It was in 1974-75 when I had just joined service as Graduate Pharmacist in Govt Wenlock Hospital, Mangalore, under Government of Karnataka, when a some of the under graduate pharmacists and my counterparts in other hospitals discussed to propose to the Government to have a job chart prescribed. Till then I had no idea of a job chart or its need as Doctors, Nurses, Technicians had no such thing like a job chart. At the first instance, I wondered why at all it is needed.
My understanding was Pharmacist is a pharmacist irrespective of where he works. All jobs he does as a pharmacist in main store, Sub store, Dispensary and the then existing I V Fluids manufacturing unit are nothing but a job of a pharmacist. Why anyone should tell us what we should do? Latter with the passage of time slowly I realized the need for the job chart when I found that the hospital was using the the pharmacists mainly for services other than the pharmacy work like: Writing of OP ticket, In patient admission register, office clerical work like preparation of salary bills of the hospital staff etc. At last we succeeded in getting a Government Notification on the job chart of the pharmacist with the support of the Pharmacists Association the contents of which were latter found in the subsequently published WHO publication 'Role of Pharmacist in Healthcare'.
The situation in terms of work culture and positioning of pharmacist did not improve even after the official job chart was notified as the medical officers didn't change their attitude and mindset towards the pharmacist and majority of the pharmacists did not cultivate professional look and work culture. All these struggle with suffering had to be done only by the pharmacists on their own and none of the pharmacy institutions like Academe, Councils, national Associations like IPA, IHPA, IPGA came forward to support the cause. They were all buisy with their conferences and seminars that were and are beyond the reach of common pharmacists. Even the Pharma Regulatory sector of the Government remained mute but watchful enough to ensure the parity of their status and pay remains undisturbed.
None of the agencies mentioned above visited health sector institutions to mitigate the problem of the pharmacists. Regulatory officers were finishing their job by merely reporting that pharmacist was not found in the dispensary but silent on stores and sub-stores. Those letters had no impact as there was administrative or regulatory compulsion to comply. Even today the plight of the D Pharm and B Pharm pharmacists is very pathetic. They have no professional freedom let alone the much talked out 'Practicing' pharmacy. This is because Acts and Rules do not mandate the need of the pharmacists service in bulk management of drugs and hence such tasks are authoritatively being carried out by non-pharmacy personals like doctors clerical staff and administrators. Ofcourse Pharmacist is lending his knowledge and skill without professional authority.
Today I find a big hue and cry on placement of PharmD graduates.
Every national level Pharma agencies including the Pharma faculty members are actively canvassing and orchestrating to position the PharmD graduate in place. I don't grudge rather I appreciate. But, why this care and concern was not and is not shown to the under graduates and graduates? Why the care is not taken to ensure good professional glow and shine on the look and work culture of the pharmacy students? In what way the PharmDs look differently than the routine graduates and undergraduates?
I have seen PharmD students wearing shabby jeans, T shirts, chappals entering their class room and labs with unshaven beard, untrimmed nails - that means without any professional outlook and shine.
Can they command respect from the patients and co-professionals?
A common reply I got from the PharmDs whom I met was Sir, even our teachers also don't wear formal dress and they come to teach us in the same way as we are.
One teacher lamented that students don't heed the advice when asked to come in formal dress.
What a shocking situation? The question I foresee is will the medical officers who did not and do not allow the pharmacist to professionally manage the drugs in the hospital, accept the PharmD and allow them to handle their prescription clinically?
Can the M Pharm or PharmD function comfortably without professional support of the pharmacists down the line?
Now, lets look into admin scenario. Time and again I have been airing my observations and comments on the positioning of the pharmacists with different qualification.
Example: A 750 bedded hospital is having:
* 6 Junior Pharmacists (D Pharm),
* 4 Senior Pharmacists (D Pharm)
* 2 Graduate Pharmacist ( one B Pharm and another happens to be M Pharm)
* 1 Chief Pharmacist (B Pharm or M Pharm).
And now, the hospital appoints a PharmD graduate.
1. Who will head the Pharmacy department?
2. What would be the promotional ladder for the pharmacists including PharmD?
3. Can any program succeed without the support of the lower cadre staff and promotional incentive to them?.
4. Should the pharmacist continue to stagnate in the same entry cadre till his retirement in the way it has happened and is happening now?
a. Why any one should become a hospital pharmacist?
b. Why make anyone a hospital pharmacist to ruin his life?
A person with a general degree courses entering service at lowest step will retire as administrative officer.
But a pharmacist with D Pharm to PharmD stagnates! I am putting forth this analysis not to demotivate or discourage any one but to drive home the ground reality that needs to be addressed urgently on priority. A feasibility study and need analysis should be done before starting any major activity that too when it concerns the life of youngsters. The level and sectors to be addressed are: Academe, Regulatory, Acts and Rules, National Health Policy, Pharmacovigilance program, Health sector and drugs management, Bottomline: Lets wake up or ......
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