I noticed on social media the other day that you were running a series on bullying, specifically bullying in pharmacy. I am sad to say that I have been bullied.
I wanted others to read about my personal experience. I would like to be anonymous in every way possible. Any suspicion of an accusation or insinuation from me about bullying would be career suicide.
I have been a pharmacist for many years. I work for a large pharmacy chain. A few years ago I changed my usual store. I did not know it at the time that but that was a very bad decision. Possibly my worst decision ever. The staff at this particular store, one of the ‘well known’ chain I mentioned is known to bully their pharmacist. Numerous pharmacists have come and gone from that pharmacy. Knowing this I thought I would keep my head down and do my job but also work hard to ensure a friendly work environment. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long the bullying started almost immediately.
Let me point out I was the manager and I was been bullied by the dispenser.
It might seem far-fetched but it is true and true for other pharmacists that left before me. I had situations where the dispenser would be shouting at me in the dispensary. This dispenser would instruct other staff not to listen to me and so on. At every opportunity, the dispenser basically undermined my authority. On some occasions when I worked alone with this person the dispenser would refuse to do checks on medication that I have dispensed unless I said “please”. Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with saying please and thank you but for the dispenser to put their hands on their waist and demand “please check these items” is not fair.
I tried to put my foot down but realised I didn’t have a supportive area manager. I soon worked out that I was not going to get anywhere with taking disciplinary action of any sort. When I told my area manager about the particular incident of the dispenser not checking, essentially not doing the job of a dispenser the area manager turned around and asked if I say please when asking them to do anything. I recorded the dispenser shouting at me one day in the dispensary. I played the recording for my area manager. He just said ” you know you are not allowed to record without permission” nothing else followed.
I had all sort of issues including safety issues. I remember on one occasion a doctor from a nearby surgery called into the pharmacy, came straight into the dispensary picked a POM item off the shelf and spoke to the dispenser that he would see the dispenser later. Within seconds he had disappeared. I then asked what that was about and the dispenser said “oh that is one of our doctors from next door” to which I replied, “but he is not allowed to just pick medicine from the dispensary without a script.” I sent a requisition invoice to the doctor and he sent back the item. Apparently, he was angry and that made my situation worse because according to my dispenser I was upsetting everybody including our key stakeholder, the doctor.
It was obvious there was no appetite from my employers to do anything about the situation. Like I said the dispenser was(is) well known for bullying pharmacists within the company and we all keep wondering how they get away with it.
The dispenser had power locally. By this I mean this person had been with the company for many years. The dispenser knew almost all the customers by name and some of their relatives work there. The dispenser behaved like they own the pharmacy.
A lot more happened but eventually, my position became untenable in that store and I requested to step down as a manager and move to another store. Which is what I did. The dispenser is still there and their attitude is still the same.
The author of this blog wished to remain anonymous.