I recently commented on a LinkedIn post that urged L&D professionals to stop being pharmacists and dispensing treatment when they should be focused on diagnosis.
It’s a point of view we hear regularly, and of course, diagnosing the issue BEFORE providing a solution is absolutely the right thing to do.
But my point was that we need pharmacists. They exist for a reason. They provide a valuable service. They allow doctors to diagnose and recommend treatment, but not spend their time in delivering the treatment. They make sure they treatment is provided safely and (in some cases) recommend alternatives.
Pharmacists know a lot more about the way drugs work than doctors. They are specialists in their field. Doctors are specialists in theirs. They work together to treat patients.
The average salary of a pharmacist is £43,000. The average salary for a doctor is £54,000. Not a million miles away from each other indicating that they are broadly comparable in value.
As an external provider, I play the pharmacist more often than not. My client – the internal L&D manager has done the diagnosis – they often don’t have the time, expertise or inclination to provide the treatment. They want to entrust that to someone else so they can move onto diagnosing the next issue and managing the broader situation. They want to hand over to an expert in their field and know that everything will be OK.
If everyone went around diagnosing and not following up with treatment, no-one would get better. Just as if we keep supplying paracetamol for an undiagnosed pain.
L&D professionals play multiple roles. Sometimes we are true consultants, researching and digging into the issues. Analysing the data, interviewing and observing people, researching the issues. Sometimes we are providers, actually designing a piece of learning, facilitating a workshop or having those coaching conversations.
One is not more important than the other.
Don’t beat yourself up if you provide training solutions. You’re making a difference.