ME: You tell people all the time that a company takes on the persona of its boss.
CP: Mostly, when I say that, it's about employees. They take on the attitude of their direct supervisor. If there is genuine caring from the top, it trickles down to all of the employees/direct reports and then is when you have a team.
MYSELF: Why is this important?
CP: After the NY Times article and the brouhaha that followed it, it seems apropos to comment on how bad retail pharmacy employers are.
ME: All of them?
CP: Yes. There isn't any singular benefit that causes one to stand above the other. We used to be able to differentiate them by their services but now it's just different bowls of vanilla ice cream.
MYSELF: And they're equally guilty of mistreatment of their employees and the bastardization of the profession in which they practise.
ME: What brought this topic about?
CP: My brain is full of lyrics and movie quotes, right?
ME and MYSELF: Yes.
CP: I was thinking about how the employers really don't care. They don't care about their patients (who get annoyed with the phone calls and texts and out-of-stocks and other corporate-controllable issues). They don't care about their employees (firing good employees but keeping awful ones, threatening their jobs, pushing metrics, killing bonuses, scheduling way too few employees per shift, etc). They don't care about patient safety (again, scheduling too thin, preferring staff to make phone calls instead of focusing their attention on the prescriptions in front of them).
ME: Got it. And. . . ?
CP: If you don't care, then we don't care.
MYSELF: Now move in now move out.
ME: Hands up now hands down.
CP: If your employees are complaining about how bad the profession has become, you should listen. If my technicians come to me with a complaint, I can either do something about it or ignore it. If I fix it, they know I will always have their backs and they will want to work harder for me since I will support them.
If I blow it off, if I do not take it seriously, if I upbraid them for complaining, they will quit caring and leave. They will be useless to me and I will be left to wonder why they stopped caring and are not working as hard as they were.
ME: You will have lost them.
MYSELF: It's the professional dilemma; our ethical divide. We are wired to feel obligated to our patients, to care for them, to do the best we can for them. Yet we are set up to fail by the corporate system.
CP: Right. We can't quit caring any more than we can quit breathing.
ME: I bet they'd try to take that next.
CP: But we can care less. I'm sure the corporate overlords hate the negativity, but it's negativity dressed as honesty. When patients ask why we don't have something in stock, why they receive too many phone calls, why we can't remove them from an over saturation of alerts even after they die, be honest; tell them it's "The System". If the retail giants don't care enough about the work environment they provide, about their employees' opinions, hell, about patients' opinions, then we shouldn't care either.
MYSELF: What you're saying is that, we can care about our patients, but if those patients have a negative opinion about the companies, we shouldn't do anything to discourage them from having those opinions.
CP: Precisely. Since the companies are doing absolutely nothing to change the negative opinions everyone in the world has of them, why should I try to change that perception. My patients will love ME for who I am, but we can both hate the company and how it does business. Like I said, if they don't care, then we don't care.
MYSELF: Throw your hands up!