Maintaining Consistency: Standardized Pharmaceutical Compounding Begins with Training
No one likes making mistakes. Human beings are naturally flawed, but that doesn’t mean we can’t aim for perfection. As pharmacists, we always strive to provide the highest quality care for our patients. We’ve previously discussed how standardizing pharmaceutical compounding can achieve this goal.
However, establishing standardized procedures in your pharmacy is only the first step. Even the best protocol is useless if employees fail to adhere to it. Simple flow charts may prove effective for daily reference, but it’s not enough to hand one to a new employee and leave them to their own devices. That type of management only encourages confusion and at worst, it negates the effort put into standardizing procedures in the first place.
The next step in standardized compounding is employee training and oversight. It’s crucial that pharmacy workers become familiar with established procedures and the safest techniques to execute them most effectively. A thorough understanding of protocol ensures that we can prepare high-quality medications on a consistent basis.
Establish a Positive Learning Environment
Think back to your days in school. Which type of classroom encouraged you to learn more: the one where your teacher harshly chastised anyone who answered incorrectly or the one where your teacher encouraged intellectual curiosity?
When it comes to teaching people new techniques, it doesn’t benefit anyone to create a culture of fear. Naturally, pharmacists strive for perfection, but mistakes are often made during the learning process. In fact, it’s been shown that when employees feel comfortable with making mistakes during training, they perform tasks better while on the job.
It’s unreasonable to expect a new hire fresh out of pharmacy school to prepare eye drops for a child as their first task. Not only does it put undue pressure on her, it also risks the patients’ health. We must build a foundation of experience first.
Personalize Training for Each Employee
Customized employee training is quickly becoming the method of choice. It allows employees to learn necessary skills at their own experience level. An added benefit to customization is that training is tailored for the employee’s career goals; you are giving them neither too much nor too little training. The benefits of adopting such personalization include better worker retention and productivity, and increased market competitiveness for your pharmacy.
Regardless of personalization, all employees benefit from clear and focused training. This means:
- Outlining their job duties: what tasks will they ultimately be responsible for?
- Detailing what is expected of them: what goals do they need to meet on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis?
- Explaining and demonstrating established processes: they need to know what the protocol is before they can follow it
Beyond these basics, however, on-the-job training works best when broken into tasks. Breaking down a large procedure into smaller tasks improves performance and builds confidence as employees become comfortable with the methods. During this process, their strengths can be optimized while areas that need improvement can be identified.
Continued Oversight after Initial Training Period
People want to believe training is finite, that there is a starting point and an ending point, after which you’re an expert. In reality, training never ends; it’s a constant work in progress. Technology advances and experts make new discoveries or legislators pass new regulatory laws.
Continuous learning among workers should be encouraged. Workplace satisfaction increases when employees have opportunities for growth and advancement. Not only does this benefit your employees; it also benefits your pharmacy. The amassed knowledge and skill set exhibited by your employees can be put to good use in your compounding efforts. And as a bonus, when an employee is happy, she is more likely to stay at her current workplace rather than seek another job.
To accomplish this, daily lines of communication must be established and kept open. It’s important to foster an environment where co-workers are encouraged to share ideas with one another. This aids in training and boosts workplace performance among employees, with the additional benefit of keeping managers aware of the goings-on within their pharmacy. The latter comes into play when policy changes are made; open communication can offer supervisors insight into whether new procedures are even feasible in the first place.
Although standardized pharmaceutical compounding begins with establishing set procedures, it lives through employees. Training them properly ensures that any protocol put in place is followed to the letter. Creating a positive environment that encourages continuous learning and growth also benefits your pharmacy by increasing employee satisfaction, which in turns increases workplace retention. By achieving these goals, we can guarantee the preparation of consistently high-quality medications.
Here at PNA, we take quality very seriously. Our staff are well-trained and prepared to provide our clients with high-quality products for all their pharmaceutical compounding needs. Contact us today and speak with our top-notch customer service to learn more.