Being in community pharmacy all these years I feel that I have learnt a lot.

So much has happened over the years, that I now share these experiences with newly qualified pharmacists and students to hopefully divert them from making the same mistakes and gain better professional experience.

However, recently I went through a learning curve very quickly.

For the past few weeks I have been understaffed and workload has been high. The pressures of the two have made work very streamlined to be as effective as I can be. From limiting my social media interaction with to leaving out my [important : not urgent] box of to do’s.

This streamlined working went too far when I realised what I was doing … or to put it NOT doing!

I love interacting and engaging with my patients and the public that walk in to my practice. Enjoy the clinics I do. It’s what I love about pharmacy as my profession.
When you have limited time due to circumstances you can’t control, you tend to preempt an answer before you hear the question or request from a patient. Especially those that don’t give a straight answer even if you used your closed questioning skills!

It suddenly hit me – I was preempting so much that I was almost having a conversation with myself. I found the hard way that I wasn’t LISTENING! By not listening to one patient I caused havoc for myself and drowned myself in more work. All was resolved once I started listening again. I thanked that patient for teaching me this lesson.

This got me focused on development. Not just for us pharmacists, but for our pharmacy teams. From this experience I have linked in with a Psychotherapist to train us all locally on Behavioural Science and getting better health outcomes. We concentrate so much on the clinical aspects, as well as productivity commercially, and forget sometimes that we deal with a vast array of personalities and behaviours. Focus on behavioural science as much as clinical education. To start your journey here is a great blog on health literacy:


No matter what situation you’re in, it’s crucial to stay focused on your patient or client, and listen to what they are saying. It’s surprising what you’ll gain.

When you talk, you are only repeating what you know. But if you listen, you may learn something new. – Dalai Lama