Sunday, September 25, 2011

Gatekeeper of the Drugs

I answered the phone yesterday and talked with one patient who had had a Dr. call in a pain medication.  They had called to let us know that someone else would be picking up their medication because they were in too much pain to drive.

I relayed this information to the pharmacist who said, "Well, on their profile it says that only themselves and Erik are allowed pick up medication."  I was a good messenger and told the patient this, who replied, "Well, Erik is in pain as well and is not able to travel."  At this point, the pharmacist wanted to speak with them.

The pharmacist explained to the patient that since they put in a comment on their profile saying that only Erik could pick up their medicines, then we could really only relinquish them to Erik.  However, if this new person brought in the patient's ID, then we would happily give over the medication.  Oh, and we would need to take the comment out of their profile.

"Why take that out?!  I never told you to put that comment in there!"

"Yes you did.  I remember because it was when you were taking norco.  You didn't want others to be able to have access to your prescriptions."

"Well, I'm telling you now that someone else can pick them up!  Isn't that good enough?"

"Well, actually, I can't tell if this is actually you on the phone.  Anyone can call into the pharmacy.  Until you personally come into the pharmacy and change the comment, I'm going to delete it off of your profile.  I can't have you say, 'Lisa is good today to come in for me' and the next 'Todd cannot pick up anything!' and then change it every week."

"I've never had this issue before in Utah."

"It's for your own protection, sir.  You can either have everyone have access to your prescriptions, or no one at this point."

"Now listen here lady... *curse words*"

And after that the pharmacist told them to find another pharmacy because they would not be cussed at, and simply hung up.

I can understand both sides, but was it really necessary to start cussing?  In pain or not, that's unacceptable.

I am not a confrontational person whatsoever, so I worry that I've chosen the wrong profession.  I suppose there's confrontation in every profession, however.  Perhaps I can be a mail-order pharmacist.  From what I hear you don't have to deal face-to-face with customers ever.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tests and Such

Welp, I've now been broken into pharmacy school.  And I've been broken hard...

I had 2 tests last week - on the same day.  And then 2 more tests this week, also on the same day.  Lovely.

I did decently well in most of them, a B here and there and what have you.

Then.  Well.  Then, there was pharmacy law and immunology.

The pharmacy law class is a joke.  The information that we're learning is how many prescriptions were filled back in 2009, what the price of a prescription was, and how every other leading world country is beating us in the health care game.  That's great and all, but when you say you're going to test on trends, don't pull out a "I, II, III; I and II only; none of the above" question on specific statistics.  That just begs for most people to fail.

I kid you not, someone made a 45% on this test.  I squeaked by with a decent 75%.  Not my best, but that wasn't the worst...

Immunology was also super difficult.  I've heard where some people made 20% on the multiple choice portion, but fear not!  They have the opportunity to get 20 more points from fill in the blanks.  So yes.  They may be able to raise that 20% to a 40%!  Holy crap!

I have a 57% right now on the multiple choice.  Wonderful.

In other news: my significant other is starting a new job in a week!  They're moving a few more states down south, so I'll have a nice vacation spot in the winter!

I may need to start wearing my white coat at work.  My superiors have let me start taking prescriptions off of the voice mail, and man, doctors and nurses can talk quickly.  Consulting people about medications scares the crap out of me, however.  Once you put on that coat everyone expects you to know everything about medicine.

I suppose that's why they would call it "practicing."

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Should Have Called Me...

I am exhausted.  I worked today and we were able to fill 381 scripts.  That may not sound like much for the macho pharmacies, but for one that usually fills ~250, it was a lot.

After class I walked into the pharmacy hearing this:

"You should have called me!"

Oh noes.  What happened?  Did we fill for the wrong drug?  Wrong strength?  Wrong amount?  Used an old insurance?

No, the patient was upset because we should have called them to let them know we were out of a medication and it wouldn't be delivered until tomorrow.  All well and good, except....

  • They had transferred this prescription from another pharmacy
  • We had never filled anything for them before and therefore we had no profile for them
  • We had no phone number for the patient
  • We had told the pharmacist at the transferring store that we did NOT have this medication in stock
The patient claims that we need to reimburse them for EVERYTHING.  They said that we should have called them, but how could we do that?  Why would they want to transfer their medicine without verifying that another store has it in stock?  Why didn't the transferring pharmacist explain that we didn't have it?

It just sucked 15 minutes out of our productivity.  We were able to find the patient a "partial fill" at a local store, but they're still going to transfer it back to stay with us.

I feel so loved.

Then for the next 20 minutes all anyone talked about was that patient, further sucking out productivity.  I sometimes feel like everyone is moving through molasses, taking their sweet time.

One patient waited 1.5 hours for their lortab.  They sat so patiently.  I kept waiting for the script to come up to be filled, but to no avail: it was stuck in troubleshoot.  I finally asked the pharmacist why and they said it was because it didn't have the patient's address written on the prescription.

I went out to them and wrote it down.  The medicine was done within 10 minutes (super busy night).

My store has a rule that if is a controlled substance we have to write down the patient's address on the hardcopy of the prescription.  That's fine, I understand (to an extent) the reasoning behind this precaution.

However, write a note in the computer SAYING WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE PRESCRIPTION and don't make a poor person in pain wait for 1.5 hours for their medication.

Also today in class we talked about why the pharmacist shortage is essentially coming to an end, but we'll save that talk for a later day.  I have 2 tests and 2 quizzes to study for...