Facing the Reality of Job Apathy and Pharmacy Technicians


Why do I bother to come to work?  Why do I care?  Do I even make a difference or meaningful contribution to my pharmacy and patients?

If you have found yourself asking yourself these questions, you are not alone.  Apathy is an attitude as well as an emotion.  It is what we as humans can feel after repetitive work and stress, leading us to become detached emotionally from our jobs.  Apathy prevents us from caring about our work.  It can be caused by several external factors, such as poor management, strained intraprofessional relationships with co-workers, lack of recognition, and any roadblock we face to work to full scope.

The threat of demotivation can be a constant struggle for many in our profession.  The danger?  How can we expect pharmacy technicians to advocate when across our province this is what is faced?

We recognize that this is an issue.  Now what?

Seek support. 

We all need help.  It should preferably come from others that have a base understanding of your situation.  Use PTSA as a tool to help you become connected with other pharmacy technicians.  Networking can occur through participation in conferences, education events, and volunteering.  Build relationships and have regular conversations with your support.  It can be tempting to isolate yourself and push through things on your own.  Finding internal motivation will be more difficult when you are in the middle of things.

Identify in what ways you are struggling and make a plan for realistic solutions.

Pulling from nerdy pop-culture here, we could really use that infinity gauntlet.  One snap of the fingers, every pharmacy is consistently operating with pharmacy technicians implemented into full scope.

We know that every pharmacy across Alberta is different.  That means, that there are issues that may be similar but will ultimately be unique to us individually.  Take time for personal reflection to find the issues that are affecting your practice the most.

Unfortunately, once you do find the issues, it will be immediately recognized what the barriers are.  Separate between what you have the ability to change and what you cannot.

Find your “WHY”.

Do you remember what it was that drew you to choose this profession?  What is it that you hope to accomplish and leaves you with a sense of purpose?  Only you can answer this for yourself.

Make goals with deadlines.

Anybody who is registered with the Alberta College of Pharmacy knows what a SMART goal is.  Giving yourself a deadline forces you to be accountable to get it done.  Your goal should be in some way connected with your “why.”  If you struggle with this, don’t be afraid to give yourself easier goals and work up to more challenging ones.

Do not give up.

You are not a failure if you keep trying.  Remember earlier, apathy is an attitude and emotion?  This means we have to change ourselves to be hopeful and lose our cynicism.  This is easier said than done.  Lean onto your support when you feel you at risk for throwing in the towel.  Change perspective, try something that you haven’t done before.  Realize that sometimes, even when it feels like no progress was made, you have planted the beginnings of something.  Mistakes will happen on the way and not all of your intentions will be understood or come out the way you intended them to.

In order for PTSA to succeed, we need our members to be passionate about the profession.  Any form of participation in our organization moves us all forward.  As the current president, I hope each of you feels valued as a health professional.  This coming year, I hope we become more connected and we can help each other stave off work-related apathy.

By: Morgan Lahl R.Ph.T. PTSA President

2 replies on “Facing the Reality of Job Apathy and Pharmacy Technicians”

Jenn Beansays:

Great article,
You need to remember your why for becoming involved and to find those that are like minded and share and support your passions.
The great thing about Pharmacy is that there are many areas to consider if you don’t like your current practice. We are fortunate to work in a province that has such a broad scope of practice for Pharmacists, which then opens the door for us to spread our wings!


Great read!! I think this is something we all face as healthcare providers – and it isn’t discussed enough. Thank you for sharing, Morgan!

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