Magazine article Drug Topics

Please Pass the Sodium Chloride

Magazine article Drug Topics

Please Pass the Sodium Chloride

Article excerpt


One of the reasons many pharmacists shy away from a career in retan community pharmacy is the fact that there is no true meal break. When a team of pharmacists works together in a long-term-care or hospital setting, one of them can break away for a 30-minute meal. Not so for pharmacists who choose to work in retan; we know that we are, in most cases, the only license in the store, and we cannot lawfully leave the building.

In those circumstances, we are left to decide whether to work through a 12 -hour shift without a proper lunch or dinner break and simply munch on snacks throughout the entire day. Some pharmacists wolf down a sandwich between scripts, gambling that customers will not come upon the sight of the healthcare professional eating on the job.

The 30-minute close

One big-box company came up with the idea of closing the pharmacy for 30 minutes at lunchtime. Right in the middle of the busiest time of the day, the pharmacist is required to close the windows of the pharmacy, even if a line of patients is waiting, all with acute symptoms and needing immediate prescription service.

The moment the pharmacy closes, the staff is theoretically "off the clock" and, according to management, not permitted to assist customers, even if they merely ask where a certain OTC drug product can be found. In most cases, by the time the window is finally closed, a good portion of the 30-minute break is gone.

Is it good judgment to close for lunch? I say not. It inconveniences customers, and if all they want to do is drop the prescription off for later pickup, they will now be required to make three trips to the pharmacy. Staying open and operational all day is in the best interests of customer service.

The brown-bag solution

You can send your tech out to get you a hamburger at the nearest fast -food enterprise, but in some cases by the time you get the chance to take a few bites, it will be cold and unappetizing and maybe inedible. Most of us brown-bag it, perhaps bringing in a sandwich from home.

The aroma of peanut butter and jelly on white bread takes me right back to my early days, when I was working for the Thrift Drug Company. …

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