A scientific mindset is a critical tool for a pharmacist in the academic and professional setting because proper interpersonal relationships skills complement it. This is in recognizing that pharmacists’ role encompasses patient-centered care and interaction with other health professionals whereby adequate communication skills are critical. In providing patient-centered care, pharmacists require interpersonal relationships skills in interviewing patients and counseling them.
Proper interpersonal relationships also require appropriate interpersonal relationships skills in the teamwork with another health professional, both pharmacists and those who are not pharmacists. In addition to this, pharmacists are required to document drug therapy. As a pharmacy student, I have learned that a modern change in healthcare involves interpersonal healthcare teams.
These healthcare teams have to be trained on professional-specific care and interact effectively in the professional setting. One of the barriers of interpersonal interactions in pharmacy students is that they have to context when interacting with their instructors, other health professionals, and the patients. The outcome of having high-quality interpersonal relationships skills in the healthcare setting is that it facilitates the delivery of healthcare services.
Having been through clinical rotation as a pharmacy student, I have learned that I have personal strengths and weaknesses in interpersonal communication. One of my strengths, as I have realized and with the confirmation of my instructors, is that I avoid using medical jargon when communicating with patients. When it is necessary to use jargon, I explain the meaning to the patient, something they usually appreciate. According to my instructors, this is a common mistake made by my pharmacy students.
I, however, have realized that I have weaknesses that compromise the quality of my services to patients. I try to use slang with the patients to connect with them better, which works only for a small percentage of the attempts made. This is because slang tends to vary from one patient to another depending on where they come from, their ethnicity, and their quality of education. Having realized the strength and weaknesses, it is clear that interpersonal relationships skills in the healthcare setting more often arise in interactions between patients and healthcare professionals than among healthcare professionals.
There is a set of scenarios whose outcome has come as a surprise to me and predominantly involve patient counseling. As a pharmacist, I am expected to interview the patients to review their medication a process that needs effective interpersonal relationships skills. I have realized that some patients, more so those who are also immigrants who do not speak or hear the English language.
Often, when I ask such patients open-ended questions during patient counseling, they fail to express themselves coherently, compromising my ability to help resolve their health problems. This is something that I think cannot be resolve at a personal level ad instead, the hospitals should have professional translators for all the common languages used by immigrants such as Spanish, Arabic, Swahili, Chinese, and Hindu.
I have learned that fellow health professionals, regardless of their roles, nurses, physicians, and students, can improve my interpersonal relationships skills. Therefore, in the future, I shall integrate teamwork in my everyday tasks to open interactions that facilitate information sharing (Pype et al.). Thus, reinforcing a team-oriented culture can improve not only my interpersonal relationships skills but also those of other people.
Pype, Peter, et al. “Healthcare teams as complex adaptive systems: understanding team behaviour through team members’ perception of interpersonal interaction.” BMC health services research 18.1 (2018): 1-13.