Don’t Blame the Person

pills

I only spent a half an hour behind the scenes at the pharmacy but in that time, there were several “errors.” Pill bottles dropped on the floor, several people bumped into one another, too many pills were poured out of the bottle which made counting more difficult. All within an environment with already heightened stress levels. Every Pharm. Tech tried their best to correct the “errors” as they came. But, these are all products of the environment and not of the people.

Every one of the errors can be consistently avoided, and “better training” is not the answer (I’ve been told this is the root cause of many things – which is WRONG, wrong, wrong, “training” is almost never the answer). The work station where the person dropped the bottles on the floor was much too small for the task they were performing. People bumped into one another because the aisles in the Pharmacy are so tiny. And pouring too many pills was a result of rushing, a cramped workspace, and a very large bottle of pills. All making dexterity difficult.

Through all my experiences, techs and operators – the people who actually carry out the tasks, make a lot of decisions on their own in order get the job done. Even if it makes their job 10 times harder, they will figure out how to move or “deal with” the obstacle to continue working. This is a terrible work environment and things can be so much better! But the people doing the work don’t always have the perspective or, more likely, don’t have the support from management to improve anything. Management must engage with the people on the floor – hear their input and observe their problems. That is key to a better workplace.

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