Letting Go

One of the darkest time in my pharmacy career was when I had to fire another pharmacist. I am the first to admit that I am not good at managing pharmacists. I tried many years ago and failed so miserably.   I have no problem managing pharmacy technicians. I have no problem dealing with challenging clients or customers but when it comes to pharmacists, I feel like I don’t know how to manage them.

I think part of the problem is that we all need to respect each other’s professional judgment. Just because it is in my professional judgment to address an issue a certain way doesn’t mean another equally professional pharmacist will address the same issue in the same manner.  But I can’t confuse professionalism with plain tardiness or negligence.

Perhaps I was the problem. I have doubted myself many times….

  • Was I not clear enough of my expectations?
  • Was my demeanor not serious enough for the pharmacist to respect my authority?
  • Should I have tried to act collegial or distant myself because I was the manager?

When a mistake was made, did I follow the proper steps? Clarify if there was a lack of training, retraining and follow up to confirm her understanding.

If the same mistake was made again, did I provide a clear verbal warning again or should I proceed to a written warning?

It was so damn exhausting.

I was so wrapped up with what was the right thing to do before reaching the ultimatum of dismissing the pharmacist.

But the real problem was that I ignored my intuition.  I knew ….and I felt that she wasn’t the right fit from the beginning. We were so desperate to hire a pharmacist we offered her the job even when I had doubts.

Look what a mess I have created for myself.

Dismissing her was probably more traumatic for myself than it was for her – she was indifferent, at least she acted that way. The burden was immediately lifted from my chest after she was gone.  But the scar remains.

Perhaps it is time that I let it go and move on. But this time around, let’s pay more attention to my intuition.


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My name is Cynthia Leung and I am a practicing pharmacist in Kingston Ontario, Canada. This blog is for me to share my ideas, opinions and perspectives on how medications are used in our health care system. Note that these posts are my own opinions and do not represent the opinions of my current or former employers and / or organizations that I may belong to. Any possible case scenarios described in my posts would be modified to maintain patient confidentiality. This blog is not a platform for professional advise for patients or health care providers and the content is not meant to support any clinical decisions or replace professional opinions. Also the images are either taken or created by the author, or adapted with permissions. I hope you will enjoy reading my posts!

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