Thursday, February 23, 2012

Nursing Versus Pharmacy

If you've been practicing what's left of your profession in the hospital setting for a while, then you've likely come to realize that nursing garners much of the decision-making power. They run the show from top to bottom. In my long itinerant career, I've even worked in a few hospitals where most of the hospital executives were former nurses. They don't forget where they came from and almost always strongly support the nurses in the trenches, sometimes at expense of other departments.

During that same period of time, you've probably also noticed that pharmacy has lost much of it's decision-making capabilities in the hospital setting. They don't have the same amount of power the used to have 15-20 years ago. As a matter of fact, I've even worked in a couple of for-profit hospitals where the pharmacy director has been replaced with a non-pharmacist.

That's right. Just like chain pharmacies and the PBMs, pharmacists working in hospitals often have to answer to non-pharmacist supervisors. As crazy as it may sound, in my career, I've had to answer to pharmacy technicians, radiology technicians, and even business majors who were put in charge of the pharmacy departments (directly and indirectly).

So, any pharmacists left running the pharmacy departments in hospitals sometimes have to resort to using rhetoric, flattery, ass-kissing, or some other type of bullshit rap to get what they want. If they're up against a nursing department who wants something differently, chances are they're going to lose.

But, don't just take my word for it.

I just happened to find video of our hospital's pharmacy and nursing directors arguing over the use of technology in reducing personnel costs, and showing who's really got the power. Just notice who's smiling, dancing, and sarcastically telling the frustrated pharmacist "Yeah, you're breaking my heart".

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