Friday, June 20, 2014

Schedule! If you are in charge of one, you know what I'm talking about.

Anyone that in charge of the schedule for a business will tell you it is one of the hardest jobs or aspects of their job. Everyone has their own schedule that they have to deal with in life. You have to run these errands today, pay these bills tomorrow, and when am I going to meet up with friends or family. Longer term schedules like when are we going to take a vacation, graduate or look for a new job. Schedules are all around us. We are constantly looking at our schedules.

When you are in charge of the schedule for your company or business, it is really difficult to schedule everyone around their schedules. You don't want to be mean about the schedule, and you want to be fair. Some people have tenure or seniority, and you have to take that into account. Also, if you don't have a regular work schedule 9-5 or 8-5 or 9-530 with weekends off, it is harder to schedule. I am mainly talking to retail pharmacy and retail in general. 

Dealing with vacations mostly in the summer is difficult. Trying to find coverage for your pharmacy or business is a pain in the neck and all consuming. This past week I did not even have the schedule ready for the next day! Calling everyone I knew frantically. I bet you are asking, "why not just hire someone." The answer is definitely more complicated than that!

NO PAYROLL! Did I write that loud enough!?! Your boss says you cannot hire anyone else because you are already over on payroll. Talk about frustrating. We, all pharmacists, tell our boss we need more payroll to do all of extra programs efficiently and also not make mistakes. Their response, there is nothing we can do. Yes, there is! Tell your boss and tell him to tell his boss! 

Trying to get someone from another store  to fill in is a few and far between. They have to be good enough to fit in to my busy store. Most of our stores do not have enough help as it is. We have explored all options. By the way, no overtime for my excellent employees either. I just wanted to blog about this to let everyone, pharmacy and patients, know that we are doing our best. Be patient, and we will be with you as quick as we can!

Friday, May 10, 2013


Cellphones or maybe I should say smartphones, are taking over our world. People cannot put them down to save their lives, texting while wrecking! How is this going to affect the pharmacy profession?

We are not able to counsel our patients because they are in their phones constantly. My technicians and I ring up patients, and they don't even look at then prescriptions. I have had a few patients call me a day or even a week later, and say, I didn't want this medication. Can I return it? Of course, I have to tell them, no, and to check their prescriptions every time they pick them up. The rebuttal is, I didn't order it. Yes, but your doctor called it in for you. It is usually a lose lose situation.

By the way, I am writing this pharmacy blog from my phone! No, I am not at work. My pharmacy is busy enough to where I  have to come in early and leave a bit (30 minutes) after we close. No time to blog or write about pharmacy.

My philosophy on this smartphone issue is, if you cannot beat them, join them. Maybe we should send our counseling via text, and the patient might receive it or converse by texting back! Who knows, but if that person suffers from not being counseled, it is not my fault. Even though the law may state different. It is just a concept, and we already text, email, or call patients for no refills, problems, and filled prescriptions ready for pick up.

Tell me what you think!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Stomach Flu, Stomach Bug? No, It Is The Norwalk virus!

There is no such thing as the "stomach flu".

It's called "Norwalk virus".

Here are some ways to prevent the virus.

The only way to get Norwalk virus is to ingest the contaminated fecal/vomit particles through your mouth, nose or eyes.Wash your hands for at least 15 seconds (sing the A,B,C song or Happy Birthday song twice) with warm soapy water to prevent from getting sick.

The virus is not airborn unless you are standing right next to a vomiting person.

Wash your hands before touching your face, preparing meals, eating etc.

Hand sanitizers will not kill this virus.

The ONLY way to kill the virus is to clean the infected areas with a bleach water solution.

Lysol and other house hold cleaners will not kill this virus.

If you have this virus, it is crucial to wash your hands after every episode of vomiting and diarrhea.You should also wash your hands after handling contaminated objects like buckets or sheets with vomit or feces on them.

The person is contaminated with the virus for at least 1 week afterwards, so washing hands is a must.

Wiping down all door knobs, light switches, faucets, toilet flushes, etc. with bleach will minimize cross contamination.

The virus usually lasts about 24 hours and the symptoms may include:
watery diarrhea
stomach aches

If you have this virus, you must stay hydrated. Smart water, Powerade,  Gatorade and Pedialyte all contain important electrolytes to help the body replenish lost electrolytes.

Sipping is crucial if you cannot "drink" it. A couple of sips every 5 to 10 minutes will stave off nausea and keep you hydrated.

Do not eat for at least 4 hours after your last vomiting episode. Stick to the BRAT diet (bananas,rice,applesauce,toast) or saltine crackers for a few days afterwards.

Be sure to wash your hands to prevent from spreading the virus to others.

This virus is typically not dangerous to people unless you are very young, elderly, have a compromised immune system or become dehydrated.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Year, New Insurance!

     Doesn't everyone just love the new year? With every new year, patients have new insurance. They never have their new car, and we always have to reprocess their prescriptions wasting precious time. Always bring in your new card or go online and write or print the Rx BIN, Rx PCN, Rx Group, and Rx ID#. This would save us about 5-10 minutes for each patient. If I have to call your insurance, it usually takes anywhere from 10-20 minutes. Most of the time, we don't have time to do this. This takes away from counseling on medications, filling prescriptions, and helping patients find the correct OTC product for their colds/flu.
      Most patients do not know their copays and deductibles. It changes every year and usually increases. I am limited on the information that I have from your old or new insurance company. You can usually find your formulary and prices of your medications online from your insurance company. Also, you could call them, and they would tell you the exact price of the medication your doctor has prescribed.
     Just before the new year, a lot of the over 65 patients come into the pharmacy asking what the best Medicare Part D program is for them. Please do some research on this yourself. You can always call 1-800-Medicare or if you know how to use a computer This would save your pharmacist a lot of time and probably ensure that you receive the correct medication, dose, instructions, strength, and quantity. The pharmacy corporations continue to cut our hours. We have less and less help. Thank you for understanding.
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Friday, October 26, 2012

Best Pharmacy Advice for All of Pharmacy!

This is some of the best pharmacy advice I have ever seen! I had to repost it. The original post is from The Redheaded Pharmacist.

Today I think it is time to give a little advice to pharmacy students and graduates. I’m no expert on what it means to be a pharmacist but I’ve worked in the field long enough to learn a few valuable lessons. I hope these words will help someone.

1. Take your time. Contrary to popular belief, community pharmacy is not about filling prescriptions as fast as humanly possible. No one will ever come after your license for taking the time necessary to fill each prescription correctly. Don’t worry about how other pharmacists pace themselves, they may or may not be doing as thorough of a job as you should be with each prescription order.

2. Talk to patients. Talking to patients is the good part of my job. I admit that I have my fair share of patients who make me so angry I could scream. But at the end of the day patient counseling is one of the most rewarding parts of being a pharmacist. Don’t be afraid to go talk to patients even if it isn’t in your nature to be an outgoing person.

3. Learn from more experienced pharmacists. Pharmacy school instructors, preceptors, and colleagues have a lot of knowledge to share. Learn from pharmacists who have been around the block. Mistakes and experience are the best teachers, but mentors aren’t a bad choice for gaining knowledge about the profession of pharmacy either.

4. Get Involved and Stay Informed. The days of passively pursuing your own career while ignoring the bigger picture are long gone (if they ever existed). Keep a pulse on the developments that impact the profession of pharmacy any way you can. Being informed will better prepare you for the next wave of change. Joining organizations, going to board of pharmacy meetings, or writing letters to politicians are all ways to become more involved.

5. Learn from your mistakes. Despite the expectations of perfection, pharmacists are human. We make mistakes just like everyone else. I’ve made more than my fair share of prescription mistakes and judgement errors. Although I freely recognize that I’m not perfect, I desperately attempt to learn from my mistakes in the hopes that I won’t be repeat them in the future.

6. Have fun. I’m not immune to the negatives of my job or the frustrations that come with being a pharmacist. But I also try to have fun at work. With the right people and the right attitude and outlook, you can enjoy the job of pharmacist. Some days I am better at keeping my frustrations at bay. Other days those frustrations can get the best of me. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of negativity surrounding pharmacy. My goal is to remember the positives so those moments can get me through the negatives.

7. Ask questions. Don’t ever make assumptions. With people’s lives at stake, assumptions could literally kill. If a dose looks wrong, call the prescriber. If a patient is confused about how to take a medication, explain it to them even if you’ve done so already in the past. There is a circle of care involving the patient and all the healthcare providers that treat that individual. We should all be on the same page.

8. Follow your own path. It’s your career, find what you enjoy and pursue those opportunities. Don’t be afraid to try something completely out of your comfort zone either. You never know where you will find that dream job or golden opportunity.

Being a pharmacist is a demanding but rewarding job. In the end, you have to trust your abilities and hope that you can help every patient as much as possible. Anyone that asks more than that from you is simply demanding too much.