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Is it my responsibility to manage staff as a locum and a bit of a rant?

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  • Is it my responsibility to manage staff as a locum and a bit of a rant?

    Hi just had a difficult week - speaking to one area manager and they have said it is up to me to be in charge of who does what whilst I am RP.
    So I am allowed to refuse to put order away if staff ask me to etc... if I have stuff to check on a Saturday

    Recently in a different company in a store where I had to drive from site to park about 0.5 miles around the corner.
    On my return someone had handed out a bag of medication - pt was apparently also waiting for a cd which was to be under my control when I got back. The area manager of this company said it was a grey area.
    I explained that I was not happy to the member of staff at the time and the member of staff was upset by this - they were experienced and should not have done this.

    I also have a very busy Saturday which has just a 16 year old with me who has done counter course - they appreciate they are now expected to put order away - only because I spoke to aforementioned area manager but they keep on taking lots of phone calls for repeat scripts - shop is busy and I have scripts to print off dispense and check - I suggested that they ask people to call back on monday as we are busy but I am not sure message is getting through and I will pick up the phone and say please phone back but the staff member will always take the call and sit in the consult room to do repeats - saying it is quick and easy to do - meanwhile next queue will be developing and I am saying we will be with you in a minute.

    I also have shops where staff walk into tea room leaving me alone in dispensary with phone going or expect me to give out most of the scripts - there is always other stuff I could be getting on with and I have felt staff were having a day off saying they had training to do - one just sat down and did very little for about an hour! At one point I walked passed the till and said quite loudly can someone serve please as I was off to the cd cupboard. They had already been very uncooperative about helping me assist a patient who needed an incontinenece product Manager was off sick and staff had put in a complaint as they were not happy with how they had been treated by their long term manager - they had only been there a year. Ofcourse they all made a cup of tea for each other and did not even ask me...grrrr...when I asked they said we didn't think you would want one...
    I do find it hard to get the balance between being over serious professional and being relaxed and having the odd joke - I am learning to sometimes talk about frivolous things but I am no hairdresser I am more bbc radio 4 than latest soaps. Maybe this is the issue. Though I suppose you don't need too be liked to be a great locum it must help.

    I would appreciate advice as I would like to continue locuming - not all the stores I work in are like this - some are great but anything to help me in the not so good would be great.
    Also should I answer the phone or not - pharmacy is so busy now and I really want to get on with the task of checking as I don't want negative feed back as I had from one store where there were no staff and I had just recovered from an operation that the dispensing had not all been done - sometimes an impossible task on certain days. As it turned out I think there was a mix up and it was actually a Pharmacist at another store I had never worked at. I know I work hard and take my work seriously and sometimes things flow well - including the cups of tea but sometimes they just don't and wondered how others deal with this.

  • #2
    You must feel better now having posted all this. Yes, I too have been there and particularly on a Saturday morning. Once I had 14 tote boxes to try to deal with on top of everything else. The Friday staff had told pts, "it will be in tomorrow at 11am". Yes the wholesaler arrived at 11am and we had a queue waiting for me to try to find the item somewhere in the boxes. Plus there were a large number of baskets awaiting checking or a missing item. I was told they had had a 'ferocious Friday' and regular pharmacist trying to catch up on MUR quota. So we do sympathise. It will be a better week next week.
    johnep

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    • #3
      Cheers johnep - have to go back there next week but atleast I know what is awaiting....would love to give feedback to managers about these places if I ever get negative feedback/experience - though I expect they do know and wouldn't do me any good. I have one place where there were three staff the first Saturday and then that went down to 2 the next time - I have said I would cancel when they complained and the company said they would swap me but of course I am still on rota to work there - only have two more Saturdays to do after my holiday in May so I will do one and see if I can stomach the second. Next time I will only ever agree to do one day in a place, just give em a wide berth if bad and move on. Phew - nice to get it off my chest.
      Last edited by wanderer; 12th, March 2017, 09:03 AM.

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      • Dragonlady
        Dragonlady commented
        Editing a comment
        You are perfectly entitled to make enquiries of the manager if you get rebooked along the lines of ' I wasn't sure who was responsible for organising the counter work and I don't think it worked well last time. Which of the staff that will be on with me should be doing that.' If there is someone who should have helped you last time, it will be crystal clear that things didn't work without a direct criticism. Or if there is someone like the girl who did nothing ask 'Can you clarify x's normal duties for me? ' There are ways of making a criticism that are NOT actually critical......!

    • #4
      You are responsible for providing a safe and effective pharmacy service. Glad to hear that you will not accept bookings where you feel this requirement will not be met.

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      • #5
        Dragonlady - thanks for the helpful suggestion - can be difficult when bookings are done through a locum agency and it is the area manager who is responsible for the management of the stores. Do you suggest I speak to the pharmacist manager of the particular store before working there again? I can't imagine they want/expect a locum to do this and I don't want to get a reputation and not be booked for other stores in this group.

        I will try your ideas though- can be difficult if you are there on the day and you are not happy with how things are going in that moment though.
        Last edited by wanderer; 12th, March 2017, 10:34 AM. Reason: no reason

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        • #6
          It is up to you, but if you don't want to work some of these places as other people have said maybe never go back or give it another go with provisos.

          I can understand the repeat scripts telephone calls thing. I get this all the time off other members of staff where 'it's only quick'. You look at the actual time taken for the calls and they are significant - perhaps 3 or 4 minutes when it is busy and some of these are very experienced members of staff. My experiences of when I started as a counter assistant there's a lot of pressure to answer the phone as other members of staff will try and get out of doing it, but it's inefficient. You have to learn stuff but you get people ringing up and saying oh I can't remember the name of it the tablet is pink and this is a nightmare for a new member of staff. I got a telephone call the other day and I'd exhausted avenues to help the patient and they wanted to speak to the pharmacist and I was told no tell them to ring back in 15 mins. For me that actually helps, not hinders.

          I find it frustrating with the order thing as I have members of staff that say oh it'll be in 8am/9am saturday morning. I just don't see why people do this as it causes other people grief. I usually say 11am or by midday or sound vague. If they get annoyed and say so you can't guarantee it'll be in by 9am I say, of course not unfortunately.

          I would say as support staff a locum should only answer the phone when necessary. Say counter assistant is dealing with a largue queue of people, you think they are doing well and you don't want to interupt as it'd be inefficient switching over and the phone rings.

          When I started out the problem I had was locums as RPs would never back me up/help out if things go wrong. For me you give off the vibes that you will when necessary the relationship will go better. A support member of staff should have your back covered with little things unique to the site that you wouldn't know or may have forgotten.




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          • #7
            I sympathise with Wanderer, after 30 years in management and a few years in locum work, you appreciate the responsibilities are different; locums should stick to professional duties;
            mur's , nms and scripts; we dont get paid to manage. If pharmacy companies run shops with less than the bare minimum staffing level due to low margins, they should perhaps sell up and buy into the "bake and cake" industry; better margins, and not expect pharmacist to cover for non-existent staff!
            I never go back to a shop or company where I am expected to cover for counter staff as well as my RP duties. Simple as......

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            • #8
              Some interesting comments - I have also had from this young counter assistant whilst chatting about what makes a good locum - we don't like locums who tell us how to do our jobs......

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              • #9
                Originally posted by wanderer View Post
                Some interesting comments - I have also had from this young counter assistant whilst chatting about what makes a good locum - we don't like locums who tell us how to do our jobs......
                The simple answer to that is, 'If you are doing your job properly then nobody will need to tell you how to do it.'

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                • #10
                  When I started locuming and still now when I go into new places, I find staff with different and sometimes difficult attitude. You have to get your message across first time you are there, 'I'm friendly but not that friendly'

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by wanderer View Post
                    Some interesting comments - I have also had from this young counter assistant whilst chatting about what makes a good locum - we don't like locums who tell us how to do our jobs......
                    Everyone gets that comment, staff get that off other staff! There were locums that I got on fine with who other members of staff didn't get on with as apparently the staff members had been called lazy eventually after asking about this or that needing to be done.

                    I can see how some of the old school pharmacists wind up counter assistants by calling people school leavers and being very patronising, but that's a tiny minority.


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                    • #12
                      You could find that some take it as patronising that you say old school pharmacists are patronising! All are individuals even if you go on to say only a minority.
                      Regards

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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by aston View Post
                        You could find that some take it as patronising that you say old school pharmacists are patronising! All are individuals even if you go on to say only a minority.
                        Regards
                        That is a completely trivial point. Are some people not individuals? Are there people who don't know this? Why say it.

                        Pharmacy is incredibly old fashioned I'm afraid. We've seen it on here where people call people 'school leavers' and think that someone coming into pharmacy may have no qualifications. These sort of misunderstandings at their strongest are going to cause problems. One of the most patronising pharmacists I met wouldn't believe that any of the support staff had A-levels let alone degrees. He would have gone bonkers if we'd said we were quite surprised you had a degree yourself, since the only evidence we could see of it was the registration above the door! My point is that there are some pharmacists out there with some quite outdated ideas about what the world is like now and there's going to be friction there if they aren't open minded.

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                        • #14
                          Read the RP sign. YOU are IN CHARGE !!!!!
                          Delegate!
                          NO, do not answer the phone , any of the muppets that you have had to put up with last time can do that, only you can check a script. So next time delegate who is on phone duty.
                          As for the training, I had that one too, ask for confirmation from a line manager, or call someone or even call the regular pharmacist, I found out later it was just a skive !

                          Be like Theresa May "ICY STARE" apparently ! !!!

                          They are just trying it on.

                          When I put my foot down in one shop and said I wasn't tolerating such awful behaviour and because their regular pharmacist wasn't there, it didn't mean they were on holiday, one of them started to shake and one started to cry with my shouting ! But the day then went a whole lot better knowing I wasn't going to take any of their crap !!!

                          One thing I have found useful, at the start of the day, ask them , "right, I want to know what your job role is and who does what" You will get a lot of ***** the regular pharmacist does that, like answer the phone !!!! So say, I'm sorry, I don;t do phones so we need to pick a person to do that, and then swop this afternoon,
                          Zero tolerance from 9am, then they will know you mean business ! Think Hatty Jaques in Carry on Matron !! type of style ! Showing my age now !!! haha
                          Just don't take their bullshit !! NO 16 yr old saturday girl should be telling you what to do !!!

                          Sorry if this seems harsh, especially if you're not that type of person. But sometimes you have to do these things !
                          Last edited by mrlittlebigman; 17th, March 2017, 01:09 PM.

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by mcitr View Post

                            That is a completely trivial point. Are some people not individuals? Are there people who don't know this? Why say it.

                            Pharmacy is incredibly old fashioned I'm afraid. We've seen it on here where people call people 'school leavers' and think that someone coming into pharmacy may have no qualifications. These sort of misunderstandings at their strongest are going to cause problems. One of the most patronising pharmacists I met wouldn't believe that any of the support staff had A-levels let alone degrees. He would have gone bonkers if we'd said we were quite surprised you had a degree yourself, since the only evidence we could see of it was the registration above the door! My point is that there are some pharmacists out there with some quite outdated ideas about what the world is like now and there's going to be friction there if they aren't open minded.
                            you may think it trivial but you brought up about being patronised by older pharmacists so we shall have to agree to disagree. Not all pharmacy is incredibly old fashioned. Again you make generalisations. I am of the opinion that we all need each other to provide the service that is required. Just as in an operating theatre nurses, cleaners, surgeons etc etc are all needed to do the job in hand.
                            Regards

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