Diversity has defined Glenn Rodrigues’s career.
In addition to being a career community pharmacist, he was coordinator of the Skills Lab at Dalhousie University’s College of Pharmacy and continues to provide continuing education programs supporting expanded scopes of practice. Glenn is also past president of the Pharmacy Association of Nova Scotia, which provides him with the opportunity to be involved in advocacy. “My perspective is different,” says Glenn. “I understand critical appraisal and patient care – and the reality of applying that in the community. Harmonizing those areas is a challenge.”
Photo by Brandon Gray
Education: Dalhousie University (Bachelor of Science, Pharmacy)
Current role: Staff Pharmacist, Lawton’s Drugs (Sobeys), Dartmouth, N.S.
What qualities are needed to run a successful pharmacy?
First and foremost, you must have the right team. The business is only as good as the people in the business who are interacting with patients and customers. Staff need to feel part of something important. They need to understand what the business is at its core: Is this a place that sells a product, provides a service, or both? A service focus is a very different mission statement.
Efficiency is also critical. It’s becoming much more complex to provide prescriptions. You need to pay attention to people on the frontlines, to get their ideas and insights. Some of the people who offer the best solutions and innovation are those who are in the midst of the reality every day.
What are the important lessons you’ve learned as a part of a national company? Has this helped you to be a better pharmacist?
There is a tremendous level of resources – human and otherwise – that are available with a national company like Sobeys. This can lead to greater efficiency and enhanced support.
Why is it important to you as a pharmacist to build customer loyalty?
Loyalty is key. As a healthcare provider, loyalty means you have an ongoing relationship with the patient, which puts the pharmacist in a much stronger position to serve the patient’s needs. Loyalty also helps to build business; loyal customers talk to others and refer people.
What is essential to help ensure adherence?
Four elements are essential. First, the patient must know the benefits of the medication and the pharmacists must know if they are receiving these benefits. Second, there is the issue of tolerance. Pharmacists also need to understand if the regime is too complex for the patient. Finally, there is the issue of affordability. One or more of these may be causing a problem, and the pharmacist may not be aware of it. That’s where the ongoing relationship with the patient is critical. Information about the drug is only half the interaction. Understanding the person, their life and needs is the other half.
What advice would you give new pharmacists looking to help their patients maximize their health?
New graduates want to do a great job, but they’re not always sure how to do this. You need to find a way to get to know your patients. Pharmacists are aware of the therapy options and are able to work with the patient’s other healthcare providers but that’s only helpful if you undersand the needs of your patients. Follow up on the outcomes of therapy. You will help patients optimize their health by addressing problems that arise, and in doing so exceed their expectations. As well, following up with patients develops your clinical experience. It is all integrated.