Magazine article Drug Topics

Filling Prescriptions at Warp Speed

Magazine article Drug Topics

Filling Prescriptions at Warp Speed

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Several years ago, I worked with a pharmacy intern in a very busy store. I often made offhand comments that the pharmacist's job is impossible. As a result, he viewed me as a complainer and a crybaby Not until he got his license and began working in that store alone did he realize the absurdity of the situation. He became one of the most vocal critics of our workload I've known.

Only pharmacists know the tremendous responsibility and burden of filling Rxs as fast as we can without adequate assistance from technicians. Each day, we have maybe 200 chances to kill someone with a misfilled Rx.

One of the biggest absurdities in life is working in stores with nonpharmacist store managers who don't have a due that each Rx we fill is a potential lawsuit-an event that can have devastating consequences for our customers and ourselves. These non-- pharmacist store managers seem to think we should sling out Rxs as quickly as McDonald's slings out burgers.

One Monday, my partner came in and said, "We were so busy Friday, I expected to get here today and find out I'd killed someone." Her statement didn't surprise anyone in the pharmacy. This is a typical comment that we hear in the pharmacy.

Customers would be shocked to hear such statements from their pharmacist. They do not realize pharmacists work each day on the brink of catastrophe. Isn't something wrong when R.Ph.s routinely talk among themselves about the ease with which we could kill someone? Yet nothing changes. If anything, conditions get worse each year.

Employers tell us they are providing us with better technology to allow us to spend more time with customers. Actually, our employers are using more technology so they can further cut pharmacy staffing. Don't kid yourselves. If employers find a way for robots to do everything we do, we're toast.

Employers wouldn't have to worry about outbidding the competition for R.Ph.s if they'd simply hire adequate techs in the pharmacy. Employers do not seem to realize that their pharmacists would be much less likely to leave for another job if they were given adequate tech staffing.

I've told every member of my family about the understaffing that is common in retail pharmacy. They always ask why an employer would run a store without adequate staffing. One of the biggest surprises for me when I became an RPh. was that understaffing is the norm. …

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