Time management is about managing yourself and others
Pharmacists’ performance and, ultimately, their own well-being at work can be largely determined by their effectiveness in time management.
Pharmacists have many things competing for their time, including patient vaccinations, patient safety during the prescription dispensing process, and performing consultations, to name a few. Pharmacists’ performance and, ultimately, their own well-being at work can be largely determined by their effectiveness in time management.
Much of the work of pharmacists would appear to be the responsibility of supervisors and dependent on workload. However, pharmacists can exercise at least some degree of autonomy, even in a more corporatized environment. It is essential to differentiate between tasks that must be performed perfectly, those that do not necessarily have to be perfect but are still potentially time-consuming, and those that do not require perfection or significant cognitive load. If someone has seemingly too much to do, they need to constantly vary their schedule so that they maintain a healthy balance between productivity and busyness, while aligning it with your professional goals and the needs of your patients and other customers. The need for perfectionism when not needed, as well as ineffective multitasking, are common pitfalls of time management that exacerbate stress and lower performance.
Ineffective time management leads to chaos among pharmacy staff, unfinished business, and the inability to achieve personal goals. This not only affects our own physical and mental abilities, but also compromises the well-being and safety of patients. An overwhelming amount of work leads to poor customer service and a high frequency of errors. This erodes trust not only in individual pharmacists, but ultimately in the entire profession, in general.
Rhodes et al. evaluated the economic impact of a targeted drug intervention program offered by community pharmacists. They reported that the average time to perform 1 drug intervention was 22.63 minutes, resulting in a negative ROI of 3%.1 To break even, the time to complete an exam should have been 21.85 minutes or less.1
Many factors could help reduce the time of each procedure. For example, other pharmacy colleagues such as technicians and clerks can be used to focus on technical tasks,1 allow time for pharmacists to choose to prioritize and organize their time in patient and provider education.2 Additionally, pharmacists who already have MTM expertise or those who are in the process of gaining more experience may be employed.1 With a reduction in time for each intervention, overall labor productivity and revenue will increase.
All in all, time management is not just about managing time; it’s more about managing yourself and others. A success-oriented pharmacist practices and improves their time management to increase the time available to provide quality services, while setting the attitude and empowering others to develop this essential skill.
More information on Manage yourself to succeed can be found in Pharmacy Management: Essentials for All Practice Settings, 5e.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Karissa Lapuz is a PharmD candidate at Touro University California College of Pharmacy.
Shane P. Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, is Professor of Social and Behavioral Pharmacy at Touro University California College of Pharmacy.
1. Rhodes SA, Reynolds AE, Marciniak MW, Ferreri SP. To assess the economic impact of a targeted drug intervention program. J Pharm Pract. 2013;26:562-573.
Desselle SP, Hoh R, Holmes ER, Gill A, Zamora L. Pharmacy technician self-efficacy: an overview to facilitate future training, staff development, and workforce planning. Res Social Admin Pharm. 2018;14(6):581-588.