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    You're a pharmacy professional: Dress like one

    Many pharmacists still feel like the Rodney Dangerfields of healthcare. But how we are valued starts with what we show other people. JP wrote about it in “Pharmacy 101: Don’t turn off the patients.” The principle applies to professional relationships as well. 

    In my previous job as pharmacist at a small community hospital, I served as preceptor to five or six PY2 and PY4 students each year. It was a rewarding but exhausting experience, so I’m thankful that I’m not technically a preceptor in my new job, at a slightly larger community hospital. These days, I get to do some active precepting when I have the time, and I try not to miss teachable moments that pop up, but the two or three students we have each month are ultimately someone else’s responsibility.

    This has turned out to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, I can put my main focus on patient care and my own professional development. On the other hand, it means I can’t force any of these students to read the book Dress for Success.

    Yes, I realize that particular book was extremely controversial when it was first published and is now a little outdated, but I’ve yet to find any other book or approach that better expresses to students the idea that like books, we are all being judged by our covers, so to speak.

    Dress for Success used psychological studies based on actual science to determine how to best manipulate someone’s first impression of you. In short, don’t wear orange if you are appearing in court.

    Cry foul if you will, but I hold that book singularly responsible for my career trajectory.

    Kelly Howard, BS, PharmD, BCPS
    Kelly Howard is a blogger and freelance pharmacist in Southeastern North Carolina. Contact her at [email protected] or ...

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    • Anonymous
      I think how one dresses depends on where they are working. There are studies out there that show that patients react better to those they can more closely relate to or identify with as well. In other words, you wouldn't want to wear designer skirts and shoes if you work in a clinic serving the Medicaid population who is lucky to have shoes that fit. I worked in one such place for years and found that my relationships with the patients and with the physicians (who also dressed fairly casually) was just fine in my khakis. I did always wear a smock with a name badge, even on "jeans Fridays".
    • RobertDeBus
      This retired old "fuddy-duddy' could not agree more. We were told in Pharmacy 101 to dress, act, and talk like a Professional. Many younger pharmacists do not seem to have ever heard of the idea. Women (few in number when I was a student) in general seem to be worse than the men. How you talk and act at home, your social life or in your "hidaway office" does not matter, but when you are dealing with patients, dress, talk and act like an ADULT professional; not a college sophmore.
    • RobertDeBus
      This retired old "fuddy-duddy' could not agree more. We were told in Pharmacy 101 to dress, act, and talk like a Professional. Many younger pharmacists do not seem to have ever heard of the idea. Women (few in number when I was a student) in general seem to be worse than the men. How you talk and act at home, your social life or in your "hidaway office" does not matter, but when you are dealing with patients, dress, talk and act like an ADULT professional; not a college sophmore.
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