What are we undervaluing? I would absolutely avoid grapefruit with my simvastatin if counseled by RoboPharmacist. Maybe a new generation of 4. This is exactly why most residency programs and job interviews consist of so many behavioral questions! Rather than focusing on what you know, possible employers want to see how you communicate your past experiences.
And your soft skills are the backbones of your answers. Have I convinced you of the value of soft skills yet? Maybe I have, but now comes some work to get us up to speed on what we can do to fix up our soft skills. Beyond the measuring of them, the question is how can we even learn and change our own soft skill set? Y'all ready for this? If it seems like the soft skill set is a nebulous, un-measurable, yet important set of abilities that are easy to define but hard to measure and obtain, you would likely be correct.
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Fortunately, I scoured the internet from top to bottom, east to west, and light to dark suggestion: do NOT go to the dark part of the internet to research, review, and distill what I think are the most crucial soft skills we as pharmacists need to have for success.
Beyond written and oral communication, it is important we are able to present professionally and competently, but most importantly, listen. Listening to our patients and other providers is crucial in getting the right information. How good do you think our profession is?
Or healthcare in general? Not to mention you will absolutely be asked at some point to discuss how you had to communicate a tough message to a coworker or how you dealt with conflict. These types of questions are all directly tied to your ability to communicate. Out loud. It is one thing to learn kinetics, anticoagulation management, or infectious diseases in the comfort of the classroom. It is another to apply these hard skills in an ever-challenging and ever-changing work environment.
The happiest and most effective pharmacists are the ones who can roll with the punches, learn to adapt to new environments, and are not phased much by changes both big and small. Most pharmacy jobs require us to work as a team with pharmacy technicians, nurses, doctors, dieticians, and other non-clinical staff. Yes, even those patients who may be grouchy or non-adherent. My unofficial opinion is that any pharmacist can endure a less than ideal job for a day, week, or even year if you work with an outstanding team.
The best and brightest pharmacist who cannot cooperate, interact, or generally coexist with other team members will not be a valuable employee. Meanwhile, while doing their negative cave dwelling, they can bring the mood down for an entire pharmacy team. We call these people Debbie Downers. Having a positive attitude can be easier said than done, especially in the often frustrating world of healthcare.
You know what happens when others are excited to work with you and your positive attitude? You improve your communication, flexibility, and teamwork do these seem familiar? However, this discussion must begin with a definition of empathy versus sympathy. Sympathy is a feeling of care and concern for someone, often someone close, accompanied by a wish to see them better off or happier.
The big difference is that sympathy, unlike empathy, does not involve a shared perspective or emotion. Why is empathy important?
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Because it can help us connect with our patients, show them that we care you do care, right? If we can empathize with what they are feeling in the moment and share in their experience, we can then proceed more effectively in a plan that will be not only helpful for, but also more likely accepted by, our patients. Sympathy-that sucks. Empathy-this really sucks for me too.
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Alright, we have defined hard vs. Now for the easy part: sharpening those soft skills! No problem, right? Just follow a defined, stepwise approach, much like pharmacy school, and you too will have the softest of skills! Unfortunately, it may not be that easy. Soft skills are short on hard answers.
After reading this article, you are at least aware of some important soft skills to have. It is probably time to look in the metaphorical mirror and take stock of what you think you do well, what you think you can improve upon, and what you have to gain by addressing your soft skill deficits. Are you a great communicator? A terrible team player?
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A so-so empathizer? Ask yourself these questions. Answer honestly. Then, take it a step further and ask those you work with, your managers, mentors, anyone who observes you in action.
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- Fruit Phobia (Natural Hygiene);
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Find out what they think you do well and what you could improve upon. Knowing where you stand and getting feedback are not bad things. Communication comes in many forms: written, verbal, hilarious gifs. Almost all of those are critical for healthcare. As I noted above, knowing yourself and what you do well is a great place to start.
If you need to work on your written communication skills, I suggest start writing! Write in a journal everyday. Start a blog. Submit an article for the best pharmacy site on the internet. Just like any hard skill, the more you practice it, the better you will get at communicating your ideas. If verbal communication is your weakness, there are options for you to improve as well. Remember that metaphorical mirror I suggested above? Well, start talking into an actual mirror.
Does it seem silly? Of course it is, but it is a simple place to start practicing your verbal skills, and you will already know the audience. Try recording video or audio of yourself communicating or speaking and listen to the patterns you pick up. Do you smack your lips? Do you let the other person speak? Hearing yourself can give you excellent insight in your verbal habit. Beyond those options, try taking a course in public speaking or look into Toastmasters to hone those verbal communication and presentation skills. The tough thing about soft skills is that they can be, as you may have discerned, sort of nebulous.
How does one become more flexible and adaptable? A better team player? Forgot Password? Sign Up. Quick Links. View all articles. I recently represented my state pharmacy association at an event held for state legislators who were returning to session. At this particular event, I got into a conversation with a lobbyist for a state medical association who was on the other side as we were trying to introduce legislation to expand pharmacist immunization opportunities.
It will require more pharmacists as these new opportunities become available. Drug therapy outcomes for patients will improve.