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  • Importance of Soft Skills in Pharmacy Profession

    This is in no way a matter of  debate that to be an influential Manager, Engineer or a great Pharmacist one must possess a keen eye for details and sound knowledge of accounting, finance and quantitative-based decision sciences, human anatomy and chemistry as these are considered the prerequisites for the above mentioned jobs.

    But don’t be fooled into thinking that “hard skills” alone are sufficient for job success. In today’s competitive job market means that minimum acceptable skills are being replaced with higher standards. Among the higher standards are what many call “soft skills” − the cluster of personality traits, social graces, facility with language and personal habits that mark each of us to varying degrees.

    Health care industry is placing equal or greater emphasis on soft skills over more traditional clinical, technical and business skills. It’s a given that high-ranking pharmacy professionals are usually experts in their specialty and have business talent also. Soft skills, on the other hand, may be usually absent. They are difficult to teach − some would argue they’re innate − and they’re even harder to measure. Contrary to popular belief, the number of connections you have on social networking sites is not a true measure of your soft skills.

    The ability to develop and use soft skills can help land outstanding job offers and lead to job success. Let’s examine what I consider to be the most critical soft skills for budding pharmacists:

    Leadership

    Although there is no universally accepted definition of leadership, or even common consensus on what constitutes the most effective style of leadership, it is widely recognized that great leaders possess traits in common such as wisdom, compassion and a high level of energy.

    This is about as good a definition of leadership as I have come across. It describes someone who is capable of rescuing people from the brink of personal tragedy and crisis, and creating a life-affirming vision of the future. In detailing his own principles of leadership, Giuliani observed that leadership is a privilege, but it carries responsibilities − organizing around a purpose, hiring the best people for the job and ensuring they work as a team, taking calculated risks, and articulating and acting on strong beliefs and being held accountable for the results. He commented, “Leadership does not simply happen. It can be taught, learned, developed.”

    Today’s pharmacists work in many blue chip companies, health insurance companies, investment banking firms, integrated health systems, hospitals, software firms, pharmaceutical companies, medical research organizations, all branches of government and the military. It is important to learn from them by examining the leadership challenges they have faced and by evaluating how they have dealt with those challenges at different points in their careers.

    Communication Skills

    It is essential for managers to communicate their thoughts effectively to others. That is why so many job postings for pharmacist ask for candidates with strong written and verbal communication skills. In the present era as we all know the whole world has become a global village and modern marvels have made it all possible to communicate from any corner to other at any given time, in such scenario it is of utmost importance that one must master his communication skills so that he can attract, inspire and motivate the person whosoever comes in his contact to get the desired results as a leader.

    Professionalism

    In the present scenario the word ‘professionalism’, I guess is one of  the most misunderstood word after spiritualism. In India, professional is understood as being emotionless and concern free of other’s agony instead of taking it as being emotionless means not allowing your emotions to overpower you sense of duty and showing no concern to those also who are close to you as well.

     

    It is important to act in a professional manner at all times, but it is especially important when there is intense competition for health care positions at the executive level. It seems that recruiters like outgoing, friendly, well-adjusted pharmacy professionals more than those with great qualifications but less acceptable soft skills.

     

    Appearance

    There has always been a debate that ‘first impression is the last impression of the last impression is the last impression’. My take is, many a times you don’t get the chance to create the second impression so one must not casual about his appearance. It is the dress up which allows the spectator to form an opinion about you and you yourself has given this opportunity to him so the ultimate responsibility lies on your part only. It is advisable to all fresher to very attentive about the same.

     

    Etiquette

    Etiquette codifies behavior by delineating expectations for appropriate social behavior in contemporary society. Every professional is expected to exhibit proper etiquette in all aspects and places of their work, whether the boardroom, the cafeteria or at the water cooler.

    Basic expectations include:

    Address people by their name using courtesy titles, such as Mr., Mrs. or Ms.

    Establish and maintain eye contact.

    Always be polite and courteous.

    Arrive at appointments on time, or at least giving advance notice of possible lateness.

    Hold the door for others behind you.

    The point of etiquette rules is to make people feel comfortable rather than uncomfortable.

     

    Conclusion

    Pharmacists need to master a variety of soft skills as described above. Here are a few points to consider:

    Tackle tough situations head-on. Be a problem solver. Be honest if you fall short.

    Keep taking initiative.

    Be grounded and humble. Don’t forget the reason why you’re a leader.

    Always be polite and courteous. Respect the opinions of others.

    Now, it is time to ask whether you need to acquire new skills or improve existing ones.

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