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How to motivate pharmacy in the right direction – it’s all about cups of tea


Sam Kay
Sam Kay


SOMETIMES missed in the eyes of the public is the magnitude of precision and care given by pharmacists on a daily basis.

I imagine most people would agree that pharmacists are not fully recognised for the work they do. A lot of thought and effort has gone into helping push pharmacists for recognition. Many of whom translate their passion into words both on twitter and blogs like this one.

But not many analyse consciously why pharmacists do what we do. What is it that persuades the everyday pharmacist to get out of bed and go to work to care for patients?

First and foremost, it is a job…

That would motivate most to get out of bed to work. Obvious is it not?

You may be surprised to hear that the number of times you press snooze on your morning alarm is directly proportional to how negatively you perceive your job. This is of course an oversimplification used as a means to illustrate a basic concept.

Self-motivation is a conceptual idea which never reaches consciousness. It is thought as the driving force of actions. The means to start doing something.

Simply put, pharmacists have a lot of self-motivation. But self-motivation is, as I said, a conceptual idea. The inner works of the idea of self-motivation can be explored further as a set of thoughts which appear in succession.

Let me illustrate…

“I would like a cup of tea. I would like to wake up further. It will help me. Maybe I would need hydration in the form of a warm drink. Yes tea would do that. Also it is comforting.

Yes. Tea. Tea. So what do I need to do? Kettle to make warm water. Do I have tea? Let’s start the kettle and worry about the tea supplies later. Kettle. Kettle. Where is a clean tea cup? And Milk? I need to get up. Let’s get up and make some tea. Ok I am up.” And so on and so forth.

Most of this happens in blissful silence.

Notice the evolution of ideas from a thought to what becomes self-convincing chit chat to eventually a list of actions which needs to take place. There was doubt along the way in the form of tea supplies, potential lack of milk and no clean cups. Finally, the most important word – need – is said and actions start happening.

Ok so we went through what might have occurred in the simplest form in our heads at any one point in time. A constant battle of argument. I do not claim that is exactly what is going on, it is again a useful tool to illustrate my point.

Now look at the initial idea of “I would like a cup of tea”. A random thought indeed. What may have sprung up this idea?This is where the magic of marketing comes in. It is an incredibly complex field and I have merely looked at it from the outside.

However it is usually sprung from association. You are a natural machine of routine. It is 13.00. You are hungry. It is 18.00. Cup of tea. It is 07.00. Need to go to work. It is dark. Sleep time. You get the point.

So back to the original question of what makes a pharmacist get up do such an excellent job?

There is a reason why we have pharmacy simulation labs at university and best practice pharmacy is enforced constantly. It forms association of a pharmacy setting. Association forms thoughts of good care. Thoughts become actions and we encompass the whole thing under the title of “self-motivation”. Real grass root ideas is it not?

Therefore in the future of clinical pharmacy, where prescribing pharmacists may become the norm, is it ok to be selling sandwiches in a clinical environment?

If we really aim to look to the future, let us start “self-motivating” to become more clinical and less retail. It is at that point that the public will associate good care with the already fantastic breed of pharmacy which we see today.

As per the norm, I always say that my views are my own and I will happily give out any references and where I drew ideas from. This is not designed to be an attack at the retail environment of pharmacies – but more as a look into the future. The psychology of thought processes and marketing is far too large of a scope and I am no expert within the field – therefore I encourage you all to read up further on this interesting subject.

Sam Kay is an occasional pharmacy lecturer at Kingston University, PDA southern coordinator and HWH pharmacy volunteer

Follow Sam @SamKayPharma

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