Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Lowly Pharmacy Drone

8:54am - Open the door to the pharmacy. Notice vial bins are almost empty, drug bottles are still on the counter, garbage bins are full and dishes from last nights dinner are on the pharmacy counter.

9:10am - First round of phone calls and faxes begin. Soon there are sixty prescriptions to be processed. Still working on cleaning up the pharmacy

10:23am - Filled count hits 100, still haven't been able to fill the vial bins. Robot starts dinging letting you know it's out of a drug. You then notice that last night no one took the time to do a robot order. You will be hearing this ding many more times during the day.

10:48am - Your co-tech is with you now, helping and hindering you along. They don't really know how to process every thing which leaves you to run the scripts.

11:13am - After kicking out another fifty scripts you look over and your co-tech is nowhere to be seen. The fifty scripts you've been running for the last twenty minutes lie in a pile untouched. Yet you continue on.

11:31am - The scripts still aren't filled, so you stop to go fill them. You see your co-tech grabbing the order. It consists of one small tote and a refrigerated tote. Obviously a small order.

12:18pm - Co-tech is still checking in the order for some reason. When going to fill an Oxycontin script you notice the inventory is off by 23 tablets. You then sigh and mark off yet another page in the C-II book to look into the next time you have a free moment... whenever that may be

12:41pm - Will filling a script the RPh filled, you notice the script called for Clonazepam 2mg #90 PRN x 1 Year. You then notice the RPh gave it PRN x 1 Year refills. When you question it he responds, "Well I don't agree with that law so I'm not going to follow it."

1:30pm - You glance at the clock wondering if you have time to take a piss. Script count is at 200 and your co-tech is STILL putting away the order. The one plus is you finally found a free minute to fill the vial bins, but only because you ran out.

1:58pm - Your robot has a queue backlog of 11 prescriptions that cannot be filled because you are out of various drugs.

2:04pm - Your co-tech has finally finished the order and is helping you fill prescriptions. The counter is full however and instead of checking them the RPh is sitting on the computer reading the news.

2:56pm - You get called 'a fucking racist homo who's mother should have had an abortion' because you won't fill his Hydrocodone sixteen days early. The RPh then steps in, overrides you, and fills it anyway.

3:22pm - Co-tech is missing again, probably wondering the aisles. You then get back to back to back to back orders of fourteen refills for four different patients. You grit your teeth and continue on.

3:41pm - When scrounging for perhaps one bottle of Atenolol 50mg, you notice your co-tech only put the order away and didn't put it in the computer. Joy.

4:01pm - Your clerk decides that the alphabet is too difficult and proceeds to ask you where each patients prescription is when they come to the counter. Sadly you realize that outside of the pharmacy there are no workers with even a GED.

4:22pm - Almost time to go and you realize you haven't eaten, gone to the bathroom and you still have to do a robot order. And you can't forget the ten new C-II scripts that you've been putting off all day

5:04pm - You should be gone, but instead you stick it out in the hopes that maybe you can make a little headway

5:40pm - Your co-tech has left as they do not stay longer past their scheduled time. You watch as the RPh 'spots' someone sixty methadone 10mg tablets 'until their script comes in the mail'.

6:11pm - You are finally leaving the pharmacy when you ponder how tomorrow's tech's will have a pharmacy with fully stocked drugs and vials, empty garbage bins and a clean counter. Then you wonder why you do such a thing when they won't repay you with the same.


This is a day in the life of my job. I do this at least four times a week. There was no exaggeration in this at all, this is what my day was like today. Sadly this was a pretty decent day. I think I'm starting to get burnt out on this bullshit...


Anonymous said...

What kind of pharmacist do you work with?

BlondeCPHT said...

I'm sorry, I always try to refill the vials and lids at the end of my shift before I leave....And my pharmacy is always out of the meds we need too.... hope it gets better

Phathead said...

Anon - Due to the nature of the organization I work for we know employ some of the worst pharmacists one could possibly imagine. The sad thing is, this wasn't even the worst pharmacist I work with.

Death of Houseplants said...

I think I work with your other tech. Mine sees the order, and the person at the drive-thru, and the pharmacist and I running in three directions and still just rearranges the waiting bin.

BigEvilRx said...

Question for you. Is that robot a metaphorical robot, or do you actually have one of those VA machines that dispenses the pills for you.

Anonymous said...

Phathead, your pharmacy sounds pretty bad to me. So why do you still work there? I like the stories you get from working there but is it worth it?

Phathead said...

BER - It's a ScriptPro 200, probably the best damned thing in the pharmacy

Anon - It's a lack of options. Walgreen's only really hires interns for techs in our area and we're are completely oversaturated with college students. I'm talking three large universities in an area with maybe 150,000 people, not including the smaller 2-year schools. I'd have a hard time making enough money to pay bills at any other job since most start out at min wage. I know that within a year I'll be gone and I can at least make note of all the wrong things to do in a pharmacy. It is very very exhausting though.

Anonymous said...

Are you the tech, or the student?

Geez, your situation just sounds rotten all the way around.

I work as a day temp, and I hear stories sometimes about others (I never meet any of the other temps since the company has really scrounged before they come to me) and I would 'literally' (or is it figuratively?) kill someone if I had to work that hard and no one else was pulling their weight, 'course, I'm the pharmacist, and if I told someone to get out, they would have to do it, but reading a newspaper .. c'mon. Some of the jobs I fill in, there is nothing even to sit down on, except for the stepstool, or the floor, or toilet.

Brinton Hester said...

Pardon my ignorance, but what's an RPh? Sounds like a complete idiot.

BigEvilRx said...

Registered Pharmacist

Phathead said...

anon - I'm a certified tech at the moment.

When I explain the situation and then say I have no other options, most people call bullshit. But they don't understand that in order to get into pharm school I need to keep working in a pharmacy. I don't have the greatest grades in the world, so I'm going to be using my experience as an example. Puts me between a rock and a hard place.

Frantic Pharmacist said...

I like the ScriptPro too, but it does require maintenance and babysitting. I am so sick and tired of people who don't do their jobs. I do appreciate people like you that take the initiative and just DO it. It really doesn't matter where you work, there will always be the bad and the good.

Anonymous said...

(I'm the guy who asked you why you're still working there)

That clears up a lot of things for me. I like your stories but I eventually started to wonder why the hell you're still working there.
Can I ask you what your grades are and where you're applying? Also, why do you need to keep working there to get into pharmacy school? You need to or would it just improve your chances if you did continue?

jmw6ttt said...

omgsh...i would absolutely die if my pharmacist filled hydrocodone that early OR spot a cII to someone...wow.

oleapothecary said...

I realize I came in late on this blogpost by about nine months, but, bravo---excellent description of your experience. But, tell the fellow who disagrees with the Controlled Substances Act that his actions as result of that disagreement may get him into official disciplinary difficulty with his board of pharmacy.

Anonymous said...

omg. This sounds just like my job. Sooo sick of doing mundane jobs like emptying bins, sorting returned drugs, filling up tablet cartons etc - why is everyone else incapable??? My pharmacist will happily label but can't dispense - even if I'm busy on phone or dispensing mds - I get yelled to dispense like 1 x Ventolin evohaler. seriously?? Also, have responsibility for all methadone scripts - dispensing, writing up, ordering and running down stairs to supervise to over 50 addicts.

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog and I love it! I am a PharmTech and a pharmacy school hopeful. Good luck with everything =)

Anonymous said...

Try living in Afghanistan for a year.