Magazine article Drug Topics

Stress Test

Magazine article Drug Topics

Stress Test

Article excerpt

Union surveys

R.Ph.s on

workload and

Rx errors

Having fielded member complaints about stress on the job, a pharmacists' union has surveyed all R.Ph.s in Caliornia and Oregon to put some heat on pharmacy boards nationwide to come up with some solutions to a growing problem.

Pharmacists in all practice settings are increasingly under the hammer and making more mistakes, according to preliminary results of a four-page questionnaire mailed early last month to 23,000 R.Ph.s by the Guild for Professional Pharmacists. An independent union with R.Ph. and pharmacy intern members in California, Michigan, and Oregon, the guild decided to put some hard numbers behind pharmacists' complaints about working conditions, stress levels, and error rates. The final tally will be presented to every state pharmacy board.

Early results from the survey show hospital pharmacists reporting error rates in the range of 200 per 1,000 prescriptions. The error rate in community pharmacies is about one in 500 Rxs that actually reach the patient. "We're talking about a tremendous amount of errors," said Ralph Vogel, guild president, who noted that about 50 completed surveys are coming into the Woodland Hills, Calif., headquarters daily. "I think the inpatient pharmacists are reading the errors differently than the survey question. My guess is that the techs take the orders, transcribe them into the computer, fill the meds, and then the pharmacist checks them. They can't be talking about the [errors] that get to the patient or we're all in trouble. …

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