Pharmacy technician training update 2021

In Jan 2020 I submitted documentation to the Alabama Board of Pharmacy to have a board approved program at Lawson State Community College. This program was approved and is entitled “Non Credit Pharmacy Technician Program at Lawson State”.

I now have an additional program which follows the same format entitled “Alabama Pharmacy Tech”. The content for both programs is now housed at the following website: http://alabamapharmacytech.com

The classes meet virtually utilizing “Google Meet”. There are 14 modules currently to complete, 10 quizzes, and one final exam. Both courses primary intent are to give future/current pharmacy technicians access to both the practicing pharmacist and certified pharmacy technician. Emphasis is placed on technicians becoming competent in the day to day processes and workflows of a “community pharmacy”.

If you or another person is interested in completing an ALBOP approved pharmacy technician course please feel free to contact us at alabama.pharmacytech@gmail.com

In your message please state in the subject line: Enrollment request. In the body of the email state the following: name, current city and state, current registration status with ALBOP (registered or not registered), and the reason why you want to be a pharmacy tech. Once enrolled you have 6 weeks to complete the course.

Currently there are slots available through the Lawson State program that are “free”. Thus, I’m not charging currently. I will simply take your email and forward it to Lawson State while spots are available and they will determine if you qualify for this opportunity. Session one just completed last week for me. And we are looking to have session 2 sometime in September.

Best of luck!

Business blog series…blog#5

Business blog series…blog#5

A lot of emphasis in school is placed on tests. Tests, while well intentioned show how much information has been retained after hours of memorization. The one caveat is can the test translate into true understanding.

While I definitely understand the need for testing; students need to be aware that A’s in school are just the beginning of reaching mastery in a given profession.

I was recently reading an article about football players that were preparing to be drafted and play professionally. The athletes that hadn’t been on national television and on the bubble of being drafted and not being drafted clamored at the prospects of showing their talent to any scout that would give them a chance. While the athletes that played at the high profile institutions were in discussions with their agents as if they would even show up to various events to be “tested”. I don’t begrudge the athletes, a poor performance would reduce their draft stock. Which really turns the “test” into winner takes all approach. These athletes could lose millions of dollars by being off a tenth of a second.

When I was a student, the semester started with a syllabus. Typically I saw four tests, maybe a few quizzes, and the big daddy of tests, “the final exam” on the schedule. Typically a test would be 10 percent apiece, while the final maybe 20-30 percent of your final grade. Personally, this often led to test fatigue for me, as I would do okay on the tests, but looked towards the final exam to give me the jolt I needed to get the A. I had other classmates make A’s the entire semester only to bomb the final exam. And be happy making a low A or high B as their final grade. It sort of became an academic exercise of sorts for some; wondering how many 100s they can make, to only bomb the final. It was done to mock the process in a way, and demonstrate that they didn’t have to study for the teachers final.

What’s the point! The point is that these “final exams” we have setup, whether they be academic in nature or for athletes to get drafted are flawed methods of determining lifetime performance. The tests in a way makes some of the the students forget the process. For the football players, I completely understand, the process is flawed. A bad test would definitely decrease their stock. However, someone with clout has to recognize the flaws and adjust. The final exams for students, for athletes, and in business deserve an asterisk if you’re attempting to turn that final into a comprehensive story of a persons future lifetime performance in life or sport.

As with every profession, “Consistency” is the currency of business. We consistently know what McDonald’s fries taste like whether we pick them up in California or Georgia (hold the salt 🙂 smile). And because of that consistency, it induces the consumer to seek out the product and purchase. The same thought process must be taught in school and in life.

You need good form, technique, and consistent practice to catch a ball and put balls in a hoop. You need discipline, the ability to serve customers, and provide consistency in providing quality products to be successful in business.

Give me the guy that ran the 40 yard dash 4.2, 4.3, 4.2 over the guy that ran 4.0 once. Give me the young man or woman that shows up to work ready to perform daily every day, every year and shows up rain or shine over the person that is a high performer but calls out every three weeks.

I’ll end this post with a question for you the reader and also for myself. How can we begin to quantify an employee’s consistency with metrics? For that matter, how can we quantify the managers consistency, or even ownership’s consistency over the course of business period?

Thanks for spending a moment with me. Peace!!

Business blog series…blog#4

Business blog series…blog#4

 

Prior to getting started tonight, take a moment to check out the previous business blogs.

Business blog #1

Business blog #2

Business blog #3

Leadership is difficult. The most important thing you can do on your journey to becoming a more well rounded leader is to reflect upon yourself and your own personal actions. There was a period of time in my management journey where I took cues and pages out of the book of people that “had done it before me”.

There was a mishmash of all types of leadership styles that I saw. Some of the leaders yelled. Some of the leaders might fire you before a dime hit the floor. Some leaders lead by example. Some leaders documented, documented, documented — because as this person stated “if you don’t document it, it never happened”. As you can guess, that last method created a tad bit of distrust between management and employee.

I realized my limitations very quickly as a leader. First, I lacked the knowledge of business language. And I set out on a journey reading books about business. Essentially, I kept gravitating towards the  pocket MBA type of  books. I looked at those books so much, that I decided to just try B-school for myself. This while helping to steer an organization that at the time was only 1 year old.

It was stressful process, working on the degree while managing the business;  but I quickly learned that I enjoyed my classes. And the classes where giving me foundational pieces of information that would help me lead a more efficient business.  Marketing strategy, operations management, accounting, finance to name a few were books I just kept reviewing.

B-school gave me a perspective on the science of business. At the same time, I was fulfilling a craving desire that I didn’t even realize that I had. Then, I would stumble upon those pesky management classes; that discussed managerial philosophy and the history of the industrial revolution and it’s impact on labor. How do you coach an employee to be productive? What workflows and processes do you need to have in place to effectively retain human beings? The science of business was great. While the sociology and humanism aspects of business were more difficult topics for me to decipher, because those concepts were not as  black and white.

I thought about the stressors I had been under. The stress to make things happen, create, and effectively budget while leading the ship. And I realized something…. I had these high expectations of others, and what their performance should look like. However, was I looking in the mirror and evaluating my own performance? I had employed some of the wrong cues in my leadership. The leaders before me meant well, but one size didn’t fit all. I was going to have to employ new tactics to reduce my employee turnover rate.

Was it everyone else’s fault? Did they not understand what I wanted — they just don’t see my vision? Or better yet, was it my fault and I needed to learn how to be a more effective communicator. A better leader?

The moral of this story is this…

1st — Understanding the history of human resource management is by far the chapter of any management book that you must read and re-read and study most closely. Can you hire well, and then after you hire well, can you retain quality people to help fulfill the vision that you see for your organization?

2nd — If you look up one day, and you realize that everyone is making the mistake and people just can’t understand your high standards. Take a moment, pause, and reflect and ask yourself, “are they the problem or am I the problem?” It’s funny how that can happen so quickly. Leaders tend to create a bubble for themselves. Before you know it, you’re living in a bubble where everyone else is wrong, and you’re the only one with all the answers. Remember, theres more than one way to get to a right answer in the “real world.” If you think everyone is crazy and you’re the only one that is right… or better yet, if you find yourself in a time of your life when everyone wants to run from you and you can’t figure it out… Realize that you… Yes, you the magical leader that can do no wrong, needs to reflect and look in the mirror. Take a close look and maybe find some friends and family in your life to remind you of all the times you’ve been wrong!

Two points that I hope you take a moment to consider. I hope that if leadership is the path that you’ve taken, you can always take a moment to re-evaluate yourself. Please make time to be around people that don’t think like you. It will push you to be better and do better. You need the perspective of a lot of people to truly impact the lives of millions.

Peace!

Pharmacy pearls.. blog#1

Intranasal midazolam and diazepam are now commercially available. You may notice increased demand from your prescribers for these products because patients may feel that the nasal formulation is less intrusive in comparison to rectal diazepam.

Also many providers may choose to use these products instead of diazepam rectal gel because of administration concerns… as the nasal formulations are deemed easier to administer by caregivers and/or school nurses.

Pharmacists, be careful when dispensing the 15mg and 20mg intranasal diazepam products — please note that each intranasal dose is 7.5mg per nostril for the 15mg product and 10mg per nostril for the 20mg product. This can be somewhat confusing initially as the 5mg and 10mg products do not follow the same pattern of being one-half of the listed dose per nostril (please read package insert to better understand).

Lastly, please refer to the package inserts of each product to ensure dosing is appropriate. In particular for pediatric patients. Please ensure that your prescribers directions are accurate, and that your patients and caregivers understand how to administer the product. Access to these products may be slower than normal due to the pandemic; thus make sure your patients know which pharmacies in their community dispense the product, so that they can make informed decisions prior to and after discharge from the hospital.

FDA guidance intranasal diazepam

FDA guidance intranasal midazolam

***Note: Please refer to the FDA package inserts, your pharmacy’s drug information resources, your state board of pharmacy policies, and your clinical judgement prior to dispensing. And if you still have further questions please never hesitate to contact the drug manufacturer. Information in this blog post does not substitute for your own clinical judgement. ***

***Patients, please discuss all medical and pharmacy options with your physician. This blog post does not substitute for an individual one on one consultation with your physician. In all cases of emergency please always call 911***

Sam Blakemore is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn

Business blog series… blog#3

Books are invaluable. Once again, I was listening to an audiobook on one of my favorite free apps the “Libby App“. The latest book on my audiobook shelf is The Infinite Game by Simon Sinek. In one of the first chapters of the book, the author discusses the difference between a finite game and an infinite game.

Finite games the authors states are games that have an endpoint (sports); while infinite games (politics or business) do not have endpoints, the game continues to be played with or without your presence.

In business, we dub the “cream of the crop” as organizations that have solid foundations in which the structure of the business allows the company to be relevant through both transitions in leadership, times of adversity, and shifts in market supply and/or demand. These businesses remain solvent even during the lean years. Lastly, these organizations in my opinion display a confident “agility to adapt” to customer demand and market variances.

Ultimately the “cream of the crop” have many attributes, but for brevity, these are some of their characteristics:

  1. The end user receives a product free of defect
  2. The product is made with quality and the product is priced to sell
  3. Customers receive satisfactory customer service, that ensures their return and lifetime usage of the product.

The third point is the glue. You can make and/or create a great product, but if that product is on the backend of “shotty” customer service — the service will overshadow the product.

Could you imagine going to a restaurant with a great chef, that has a five star menu but once you get there — the hostess berates you prior to finding you a table to sit?

All great companies have workflow diagrams to maintain consistency in their products. Customer service should not be any different. demands a workflow

Example: Workflow diagram for customer service at Point of Sale

Greeting the customer (upon entry into your establishment)–> asking the customer how you may assist them –> understanding your products and their needs (cost of each product to quickly and effectively answer their questions)  –> completing the transaction in a timely manner –> making eye contact with the customer and thanking the customer for giving you the opportunity to serve their needs

As with all things, there are breakdowns in communication. There can be a misunderstanding or miscommunication with the customer on what is an appropriate expectation/outcome for the requested service. Many things go wrong in a given day, and sometimes these breakdowns lead to bad reviews, negative feedback, and customers that will berate you. But we must always remember that customer service is an “infinite game”. The bad reviews can be painful, but they can open the managers eyes to how to more effectively manage, lead, and understand organizational missteps & shortcomings.

We build trust daily with our clients. Each day, each month, each year you must continue to fight to earn your customers business. There will be times in which your service may be less than optimal, but during those moments — make sure that your customers know how to contact you, so that they can quickly inform you of the given issue. Hopefully you will be able to provide them with a reasonable resolution.

More often than not, I’ve found that many customers simply want to be heard. It is important during these tense moments that you listen with intent. Ultimately, the customer is helping you if the feedback is constructive. If you can take that feedback and change appropriately, you too can become the “cream of the crop”.

Sam Blakemore is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn

 

Healthy Dose Interview

The Healthy Dose ®, is a radio show/podcast hosted by Anthony Bolus, PharmD.

On 12/17/2020 the episode entitled “Flavor or not to Flavor: Getting kids to take their medications” was published, and I was fortunate to appear as Anthony’s featured guest. When I listened to the finished product, I could really tell the effort Anthony puts forth into the production of this show; the quality of his podcast is excellent!

I really enjoyed the opportunity to speak with him, and it’s great to see a pharmacist like himself continue to push the profession forward through his practice of podcasting.

You can view the episode at the following links:

Anchor.fm website

Spotify

iTunes

After you review that episode, please also take the time to view the bank of podcasts Anthony has taken the time to produce in the past!

Thanks for your time!

___

Sam Blakemore is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn

Business blog series… blog#2

A great book for business leaders is The CEO Next Door. In the book the author describes the characteristics of folks that have made it to the top of the corporate food chain as CEO of the company.

Of the many characteristics discussed the one that stuck with me the most, is that an effective leader helps people reach their full potential.

But first things first. My mind began to rumble with the following issues… When you’re hiring how do you even know if qualified candidates fit the energy of your company? And once you trust your gut to hire the candidate; how can you determine they’re a good fit to be groomed for mentorship to reach that “full potential.”

In my years of managing people, one of the things that you can do to set your search engine to filter, is by giving the potential candidates looking to move up within the hierarchy of the organization tasks to complete.

Time after time, if you give each person enough opportunities, the cream will certainly rise to the top. Do not give meaningless tasks. Everything should count fair and square. With your focus always being transfixed on bettering your customer service and reducing defects for the consumer of your product. Thus, give the employee a task and deadline to complete the project.

And of course simply completing a project is just the beginning.

Do they complete the project with purpose? Do they complete the task in a manner that makes the business better, and fulfills the customer’s need? Is the work sloppy or is the work timely and on point? Thus, as the leader — your job is constantly to be the teacher. Grading out their work. Asking yourself constantly is this bad work, good work, above average, or great? Is this a bad idea, good idea, above average idea, or great idea?

As a mentor and servant leader you hope that they take your knowledge and push forward with their own ideas and fight for the causes that make them wake up early in the morning. All the while, you keep feeding them with your history and understanding of how things work and operate in the marketplace. Understanding that as you help them, they help both you and the customer.

In summary, servant leaders pass on the knowledge to those that are able to retain the knowledge, work hard and complete tasks in a timely manner. These folks are the type of people that push the needle forward to create better products and customer satisfaction for the consumer of the goods that your business offers.

Thus, to keep your business thriving.. you must Keep fighting for your customers business , keep serving the customer as you best know how, and keep sharing the knowledge with your employees that have ears that listen!

Sam Blakemore is the Pharmacy Manager of Peds Rx Pharmacy Solutions. Connect with him via: LinkedIn