Monday, March 10, 2008

This Is Your Future Pharmacist

I have had the opportunity the last five years to work with about 30 pharmacy interns and countless other pre-pharm students. You know what I have discovered after these past five years? The system is seriously fucked. I mean royally fucked up the ass.

Of those 30 interns I have met two or three whom I could say I actually liked. Those three will make great pharmacists once they are done with school. The other 27.... well that's another story. I do not mean to come off condescending to those in pharmacy school. I have met several outside of work settings who do not meet what I'm going to bitch about here and I am not trying to single them out. This is more of a release of frustration for a system which I, and I know many many others, agree is screwed.

We have a kid working for us who was just accepted to pharmacy school. He is an extremely bright individual, I will give him that. The kinda kid who can look at a chapter once and understand it. But the kid is a complete and utter dipshit. He has worked for us for over three years and came up to me the other day and asked me if a tech could refill a prescription. How do you work in a pharmacy for three years and not pick up on this? Furthermore you ask him a question and you can literally see the synapses working in his brain as he actually receives the question. He's bright for sure, but he has no communication skills and just simply isn't that quick. I hope to God he ends up in a nuclear pharmacy (something I would assume he would excel at) and not a place which deals with a high volume of customers. This is your future pharmacist.

I have seen a fourth year discussing an antibiotic prescription with a patient. When asked what he couldn't take it with, this intern went into enzymatic reactions and actually started to draw a diagram of the molecule. I looked at the man and simply told him do not take with milk and/or dairy products. This is your future pharmacist.

There is another kid who is a first year whom I have worked with. One day I caught an error he had made and the pharmacist had thus missed, (he was a fill-in). The kid had filled Hydroxyzine 25mg (an antihistamine) with Hydralazine 25mg (a vasodilator). When I brought it to this kid's attention he just laughed it off saying that it was just a simple mistake. That is not a simple mistake. You could chalk it up to him being only a first year, but this was another kid who had been with us for a while and should have known better. This is you future pharmacist.

We have had SEVERAL interns who decided they were too good for just about everything. They were going to be pharmacists so they didn't have to put paper in the fax machine when it ran out or actually fill a prescription. These were usually the ones who went into pharmacy school namely for the money. This is your future pharmacist.

I have worked with several first and second years whom had never worked in a pharmacy before and literally knew nothing about the field. Its as if they just closed their eyes and picked a profession. These are usually the ones who are caught wide-eyed by the fact you have to deal with customers and insurances and customers and wholesalers and customers. These students can go either way, but I can only hope they can deal with the stress. This is you future pharmacist.

So where does that leave us? In my fight to get into pharmacy school I see countless kids who have 4.0 GPAs but couldn't tell a spatula from their finger get into pharmacy school. Meanwhile there are ~3.0 GPA students whom actually care about the profession, myself included, who envelope everything there is about pharmacy into their lives and they get shut out. It seems unfair to reward a student brains coming out their ass, but whom has no people skills and really is just smart, nothing else, over someone who actually cares about the industry.

I have talked to many many pharmacists (I have worked with roughly 30 in my eight years) and they all say the same thing. The general consensus is that the 'C' student during undergrad years will by far be the best pharmacist. That the selection process itself is entirely unfair and that pharmacists who are coming out of school now are not near as competent as those who came out roughly ten years ago. I know several pharmacists who fight with schools on a yearly basis to help remedy this issue.

Alas I am left to continue this fight for my dream. This entire rant was not to put down all pharmacy school students, as my disclaimer stated. This is more of a bitch about the system as a whole. I will get in at some point, I don't know when but damnit I'm not going down without a fight. Cause ya know what, I want to be your future pharmacist and I will do whatever I can to ensure that.


Grits said...

I still remember a few second or third year interns who I had to answer simple questions for. It was always priceless to see the looks on their faces when they ask "what year in pharm school are you?" and I would reply "I'm majoring in Mechanical Engineering."


Anonymous said...

ROFLMAO good one grits
that sums up his point exactly

theangryengraver said...

LOL Great post phat

Anonymous said...

Yepper, does sound like someone has 'tude. Nothing wrong with a little whine, but really, getting down on fellow students, as if the most experienced; yeah whatever? Just how old are you anyway? And, how long do you intend to live in this world (without an ulcer or heart disease) working in pharmacy--wrong time investment decision, maybe? Anyway, that's my response to the first post I came across. Probably there's better stuff in the last 50 or so, but golly!

Phathead said...

I am not concerned about getting an ulcer or heart disease because I really don't get that bent out of shape, its more frustration than anything.

And age has nothing to do with those facts. You can ask virtually any pharmacists who have been practicing for 10 years or more and they'll tell you the same thing. I am not getting down on my 'fellow students' and I even stated that there are many who will make excellent pharmacists. Its the mere fact that there are so many in pharmacy school nowadays which seem to lack the skills needed to survive in pharmacy. That in itself is sad.

The Ole' Apothecary said...

It seems as if today's pharmacy students don't think there is a practical world out there. That's bad. The pharmacy students of my time (the French and Indian War) were steeped in practicality. Heck, that's what I thought internship was all about: to expose the pharmacist-in-training to the rough and tumble of the environment he/she was about to enter. We showed ourselves to be green about the gills only at the start, but that wore off. Three years, you say? Nah, something's wrong there for sure.

Your wisdom is substantial, and I know you'll do well in the pharmacy profession.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. I'm currently in my first year of pharmacy school. I was first accepted but a grade in one class voided my enrollment. I applied three times after that and finally got on the alternate list and alas offered acceptance. I had worked in a pharmacy for a year and a half prior to beginning school in August and worked with a second year intern over the summer who would not do a fucking thing besides take up a massive amount of space in our filling area. It was not fun to get bitched at because of her mistakes or rather her lack of work altogether. At this point I wondered how it took me so long to get accepted when they already let dumbasses in. Nonetheless, I will just say that I concur that it is a massively fucked up system. Rest assured, you will get in.

Anonymous said...

You've hit the nail on the head with this one. I'm currently in pharm school and see what your talking about everyday. Students are accepted solely on academic performance and personality, which is critical in this field, goes by the wayside. The selection process along with the education breeds clinical pharmacist, however Walgreen's opens a new store every 17 hours or something like that. Good Luck in your pursuit.

Anonymous said...

The points have been mentioned have some reality. I am a witness for this facts...

Anonymous said...

Well said. I had (very) slightly above average grades pre-pharm, PCAT not great and was wait-listed. Received admission one week prior to classes starting. Was shocked that in my class there were students who bragged about their 4.0 legacies and yet, they were the clueless ones and several ended up flunking out. I worked hard in school. I am a clinical pharmacist, 2-residency, faculty member (yes, I practice daily in a hospital - not an 'ivory-tower' type) in practice over 15 years and it is frustrating to see prospective students every year who have enormous potential, but not top grades, who are not admitted. Many of the students with high GPA admitted every year at my college, have no personality whatsoever, no pharmacy work experience and while they do well in the classroom, cannot communicate with patients, cannot deal with complex situations in patient care and frankly, they scare the crap out of me. They get to their experientials and fail. Why do we do this to our profession??? I'd rather teach and mentor a student who truly loves the profession, can problem solve and is an average student, than one who can memorize anything, but can't process information or integrate it in a practical way. SIGH.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely feel your pain. I'm now a 2nd-year Pharm student in a 0-6 program. Although I'm technically in the "pre-pharmacy" bracket of the schooling, I sometimes feel that I have to work twice as hard to keep up with the other kids. When one exam is over, I begin to study for the following one (that's a month away) the next morning, while most others start a week before the test. Still, I'm content if I pass with a 70. Yet, I am one of the few kids in the class the professor knows by name. I never miss a day, I always get involved, and I sit dead center in the front. I have performed and auditioned for music and theatrical productions for a majority of my life, so confrontations and dealing with people comes easy to me, I am not one to shy from people. These next five years may not come easy to me but it is my passion. You're not alone in your endeavors, there are still some of us out there yearning for the knowledge in this profession, hoping for a bright future in our field and what it will bring.

Anonymous said...

I'm an accounting student who is seriously considering switching to pharmacy. I just have to say that after reading a few of your posts, I am now more sure than ever before that I am not suited to becoming a good pharmacist. You have made me realize the importance of certain skills which I do not possess.

Yes, I am another 4.0 GPA student that would probably just get in the way. Not because I would slack off on the job (I understand how frustrating it can be, I wouldn't do that to others) but because I do not share the passion that you (and many others) do, I was only considering pharmacy for the money. Don't worry, you won't be seeing me in the profession though. I'll stick to accounting. Your blog has been very helpful to me, and I want you, and others like you, to be able to get into pharmacy school and succeed. The patients and the passionate pharmacists don't deserve to have to deal with incompetent pharmacists who don't care for the profession.

I wish you the best of luck.

Cash Melvin said...

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