Retail drugstore companies continue to ask pharmacists to perform more and higher-acuity services while, simultaneously, staffing issues are forcing them to reduce hours of operation and, with that, accessibility to patients. It seems clear there’s a chasm between corporate expectations and the training pharmacists have undergone in order to become the experts they are in pharmacology—which decidedly does not include conducting exams and diagnosing illness. A nonscientific review of mainstream media coverage indicates that nearly three quarters of pharmacies are experiencing supply chain issues, resulting in out-of-stock items, and that 41% of independent pharmacies are having financial troubles. Meanwhile, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts there will be a 2% decline in total U.S. pharmacists over the next decade. So, regardless of how much more corporate management demands of their pharmacists, it’s likely there will simply be not enough hours or hands on deck to accommodate those demands. Recognizing that patient needs are not going to diminish, it’s essential that urgent care operators shore up referral relationships with their local drugstores. Read Building Urgent Care Referral Relationships: Pharmacies and Retail Host Clinics in the JUCM archive for helpful tips.
Low Staffing and High Demand Leave Retail Pharmacists—and Patients—in a Bind