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There is a great number of professional fields where specialists are supposed to work with other people and provide them with support. Working with people, it is extremely important to be able to take into consideration specificities related to the field and other things that may be important for particular clients. Speaking about communication skills, it is necessary to pay increased attention to the profession of pharmacist. In order to work with their clients in an effective way, they have to possess a wide range of personal qualities and communication skills. It is common knowledge that the ability to provide the clients with the help is regarded as their primary task. Nevertheless, pharmacists may also need to consult the client’s relatives or cooperate with other healthcare specialists. Considering specific situations that occur during the work, there is a great number of communication skills that may be required.
To begin with, there are many opinions on certain communication skills that may be regarded as the most important for those who work as pharmacists. Reflecting on the role of good communication skills for pharmacists, many authors agree that it cannot be overestimated. There is no doubt that proper communication helps to improve the state of health of clients and provide them with moral support. Speaking about the particular communication skills that are essential for the specialist, it is important to remember about the pharmacist’s ability to concentrate on the specific needs of the client.1(p 14)
In this case, the clients should believe that they are the center of attention. To continue, another skill that has to be paid attention to is the specialist’s ability to motivate the client to comply with the instructions provided by other health specialists. This goal may be achieved with the help of different means. For example, a pharmacist may attract the attention of the customer to the consequences of drug abuse and misuse. At the same time, the specialist should make the statement using proper words and intonation patterns. The word choice and the use of intonation are important because any skilled specialist related to healthcare and medicine should sound polite during the conversation with people who need help. Considering the importance of words and their meanings that may sometimes be understood unclearly, it is necessary for any pharmacist to be proficient in the official language of the country where he or she works. Speaking skills are extremely significant because effective oral communication is the tool that may help the pharmacist to obtain necessary information concerning the client’s needs, attitudes, and specific problems.
There is no doubt that verbal communication is very important for those specialists related to the sphere of pharmacy. Moreover, it is necessary to remember that any pharmacist has to communicate with people who belong to other cultures. There is a great difference between certain nations; due to that, it is also important for the pharmacist to be able to address the challenges related to possible misunderstanding. Working with clients who belong to racial and ethnic minorities of the country, the pharmacist has to pay attention to specific problems faced by the group and show a willingness to help the client to address the challenge. There are many cases when it is extremely difficult for clients belonging to specific groups to explain what they need. In this case, the pharmacist has to be very good at listening and responding because communication with a foreigner is impossible without being extremely attentive. 2(p 127)
Besides listening and speaking skills, all the specialists in the field who would like to be able to work with clients in an effective way have to pay attention to non-verbal communication. This type of communication is important because it allows the specialist to impress clients favorably. Although conducting consultations related to different drugs and proper medicamentous therapy is the primary task of any pharmacist, it is also important to pay attention to emotional reactions demonstrated by clients. Due to the ability to work with non-verbal signs, pharmacists may show that they respect the clients and are ready to do their best to help them.
Therefore, it may be stated that the ability to see and interpret non-verbal signs used by the client or other healthcare specialists is an important skill for pharmacists. 3(p 756) The issue is even more important if we talk about the situation when it is difficult for specialists and clients to understand each other due to the linguistic barrier that exists between them. In general, non-verbal communication skills are important for pharmacist because the proper use of facial expressions, gestures, hand signs, and body postures allow the specialist to encourage the clients to speak about any problems and concerns that they have. As for the ability to interpret clients’ signs, it may help to notice their discontent and provide them with better solutions.
In the end, there are a lot of communication skills that are essential for pharmacists. They include verbal communication skills such as the ability to listen to the client carefully and put ideas into words. Moreover, it is also necessary for pharmacists to be able to understand and use a wide range of non-verbal signs. Possessing the skills mentioned, these specialists can fulfill their tasks properly and be able to get across to any client.
Kerr A, Strawbridge J, Kelleher C, et al. How can pharmacists develop patient-pharmacist communication skills? A realist review protocol. Systematic Reviews, 2017; 6(1): 14.
Kim-Romo DN, Barner JC, Brown CM, et al. Spanish-speaking patients’ satisfaction with clinical pharmacists’ communication skills and demonstration of cultural sensitivity. Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, 2014; 54(2): 121-129.
Stevenson F. Achieving visibility? Use of non-verbal communication in interactions between patients and pharmacists who do not share a common language. Sociology of Health & Illness, 2014; 36(5): 756-771.