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August 1998 / Special Feature : An Issue Of Trust

An Issue Of Trust

In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

All You Ever Really Need To Know About Trust You Learned In Kindergarten

Furnishing Trust And Empowerment

Eight Organizational Strategies That Build Trust

Trust In Whom

by Peter Block
Trust Columns
John Schuster

Cliff Bolster
Joel Henning
Dan Oestreich
Felicia Seaton-Williams
Trust Interviews
Trapeze Artist
Emergency Room Physician

Air Traffic Controller
Police Officer
Park Ranger


Brief Cases
Business News

Book Review


Your #1 Man To Trust
A Prescription on Trust

Joseph Carter didn’t begin college pursuing a pharmacy degree. He started at Ohio University in chemical engineering and soon realized his need to directly help people on a daily basis. “I wanted a concrete relationship with people.” An intricate part of this relationship is trust.
In a recent Gallop poll the number one person people trusted was their pharmacist. Carter graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy. Currently, he can be found at the Meijer Pharmacy in Toledo, Ohio.

What is trust?
Trust is knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that you can depend on someone and never once question their credibility or motivation. It is knowing that someone really cares about your own personal well—being and safety.

What role does trust play in your profession?
They probably talk to me, as their medical professional, much more than their doctor or nurse. I come off more as an equal. I’m easier to talk to because I am in their setting and readily available. I am part of their comfort zone.

Pharmacies are very busy places and this can become a barrier between the pharmacist and the customer. And most people are not trusting right off the bat. It takes time. All trust is built. I don’t want to break it because its very hard to retrieve. I take that extra minute to find something out about the customer or answer a question that they may have. It’s about courtesy and being nice to people. It’s truly a people profession.

Without trust, what consequences/situations would you face?
Constant scrutiny of your performance. If my customers didn’t trust me, they’d go elsewhere—no questions asked. They want their prescriptions correct.

Trust is something that is gained over time and sometimes I struggle with why people trust their pharmacists so much. After all, we are human and we make mistakes.

How do you build trust?
It’s time after time after time—being consistent and never letting that down. It’s also so important to just be friendly and courteous to people. In my profession, there are times when things get very stressful and you have to keep telling yourself, your customers don’t want to see that. Many times they are in a very vulnerable state and that could be the reason they are so trustworthy. They need to be told they’re not alone, other people have had similar symptoms. They need to be told exactly what directions to follow and above all they need reinforcement that everything will be okay.

Can trust be repaired? If so, how?
Yes. The very first year I began working at the pharmacy, I made an error in the dosage for a young child. I had prescribed too much iron in too short of a time frame. The mother came in to refill the prescription and I immediately knew she was coming in too soon. I checked the prescription and saw that I had written it incorrectly. I checked the dosage chart and found that luckily it was still in therapeutic range—high but still within range. I informed the mother of my mistake and she was very upset, rightfully so. I called their doctor and he told me to send the child to the ER immediately. Luckily, no damage had occurred. She came back into the store later that evening to tell me how upset she was. She had been a customer for several months and I had broken her trust. I apologized over and over—I truly did feel horrible.

For the next several days, I called their home and asked how the boy was doing and if there was anything I could do to help. I was really broken up about this. I had one of the other pharmacists call on my day off for more reinforcement of just how awful I felt.
A few weeks went by and the mother came back in to refill another prescription. She was very pleasant and said that she felt that I really did care about what happened to her son. She appreciated my honesty and added, “Even pharmacists are human.”

August '98 News for a Change | Email Editor

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