my current practice as both manager and pharmacist, and think of possible improvements in this regard. In addition to providing reassurance that my practice met or exceeded standards as mentioned earlier, the program prompted more reflection and a desire to tackle areas where there could be an opportunity for improvement or enhancement. As the saying goes, “there’s always room for improvement,” and access to a resource that enables one to consider opportunities for development is a good thing to have. Ultimately, the benefits of any practice enhancements would hopefully translate to improved patient care and healthcare delivery.

After having completed the Community Pharmacy Manager Training Program, I encourage pharmacy managers that have not yet undertaken the program to approach it with a mindset similar to that of going for a personal health checkup—to ensure all is going well in your pharmacy and to look for opportunities for development. If you are a pharmacist considering pharmacy management, I urge you to sign up for the program as it provides a thoughtful and comprehensive overview of what is necessary to take on such an important role in our profession.

Miguel Lopez-Dee is Pharmacist/Owner at Pharmasave Greystone Village in Burnaby.

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