The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Baby sitter or discussion

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 6:56 pm on Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Taking the lead from Eric, Pharmacist. I am opening up for a discussion. I recently commented on another pharmacist blog and was given a bit of a chastise for referring to what I do for some customers as “babysitting”. He found that to be a “distasteful” assessment and that since I chose pharmacy, I really shouldn’t complain.  

I countered back that I do indeed have to babysit a certain patient base because they refuse or are unwilling to care for themselves and want me ( or whomever is there) to carry their load month after month.. hmmm, perhaps “sherpa” would be a better term…

Since many of you are pharmacists, how about telling me about what you think of what we do.  Where does “babysitting ” come into your workplace?  I could write for hours about  daily taking care of customer’s issues that were really never my job to do, but I do them time and time again..and the only time I get to complain about it is here…cuz its my blog and I own it!

If you dont think “babysit” is an appropriate term, offer me a better one! has one defintion of babysit as:   to take watchful responsibility for; tend:

Share time!


Comment by nordem seng

November 10, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

yes sherpa

Comment by stargirl65

November 11, 2010 @ 6:32 am

“Enabler” (definition: one who enables another to persist in self-destructive behaviour by providing excuses or by helping that individual avoid the consequences of such behavior)

as in “Ms Smith forgot her prescription once again and I enabled her to continue to be irresponsible and lazy and maybe even stupid by calling her doctor for her to get a replacement.”

“Patsy” (definition: a person who is gullible and easy to take advantage of)

as in “I am such a patsy. Every month Mr. Smith comes in with this same problem and every month I fix it for him. I think he knows that I will do it so he doesn’t even try.”

Comment by chris

November 11, 2010 @ 6:46 am

I definately agree that we are enabler using that definition. Every time we fix a problem for someone we take away the negative consequences for them, so they wont learn. I actually enjoy it when we cant help someone, we are forced to do everything in our power to help, but when you actually get the oppurtunity to tell someone “I cant help you” its very satisfying. Maybe a weekend without your pain relief will make sure you remember it next month?

On the babysitting note, we once had a woman walk into the pharmacy and then walk out again. Because of our high dispensary riser we didnt realise for about 10 minutes that she had left a baby in a pram there. She didnt return for about 40 minutes. We found a letter regarding benefits in a pocket on the pram so we phoned child services. The woman came back from the hairdresser before child services arrived, and was furious (and for some reason suprised) that we had phoned about it. This was definately babysitting.

The stupid woman actually came back a couple of months later and walked in, loudly announcing in a condecending tone, “this time I am telling you i’m leaving the pram here while i pop to the hairdressers, is that ok?”. I calmly told her that if she left withough her baby I would drive it to child services myself.

Comment by Jade

November 11, 2010 @ 7:46 am

Sherpa, as in inconspicuous but wise ‘leader’. Mainly due to the fact that a majority (as I figure I’m not in the minority), have no idea of how to ‘work’ within the system, if they’ve never been ill.

Comment by RxBoy

November 11, 2010 @ 8:47 am

Someone seriously thinks that we don’t babysit customers? They should try working in a pharmacy for a while. They need to work the Friday night shift a few times. We know the scenario. A customer walks in ten minutes before closing time on Friday night to get a medication refilled. One of two things happens. They are surprised to be told that there are no refills left or we are out of the medicine and need to order it for Monday. In either scenario we know the drill. The customer is completely out of the medicine and it is something that could cause them to die or have serious consequences if they miss even a couple of doses. I am not exaggerating, this happens rather frequently at my store. And of course the patient expects us to stay late and get them out of the mess they put themselves in. If this isn’t good enough reason for calling what we do babysitting, I don’t know what is.

Comment by nordem seng

November 11, 2010 @ 6:27 pm

enabling is what health care workers do.that is why boundaries are critical and seekers are such a challenge.

Comment by Carol

November 11, 2010 @ 7:19 pm

If the client is well and truly confused (alzheimer’s etc), I have no problem helping them. What pisses me off are the ones who refuse to take responsibility for themselves. I worked one store where occasionally the tech would hang up muttering under her breath “I’m not your momma…”. Best store I ever worked at handed problems back to the customer. Got a script from emerg with illegible dr name and no limited use code so we can’t bill your drug plan? YOU call the hospital Mrs. Jones and have them call us with the number. Or else you can pay cash…Carol, I totally agree. There is “help” as in the service part of what we do, and there is the “babysitting” or “enabling” aspect of what we do when we are taken advantage of by lazy or irresponsible people, whether it be Doctors or patients. We get used by both.

Comment by Frantic Pharmacist

November 11, 2010 @ 7:48 pm

We absolutely do babysit, every single day. I find it frustrating and depressing — not, of course, for the people who are truly unable to cope with the complexities of medication-taking, but for the much larger group that ARE perfectly capable and are suddenly as helpless as infants. I am working Thanksgiving and I am absolutely dreading what is going to be placed before me by people who couldn’t bother to plan ahead — and now it’s my problem. I think this is truly my least favorite part of this job.

Comment by loveinmyjob

November 12, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

I love the ones that come in on weekends with a bottle from their “regular” pharmacy, which happens to be closed on weekends, and expect us to “just give” them medication. WHAT!!!! I do not feel sorry for them at all. My typical answer is to have them call their doctor’s emergency line and have him paged for a new rx call-in.
My motto is “Lack of planning on your part does NOT constitute an emergency on my part.” It may sound heartless, but why should I make myself liable for someone who a) isn’t one of my regular customers or b) hasn’t bothered to plan ahead.
I also don’t give an emergency supply to my own patients if they have not consistently filled the rx. If you have been out of you blood pressure medication for 2 weeks then another 24 to 48 hours probably won’t kill you. (Well it could but my giving a few doses at that point probably wouldn’t make much difference.)
I do agree that there are some patients that I don’t mind “babysitting”. I have an AIDS patient, whom I have dealt with for years, who was not doing well at all. The disease was advanced enough that it was effecting his mind and he couldn’t remember to refill his meds. I placed all of his critical meds on auto-refill and he gets a call to come pick them up a few days before he runs out. This has made a huge difference in his condition. He has gained about 20lbs and is feeling much better. That is the kind of babysitting that I don’t mind at all. That is what I went to school for.

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