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Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Adler Principle

How many of you know who Alfred Adler was?  Well, To make a long bio short, he was a psychiatrist. Unlike Freud, who believed in the "pleasure principle", Adler believed in the principle of  "striving for superiority".  In other words he believed that man existed merely to become superior to others.  How sad is that?!  Even sadder is my observation that many pharmacists practice this principle without truly being conscious of it (some are very conscious of it).  I see pharmacists who belittle their patients in conversations with their staff and I also see those who try to prove their superiority in their interactions with their patients. (We won't talk about physicians let alone nurse practitioners, we know we're superior to them. HA HA)  I'm not talking about being in control of the situation or having ultimate say in what goes on in the pharmacy. That is your job. What I'm talking about is that "I'm better/smarter/snottier, etc than you are" attitude that all of us are guilty of at one time or another. I would like you to really examine your own behavior. Listen to yourself interacting with your patients. Do you purposely use medical jargon you know they won't understand just to prove your intelligence? Do you treat your Medicaid patients differently than others? That's a big one there! Do you constantly have to out-wit your patients? All of these things show not only a lack of sensitivity but a lack of professionalism and maturity. Not to mention underlying insecurity. If you find yourself doing these things maybe you should re-evaluate your attitude or your choice of careers. We are here to serve our patients and to educate them. Acting superior is not a servants attitude. If your offended by being called a servant, then again maybe think about changing attitude or careers. Proving your intelligence does not  educate anyone. It just intimidates them into not wanting to ask questions. Is that really your goal as a pharmacist?
   The next question is: Do you treat your staff the same way?  Are you a prima dona in the pharmacy? I'm not talking about properly supervising, but just plain acting like an ass? I'll give you an example. I worked with a pharmacist once who wouldn't even help clear a paper jam in the printer. His excuse: "I went to school to be a pharmacist not some computer geek."  Really?! Well, I put gas in my car and I didn't go to school to be a mechanic! What a jerk!! And another thing, don't talk down to your staff. They are not two-year-olds. They are adults and usually can understand multi-syllable words. Here's the really scandalous thing: Sometimes they are right and you are wrong! GASP!!  In fact, some of them have been doing this longer than you have and their experience should be acknowledged. Learn to differentiate between your specialized knowledge and their experiential knowledge. It just may save your butt some time. You just may learn something from them. (Double GASP!! Now shut your mouth before you swallow a fly.)

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