business healthcare

Healthcare Leadership: Hospital Pharmacy: Leadership Training

Good leadership starts at the hiring process. Organizations need employees that independently lead but also follow their managers. In order for managers to hire leader-worthy employees, the hiring process should be reexamined, modified, and improved (O’Connor, 2013). O’Connor (2013) says that “process change comes from the bottom-up, but culture change moves from the top-down” (p. 391). It may take time, but a pharmacy manager should lead the process of implementing a new and stricter pre-employment screening process.

As previously discussed, the hiring process should be modified to select applicants with great leadership skills and experiences. That is difficult to do if there are few people that have those skills. In 2005, Sara White distributed a survey on pharmacy leadership. The survey revealed that 34% of pharmacists are less satisfied than they were five years ago. It also showed that 44% of pharmacists are planning on continuing in their practice for 5-10 years; additionally, 26% said they will retire after they leave their position (White, 2005). This shows that there will be a large surge in the need for pharmacists with leadership skills. In another one of White’s articles, she concludes with a great, applicable piece of advice. She states, “If you question why things are a certain way and you are not satisfied with `that’s the way we’ve always done it,’ then forge a new path with answers that are more satisfactory” (White, 2006, p. 1503). Great leaders have intrinsic motivation to question policies and critically change things if necessary.

Since PharmDs are not trained in leadership, it is important to have someone study pharmacy leadership that is trained in business and has pharmacy experience. There are some accredited pharmacy residencies that teach leadership and management, but many students do not have access to them. Sara White (2006), a distinguished American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) resident, believes there are seven elements of leadership, a few of them include: influencing through attitude and approach; working effectively to accomplish actual results; and leading oneself so people want to work with the leader. Succinctly, White puts it, “Leaders are disciplined, patient, assertive, confident, and accountable” (White, 2006, p. 1498). There are many attributes that good leaders have. With the known lack of leadership training in the pharmacy profession, there needs to be an industry-wide change.

There needs to be a shift in focus from vision and mission statements, expectations, and policies to trusting employees more to use their abilities and training. Clark agrees with Granko when he says, “trust is an essential element of leaders and managers” (Clark, Kokko, & White, 2012; Granko, Morton, & Schaafsma, 2013). Patients trust pharmacists for accurate prescription information. There not only needs to be trust between pharmacists and their patients, but also between managers and their workers. Trust is an important component of the leadership definition. Wu, Yang, & Chiang (2012) believe that “leadership may act as a catalyst for trust, communication, and shared values” (p. 714). Effective leadership allows trust between the manager and his/her employees which results in better employee productivity and ultimately better clinical outcomes. In order to combat the lack of leadership professionals in the upcoming years, there needs to be mentoring programs in place. The issue with mentorship programs is that they add stress to current professionals that already have numerous demands on their schedule (O’Connor, 2013). A good leader and pharmacy manager would allow pharmacists to lighten their workloads in order to train the leaders of tomorrow.

The Healthcare sector is rather dynamic and complex. It is a conglomerate of prescribers, pharmacists, nurses, emergency services, surgery, insurance companies, contracts, IT data management, automation, robotics, rehabilitation, and the list goes on. Somehow there is continuity between all of these segments; however, the communication between the segments usually suffers. In order for any company to thrive in this industry, it’s important that the main focus is on the patients. Patient communication is key and will be the main differentiating factor for healthcare institutions. It is also important that patients fully understand their rights and why they are provided the services that they are provided. A collaborative environment coupled with ample business experience can be beneficial for both patients and organizations.