The Pharmacy Chick

Flying the coup in retail

Rediscovering my fragility

Filed under: Uncategorized — pharmacychick at 7:31 pm on Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Since I have been doing this for nearly 30 years,  I know that I have become more tired…more sensitive…and less able to adapt than I was at an earlier date.  Its the main reason I cut my hours back a few years ago.  It was either that or complete mental breakdown in the pharmacy.  I smile at that statement because I would normally pride myself on my “togetherness” but the fact is that when a certain mix of things come together it makes the perfect storm and all that togetherness falls apart at the seams.  Today was that day. I discovered how broken and fragile I really am.

You might have thought it would be yesterday.  It was the day after a holiday…and the day after Labor day is usually the worst.  We used to be open on all holidays but the powers that be decided that the cost of being open compared to the measly amount of funds brought in wasn’t worth the time so they are experimenting with closing.  Thats all fine and good…we love a closed holiday, but everyone in retail pharmacy knows that there is a real Hell to pay on the day after.  I was the pharmacist on that “day after”. It became a nearly 15 hour day.  Arriving at before 7 am to find close to 180 scripts in the queue, I nearly lost my breath. but I just plugged away and getting them out of the computer and into a label format.  In the olden days of closed holidays I used to come in for a hour or two and empty the computer.  I didn’t do that this year.  Perhaps I need to think that option thru again.

By days end, we had filled nearly 40o rx. For a store that may do 500 to 700 a day, thats not much but for us, I was the only pharmacist on duty….all…day.  Every new rx, every counsel, every recommendations, every flu shot, every every every…fell on me. I came home exhausted and worked all night in my dreams.  I couldn’t even sleep it off, so when I awoke at 6 am to repeat the day ( you know…wash..rinse..repeat?).. I never felt I had left the store.  Nevertheless, the day had been a relative success.  people seemed happy and we managed to muddle thru…

Today, I had hope…there were only 40 in the queue not 140.  But the glorious spell was soon broken by the steady and unending parade of new scripts ( for some ungodly reason I am now narcotic central) and vaccinations…flu shots, Prevnar and the last minute  ” gotta get the kid vaccinated before school sends him/her home”.  The perfect storm was brewing

1. E scripts that come in at a rate faster than we can pull them out. Think FUNNEL:  you can pour in all you want… but what comes out the bottom is going to be the same no matter what is put on top….

2. Unrealistic expectations:  Impatient customers that come in BEFORE the scripts are ready….all f^&%$ing day.  ON a side note: WAITERS…most of us pharmacists really don’t like you much.  AND especially when you roll your eyes when I tell YOU that its going to be an HOUR.  I can lie and tell you 15 minutes and have you really pissed off when you come back or I can tell you the truth.  YOU PICK> This was the most stressful part of my day.  How many times can I tell people its NOT ready because THEY came in too soon.???  My tech Jesus, is a sweet little Hispanic man but trust me he doesn’t walk on water like his name sake ok? This is the single most frustrating part of the day.  Leave me alone to do my job and quit hassling me about it.  Trust me, I am not sitting here reading magazines and eating.. Im busting my chops to get everything done.

3. Transfers. I had a stack of a dozen transfers pending.

4. my blind tech who can’t find her ass with both hands.   Really, she is nice  but unless it has a light blinking on it, she can’t find a single script on the shelf unless it bites her. it makes me crazy…

5. Flu shots.  Great its Sept 9 and the world thinks that they all need their flu shot TODAY.  Has anybody looked at the weather? its 90 degrees outside. Go have some fun…please.

6 time wasting recommendations:  ” What vitamin do you recommend”.  Did it matter? because whatever I recommended, he/she next asked me “what about THIS one? I have a coupon”. I got that several times today with various recommendations.  Hey whatever makes you happy.

7.  Post holiday chronic callers: You know, I am really sorry too that your doctor took the day off Monday.  So that means that the refill you asked for on friday that needs his approval will certainly not be ready yet. Go ahead and complain TO THE DOCTOR.   I can’t answer your phone call 15 times daily to see if its ready.

and lastly 9.  The clueless insured.  I would have paid good money today to have had a simple prescription leave my hands without having to come back into my hands for some change.  she wants 90 days…he has a coupon…its like sending food back to be re done at a restaurant..its not going to happen in an instant.  I was about ready to strangle my poor tech when for the upteenth time he walked back with something someone wanted changed.

By 5 pm, I was worn and fragile.  I really couldn’t take listening to one person whine about something not ready.  I couldn’t handle telling my tech  LOOK AGAIN on the shelf, its THERE!!  I couldn’t handle  one more WHY question . The pile of unfilled scripts never seemed to get smaller.  I was broken.  At some point, this type of work environment becomes cruel and unusual punishment.  Put a gold fish into a fish bowl,  surround it with pirahanas  and see  how long it lasts.  Thats what today was.  I walked out and gave it over to the flood.  When you have nothing left but frustration and anger,  the tears are about the only thing that dilutes it.

I understand rage.  I understand why pharmacists break.  At some point the rubber band of our work environment becomes so tight that it has no choice but to break.   the company only values what you can give that makes them money.  I can die on site and they won’t matter unless it costs them money.  They want more more more with no contribution on their part. Patients say ” do more for me…”  Corporate says ” do more for me”..

I have no “more”.

6 Comments »

Comment by ti

September 9, 2015 @ 8:46 pm

I feel for you. My day was full of issues too. Capped off by the customer who calls an hour before we close to see if the rx is ready, then shows up at 2 minutes before closing. I wanted to ask if this is some sort of passive aggressive act since they do it every time. “Look at me, I have the power to make the pharmacist stay late.” Hang in there, chick. Don’t let the bastards grind you down.

Comment by Dave Given

September 9, 2015 @ 9:17 pm

You could always go back for a family reunion. Lol. Post holiday sucks in pharmacy. Period. I don’t care what people say. Wait is an hour. Deal with it or go elsewhere, which is probably an hour there, too. Most will understand if you tell them you’re trying to get 5 days of work done in 4 (with no additional help to compensate). Hang in there

Comment by Wrong Aid

September 10, 2015 @ 6:53 am

I’ve felt that way every work day for a couple years now. Every day I think is going to be the day I just walk off the job. I stay every time. I can’t take the pay cut a job switch would bring. “Hey family, we have to move cause I can’t handle the job”
The hate and rage I bring to the workplace isn’t good for anyone, customers, co-workers or me. But I really can’t contain it anymore. I desire nothing more in life than to no longer be a pharmacist. By my calculations, I might be able to give it up by 2025. I have a feeling it will be decided for me long before that though.

Comment by Wrong Aid

September 10, 2015 @ 6:55 am

Oh! What was #8? I’m guessing your boss telling you how worthless you are.

Comment by kathie

September 10, 2015 @ 3:06 pm

I felt that way too. Hellish day Tuesday (at least I had a second pharmacist and left at 4), child attitude at the house that night, Wed multiple complaints from entitled patients wanting to sit in the drive thru, medications the dr didn’t write, followed by a 10 minute diatribe from a customer about how rude I am, and how no one at her work likes me, and how many mistakes I make, etc., etc., etc. Thanks for making me feel about one inch tall everyone of those patients. At least today was much better and I had several nice conversations with patients.

Comment by The Ole' Apothecary

September 11, 2015 @ 3:22 am

Hi, PC, yes, long time, huh? There is one great thing to come out of your meltdown, and it is this post, probably your best one ever, and which I, as a pharmacist for 40 years and a retail pharmacist for the first 15, think is a classic, one that should be stuffed in the mailbox, virtual or otherwise, of everyone in the profession.

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