Pharmacists’ performance and ultimately their own well-being on the job can be largely determined by their effectiveness in time management.
Pharmacists have many things competing for their time, including vaccinating patients, ensuring patient safety during the prescription dispensing process, and performing consultations, just to name a few. Pharmacists’ performance and ultimately their own well-being on the job can be largely determined by their effectiveness in time management.
Much of pharmacists’ work would appear to be at the behest of supervisors and dependent on workload. However, pharmacists are able to exercise at least some degree of autonomy, even in a more corporatized environment. It is critical to differentiate what tasks must be performed perfectly, versus those that might not have to be perfect yet are still potentially time-consuming, versus those that require neither perfection nor great cognitive load. If someone has seemingly too many tasks to complete, they must consistently vary their schedule so that it maintains a healthy balance between productivity and remaining busy, while also aligning it with your professional goals and the needs of your patients and other clients. The need for perfectionism when it is not necessary, as well as ineffective multitasking, are common time management pitfalls that exacerbate stress and lower performance.
Inefficient time management leads to chaos among pharmacy personnel, unfinished tasks, and the inability to reach personal goals. It not only affects our own physical and mental capacities, but also compromises patients’ wellbeing and safety. An overwhelming amount of work leads to poor customer service and a high occurrence of errors. This erodes trust not only in individual pharmacists, but eventually, the entire profession, in general.
Rhodes et al. assessed the economic impact of a targeted medication intervention program provided by pharmacists in a community setting. They reported that the average time to complete 1 medication intervention was 22.63 minutes, resulting in a return of investment of negative 3%.1 To break even, the time to complete a review would have had to be 21.85 minutes or less.1
Many factors could help decrease the time for each intervention. For example, other pharmacy colleagues such as technicians and clerks can be utilized to focus on technical tasks,1 granting time for pharmacists to choose to prioritize and organize their time in providing patient and provider education.2 Furthermore, pharmacists who already have MTM expertise or those in the process of gaining more experience can be employed.1 With decreased time for each intervention, overall work productivity and revenue will increase.
Overall, time management is not just about managing time; rather, it is about managing yourself and others. An achievement-oriented pharmacist practices and improves their time management so as to increase time available to deliver quality services, while also setting the attitude and empowering others to develop this essential skill.
More information about Managing Yourself for Success 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 the Touro University California College of Pharmacy.
Shane P. Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA, is a professor of social and behavioral pharmacy at the Touro University California College of Pharmacy.
1. Rhodes SA, Reynolds AE, Marciniak MW, Ferreri SP. Evaluating the economic impact of a targeted medication intervention program. J Pharm Pract. 2013;26:562-573.
Desselle SP, Hoh R, Holmes ER, Gill A, Zamora L. Pharmacy technician self-efficacies: Insight to aid future education, staff development, and workforce planning. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2018;14(6):581-588.