Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Question for the Pharmacists Out There

Are you too good for 'tech work'?

The pharmacist I worked with today bitched and moaned all day about tech work. Actually at one point he snapped at me, started yelling and mocking me, when I was offering a quick solution to a problem he was having.

See he, and a few others I work with, believe that entering prescriptions is 'tech work' and that they are above that. They believe they should be able to sit on their stool and merely check all day long.

Now I do not understand this. If I were a pharmacist, and it were not terribly busy like today, I would want to run as many prescriptions as I could in order to catch interactions, notice compliance issues and to make note of the health of my patients. Plus the way our checking system is setup, if the pharmacist does not run the script and look at the past history, he has no idea what it is as he checks it on the counter.

Instead this breed of pharmacist believes it is the technicians duty to do all of the above. Granted, I have no problem with this, but many of my co-techs are not very well versed in interactions. Hell I can't remember the last time anyone besides myself made note of an antibiotic/birth control interaction.

So I ask the other pharmacists that read this blog, what do you think? Are you above this 'tech work' even if that involves a lack of knowledge on the history of your patient? Or am I perhaps just a bit overly ambitious?


BigEvilRx said...

Can you explain the Antibiotic/Birth Control Interaction...? Does the Antibiotic inhibit the action of the Birth Control or the other way around?

BTW, sounds like that pharmacist is immature and has leadership issues. Also sounds like his parents paid his way through college.

Pharmacist Erin said...

I'm definitely NOT one of those pharmacists. In my pharmacy, the pharmacists still do 80% of the entering of Rxs and the techs count. I have co-worker pharmacists who think they are too good to count. I hate that. If it needs to get done, I'll count it. I think it shows a lack of maturity on their part.

Pharmgirl said...

The only time I've seen a pharmacist refuse to enter scripts was when she was the only RPh on duty and she didn't feel comfortable checking her own work (which makes sense to me). That guy you worked with needs a smackdown.

Me, I've been licensed less than a month; sometimes I forget I'm NOT a tech! :)

@BigEvilRx: antibiotics decrease the activity of BCPs. It's though to be a result of decreased gut flora.

Anonymous said...

I avoid counting but love imputting. I don't count often because it limits the checkpoints and eyes that see the rx. If im counting, there is no "final check" there is but its by the same eyes that filled it. So chances are if wrong once, wrong twice...I like having that extra set of eyes and me being the final checker.

Phathead said...

Probably should have clarified, I wasn't talking about counting and individual Rx, but more inputting it into the system.

Anonymous said...

Most pharmacists I work with have no issues entering scripts/counting/getting the register. The only legitimate reason I have heard was stated previously, when the pharmacist didn't feel comfortable checking her own script entry.

However, there is one floater pharmacist I have worked with that flat out stated he could not help enter/count because he "had pharmacist things to do." While in reality he sat there doing nothing (not verifying, checking, doing paper work, anything). Coincidentally, no one likes to work with him, including other pharmacists.

But for what its worth, I'm an intern and feel bad whenever the pharmacist has to come help me do "tech work"

Frantic Pharmacist said...

I have no problem at all helping out with any job if we are really swamped and everyone else is tied up. What irritates me is if I'm doing it because someone else who is supposed to... just isn't. I am totally puzzled by pharmacists who think they can just sit on their butts and have everything 'brought' to them. Luckily our computer software brings up interactions on the verification screen as well -- one of the few useful things it does..

The Ole' Apothecary said...

During the first six months of my very first pharmacist job 30 years ago, I was all alone. No technicians. I had to do it all. Even after six months, I was given only about 12 hours of tech help each week. The experience made me value the assistance of pharmacy technicians. I've never seen their work as "tech work." I've always seen it as valuable assistance that means I don't have to do everything. In the end, we all work together as a team.

Retail pharmcy is not a steady stream of applying knowledge heroically. You don't get to field significant drug interactions all day long.Rather, it is a check-and-balance station to keep the public safe from drug misadventures.

Ron said...

I am a relief pharmacist who has managed two pharmacies before deciding to go full-time relief and have worked with dozens of other pharmacists consequently, both relief and full-timers.

I would submit that those pharmacists who basically hang out and avoid doing anything other than checking deserve to get their asses kicked out the door!!! I personally fired several of them for refusing to anything to help the beleaguered techs with such daunting tasks as filing the Rxs they checked off into something resembling a numerically ordered pile of papers, or *gasp* answering the damn phone when it rings for the 5th time while all the techs are clearly occupied.

These a-holes who are fortunate to possess a pharmacy license f*** up the image of the rest of us pharmacists who ARE hard workers, team players who highly value the efforts of great techs. I hope some of you techs out there know that we are not all created equally out of school and you have just ahd the misfortune of being saddled with some shit employees who wear the white coat and think they're a gift to the store.

Just my two cents.

p.s. the active component in many birth control tablets [EE] is eliminated in bile but bacteria in the intestines, through a mechanism which you can read about elsewhere, helps to recirculate metabolites of EE (conjugates), and keep levels high enough to keep the birth control effective...due to a lack of controlled studies it's hard to guess which combo (Alesse-Minocin, Yasmin-Bactrim etc..) is a problem so I just tell all patients to get their male partners to keep it under wraps for a week after finishing the antibiotic...and yes, I document these conversations each and every time on the hard copy after each and every consultation on this unique interaction.

PharmChick said...

Sure,I answer the phone, count, input, etc when needed (I don't see how one can't when the pharmacy is getting slammed).

But the thing is, tech's are usually a hell of a lot better at many pharmacy related tasks than I'll ever be. I often find myself tempted to bow at their feet and chant "I'm not worthy," because *they* are they're the ones who can plug in ID and group #'s of any given mystery medicaid card without batting an eyelash. A good tech/ancillary is worth their weight in gold.

So, for me part of this is simply a matter of talent/resource/scope of practice-appropriate task allocation.

But perhaps a driving force behind the elitist attitudes of some pharmacists comes from the indoctrination we were all exposed to in pharmacy school. "Counting by 5's" was framed as demeaning unskilled labor, similar to production-line auto factory work in the 1940's.

Maybe it's all part of a master plan designed by insurance companies and mega retail chains to keep garden-variety pharmacists just demoralized enough to organize and effectively fight back. Sounds a little over the top, I admit. But it feels good to come up with a conspiracy theory once in a while doesn't it?

Phathead said...

Obviously this RPh is in the minority. I realize tech's are better suited at many things. I'm a whiz at figuring out insurances and such and I do not expect every RPh to be familiar with these.

I do not expect them, under any circumstance, to have to count. All I ask is that they actually do their basic job and I'm happy.

Pharmer Jane said...

I have worked in pharmacy long enough to remember when techs were barely allowed, legally, to do anything; the pharmacists entered orders, filled scripts, etc. The way my state's current practice laws are worded, I may "delegate" certain tasks to technicians, but I am still legally responsible for all of it. Since I'm legally responsible for all of it, I DO all of it. Last week, I had some spare time so I was working on some pre-pack stuff. One of my technicians came over and asked what I was doing. "Do you need a card fixed, Jane? Was something missing? I can do it." He was completely surprised that I would "stoop" to doing "tech work", since none of the other pharmacists I work with will. I rarely have time to work on the typical technician tasks, but I still make sure I know how to do them. After all, I was a tech for a long time, I still remember how shitty it felt when I was super busy and the pharmacist was doing nothing.