Monday, February 7, 2011

A Cavet of Knowing the Inner Details of the Profession

I have an exam later tonight on pharmacy systems. When we first started these classes I was ecstatic because, as some of you may have gathered, between my business background and my experience, I know how and why pharmacies work and function quite well.

I've studied CQI, the various ISOs and I've seen every flavor of community pharmacy (the main focus of the course) that there is. It should be a cinch right?

Nope. Not at all.

You see, I know too much. How can that be? I shall explain.

The first exam we had in this type of course way back in September was about the economics of pharmacy. I had taken many Econ classes during my undergrad and feel like I have a rather good understanding of the topic. On the exam though... that was another story.

I lost numerous points because either my thought process went beyond the scope of the problem, even though it was completely correct and that they did not define the scope, or that I understood the topic better than the TA who did not understand what I was saying.

It was immensely frustrating, and alas that has been the theme for the rest of the course.

Tonight's though could be far worse. You see, the material we have been given is, at best, five years out of date. Our text talks about the 'new' use of PDAs in health care, or how eRxs are going to take off.

One of our readings is an analysis of the functions of the pharmacy... only it states that one of the problems they recognized is that pharmacists do 95% of data entry and 50% of filling. The article is twenty years old.

For the most part, this isn't the fault of the course or the professor. It is such a fluid topic, that it is hard to devise a textbook or lecture set that is current. I completely and totally understand that.

But I will be going into a test today with the knowledge that I need to dumb down my answers. I can't sit down and study a lot of this information because I know it's wrong. It's a very unusual position to be in, and a very frustrating position to be in.

To state a quote that my wife hates, it is what it is... isn't it?


Anonymous said...

I think, ime, a lot of it is the fault of the professors. So many of them are out of touch with the actual profession.

I come from an IT background and had never stepped foot in a pharmacy until my second year. I learned so much BS in school about what pharmacists and the practice of pharmacy actually was...and I think the professor believed it. We had one guy our third year who basically told us pharmacy was crap, and needed to be changed. I think he was the only honest one.

Anonymous said...

I am waiting to hear what Dr. Grumpy has to say about this.

Frantic Pharmacist said...

There are times when you'll just have to play along....If you're a fan of Rodney Dangerfield's "Back to School" (and I KNOW that you are!)
just think of yourself as Thornton Mellon sitting in economics class..

Anonymous said...

I remember in dispensing lab in the early 80's the drugs were arranged by manufacturer. Generics were just starting to take off, and we were starting to focus more on SARs, kinetics, etc. that it seemed ridiculous to learn the whole gamut of Syntex, Upjohn, Pfizer, etc. products. There was even talk of pride in learning to identify tablets or capsules by their shape or unique markings, etc. Like how could anyone misidentify the scarlet orange of Darvocet? But, it was all part of 'knowing' about the things we were dealing with.

In any case, Phat should make a good case for getting a better grade in the class than what's on the tests, if the grade is important. Seems to me that's part of pharmacy, too--learning how to stand up for oneself for what is right. Heavens knows, we've rolled over and played 'dead' for long enough!

PharmStudentP4 said...

Not the fault of the professor?

He has access to pub-med...why can't he pull articles from 'Health Affairs', 'Journal of Managed Care Pharmacy' and other publications and assign reading assignments relevant to what is going on in today's pharmacy practice.

The course sounds like bullshit to me and the professor sounds lazy. Pharmacoeconomics and Pharmacy Informatics is a dynamic field, a text book is not needed. What is needed is a competent professor who knows what is going on in the world of health care delivery and pharmacies role.

Tell your professor to get a subscription to some relevant journals and stop wasting your time. You pay a lot of money, so get your money's worth!

Anonymous said...

I am currently a P3 in Tx...what pharm school do you attend? you do not have to answer if you do not want to...thanks

DisasterCh1ck said...


to mis-quote Dan Savage, it gets better.

I'm an old (BSP) pharmacist. At least now you've got Medline and the whole up-to-date access to the medical literature - your more advanced classes won't rely on a textbook, they'll ask you to search the primary literature.

As a new grad, I got chewed out by a doctor for providing old, outdated information. I was grateful that she took the time to educate me in the current practice. My only excuse was that I told the patient what I had learned in school. That's no excuse anymore.