Over $1/min to write down numbers

I don’t mind if a patient calls up and has a question (except if its when their vicodin is due). I will gladly put whatever I’m doing on hold to answer a legitimate honest question, no matter how trivial or stupid it is. I’m sure any pharmacist (except those mail order twats) would do the same thing.

However I do mind when patients want to talk to me to call in their refill numbers. Sure, take up the time of the most knowledgeable and highest paid employee in the pharmacy so you can have your numbers written down. God this annoys the living piss out of me.

Dear public. Little do you know that calling in your refill numbers to the pharmacist is the QUICKEST way to not get your shit filled. You see, every pharmacy has a system. The clerks take the numbers and put the little tags into some sort of delivery system to the pharmacists and techs in the back. We process the prescriptions, and hand the completed product back up front to the clerks for bagging. Calling in numbers directly to the pharmacy screws that system up. Plus with all the chaos that takes places behind the counter of any well-running pharmacy I’ll bet you any money that the tag that the pharmacist wrote your numbers on gets lost somewhere. Not to mention that throwing in anything that deviates from a pharmacy’s filling system is just asking for errors and mistakes to be made.

Plus, when a pain-in-the-ass patient calls a pharmacist up and says “I need all my regular medications”; 30 seconds later a doctors office calls in a new prescription. Guess what happened to “All of your regular medications” request that you so cunningly bypassed the clerks with? Yup, forgotten. Sure you may get mad, but when asked the question “Why did you not give it to the clerks?” you just stare at me with a blank look.

Aside from the reasons above, the non-candy-coated answer is that we’re too damn busy and too damn important to write down your numbers or hear you stumble through drug names. We have a whole lot better things to do with the $1/min most pharmacists cost their employer than to do what a $8.50/hr employee can do.

So whats a pharmacist to do when a PITA patient calls them just for refills?

  • “Oh, hold on, let me get a clerk to get those numbers down for you
  • “Hold on a second, doctor on the other line” Then wait 10 min to say “You know, a clerk can get those down a whole lot faster than I can”
  • Hang up on them.
  • Transfer them to Walgreens to bug their pharmacists.

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42 Comments

  1. Lackadaisical Sophist says:

    How I handle a similar situation at work, edited to make sense:
    “Maam, I would love to take that information down for you right now, but I am not currently at the computer terminal for inputting the numbers and it’s best, for security reasons, that I do write it down on paper. I’ll just transfer you to the clerk and I’ll make sure it is taken care of when she submits the info to the system.”
    Or some other faster way of saying the same shit. Works every time.

  2. I’d choose option 1: “Oh, hold on, let me get a clerk to get those numbers down for you”. At the hospital where I intern at(CRAP, I’m gonna get flak for saying that…so…clinical pharmacist aren’t better than retail pharmacists, or any other pharmacist for that matter), the nurses** call me (thereby wasting my time) to get an IV drip because their patients bag is almost up. Well tough cookies, we have a bloody system where you can scan down a request for it, and we’ll get it to you in a timely manner. Suddenly, I have to drop everything I’m currently doing make you that one cardizem bag because you screwed up.
    Though, I do agree with the decently legit questions – if I can answer it, I will, and if not, I’ll pass it on to a pharmacist. Nurses who ask to speak to a pharmacist about what a drug is would just waste the pharmacist’s time. I can answer that for you, it doesn’t take a full-fledged pharmacist to tell you what the indications for a drug is and what it’s for. I can turn into a particularly sarcastic guy if the nurse does a repeat offense. Which, in that case, would require an option 2 for me: Call them back later. Hellishly later.
    **I like a lot of the RNs at my place, they do their job well…others…not so much, those are the trouble makers.

  3. rph3664 says:

    What’s this about “mail order twats”? We had an 800 number where people could call in and ask drug questions, and yes, they did. This was before wide Internet access.
    My weirdest call as a hospital pharmacist has been the guy who called me on a Saturday evening (at the time, we had no 24-hour pharmacy in the area) who was changing the oil in his motorcycle and wanted to know if cc’s and ml’s were the same thing. He called us because he figured a pharmacist would know for sure.

  4. Sumotoad says:

    TAP, dude, don’t you know that Walgreen’s pharmacists are your most avid readers? C’mon, bro, keep your losers and I’ll keep mine. Unless I can send them to RiteAid…. Seriously, we all face the same stupidity: “I just caint punch in all them lil numbers….” and then she gives me numbers for two, count them, two prescriptions. Simultaneously, on our state board of pharmacy five of the nine members are “citizens” i.e., know-nothing dipsticks. Keep blogging so I don’t end up on the roof with a deer rifle….

  5. Jennifer says:

    What?? I’m not sure I understand. You mean people purposely bypass the clerks just to have you take their refills?? I would have never even thought to do this. Why?? Do they think the pharmacist can write the Rx number down *better*?? Besides, the automated telephone Rx refill system is fast and easy for me, and I imagine, easier for the pharmacist & staff.

  6. chemoqueenrph says:

    I have to agree. One of the most irritating things at the hospital is when a nurse calls down, asks for a pharmacist, then tells me they need a refill in their Pyxis. I would take down the info and then sweetly say ‘You know, the tech could have taken this call. There is no reason to ask for a pharmacist for a Pyxis refill’. I’d get ‘Oh’ (the equivalent of the Cow Stare over the phone).
    rph3664, have you ever called your 800 number? We get placed on terminal hold. I know you guys are busy with a gazillion patients from all over the country who are also waiting on hold, but we won’t even call a mail order to do a med recon. The Specialty Pharmacy hold times aren’t quite as bad, but I usually have to get transferred a few times, with a hold time for each transfer, before I can finally talk to a pharmacist.

  7. Dr. Grumpy says:

    I’d hang up on them, and when they call, let the tech tell them the line cut off and get the refill numbers.
    We get crap where a patient calls my nurse and tells her they need refills “of that pill the doctor gave me last month, whatever it was called”
    or
    “I need a refill on my medicine. It’s the orange pill, with a number on the side.”

  8. http://openid.aol.com/npage148 says:

    I always right refills on little scraps of paper when people give me their numbers. If they are lucky, I’ll remeber to input them w/in the hour. If they are unlucky, the numbers get thrown out while I’m picking it up. Giving your numbers to a tech really is a safer bet with me

  9. Angry Tech says:

    The worst is when you scramble for the doctor line, only to find that it’s a customer that only wants refills.. a regular one, who has called the correct customer line dozens of times in the past. When I ask these people if they’re doctors, and they act confused and say no, they get put on hold for a VERY long time.
    I think the issue is that commercials, doctors, whoever else, love the phrase “talk to/ask your pharmacist about.. ” so much that some people believe anything regarding their prescriptions must be handled by a pharmacist. This is usually nullified by finding out what they want first, and, if they’re just refills, sure, I’m a totally qualified pharmacist, not some tech with no formal schooling in this area, trust me on this one, I’m a friend of your father, just GET IN THE VAN!!

  10. intern2010 says:

    I really hate it where I work because you basically have techs, interns, and pharmacists and depending on the pharmacist on duty, the interns are treated as regular techs. I probably had about 6 people call in a 2 hour period looking to refill their prescriptions but “couldn’t find the refill numbers” or “the automated system isn’t working” so after I pull the profile and ask what meds they need, they read off the GD numbers. 2 patients called the wrong chain so of course the numbers aren’t going to match. I also see the pharmacists get pissed when we get customers calling asking for a pharmacist and don’t want an intern just to ask how late we are open or whats the most tylenol they can take in a day.

  11. Tech in Midwest says:

    Really, is it that hard to use an automated system? Oh wait the pharmacy I use has online Rx accounts available to all customers. I make use of that and select the auto fill option. And then the system sends me a friendly reminder if I don’t pick up my meds within 3 days. But then again I check my vials when they are getting low and check to see if I have refills or if I need send a refill request to the Dr. How hard is that? I am sure that other pharmacies offer online accounts as an option.
    Further, what is wrong with making a list of your current medications and supplements? And then keeping that list with you? Take an active roll in your own healthcare!

  12. Henry says:

    I worked this past Easter Sunday as a floater and had one tech at a grocery store pharmacy. I had to constantly remind her to pay attention to the register and that waiting on customers should be her top priority. She had the elitist attitude that she was a pre-med student and she was better than me, especially since I was just a floater and not a regular pharmacist. She did whatever possible to avoid running the register or delay it so the patients had to stand around waiting for her while she filled and did data entry. Sometimes I got so fed up with constantly reminding her that I just went out myself to run the register and wait on people. Come on, a $50/hour pharmacist running the register while the $10/hour tech does the filling and data entry, Puh-leaze…

    • The Girl Who Runs The Pharmacy says:

      I am a technician currently (pre-pharmacy). I don’t know what type of pharmacist you are (I’m certain you’re really skilled and hard-working)or what type of techs you’re used to, but at my pharmacy, I HAVE to do all the filling and data entry because the pharmacist has no clue how to do any of it. All he knows how to do is check a prescription and rub elbows with all of our wealthy customers. This leaves me very little time to touch a register or coddle a customer. Your tech that day may very well have been a snobby little elitist (and if so, the hell with her), but she may also be a tech who’s accustomed to working with a grossly incompetent pharmacist. Just food for thought…

  13. pharmass says:

    Hats off to you, TAP! I recently stumbled upon your rants and I’m loving ’em :-) You have inspired me to continue a similar blog I began about 9 months ago.
    Speaking of wasting precious (and expensive!) minutes taking Rx numbers, how about conversations like these?:
    Customer: Hi, your automated refill line is not working, it wouldn’t take my numbers.
    Patient Rph or Tech: Ok, well, why don’t you just tell me your prescription numbers?
    Customer: (Rattles off several prescription numbers that are so clearly NOT from your pharmacy)
    Patient Rph or Tech: I’m sorry, but those prescriptions weren’t filled at our store. Where did you last have them filled?
    Customer: YES THEY WERE! I’ve NEVER filled my prescriptions anywhere else. I’ve never had this problem with the automated refill line before, when will it be fixed!?
    Not-so-patient Rph or Tech: I’m sorry, but those are NOT our prescription numbers, therefore I cannot fill them. Are you sure you haven’t visited anot—–(cut off by customer)
    Customer: Oh, my bottle says $%@* Pharmacy on it. Does that make a difference?
    Not-so-patient Rph or Tech: (slowly begins to strangle self with phone cord….)

  14. Used to be angry pharmacist says:

    It’s one thing for average patients to call and fumble with numbers and you have to help them identify the yellow pill with the number “3562” on it.
    It’s another thing when the patient/customer is a self-important doctor who looks to pick everything up in five minutes.
    “uh, it’s an hour wait, Doctor V”
    “Why so long – just put the label on the g*d d**n bottle!”
    “Right, I have 30 of those bottles before you”
    “I don’t give a sh*t. I’m coming down NOW!”
    “Uh, please hold, my doctor line is ringing.”
    5 minutes later, and doctor/patient is still on hold. Click! I just hung up on him.

  15. PharmGamerKid says:

    When I work on Sundays, I always hate how call center is closed and all the phone calls get forwarded to us.
    Hi, I need a refill on my medication. Yes, I would like it RIGHT NOW! What? I have zero refills? But I need my Norco right now!!! Sorry, lady, but all I can do is fax request to doctor and hopefully he reads it on Monday.
    I think my best refill phone call moment is when a lady freaks out that her 16-yr-old has zero refills on her birth control and we won’t do emergency refill for her.

  16. chris says:

    It winds me up when people ask specifically to speak to me, not just because it is wasting my time (especially when its stupid things like which hair dye is better, how the hell should I know?) but I imagine the staff feel a bit put out to, they work very hard, have done loads of training, to then get treated just as cashiers by the customers.
    A bit off topic, but related – I find it worst in stores with a large elderly islamic community. In their culture women do not get always as much respect as they do in my culture, so we get loads of elderly asian men come in and completely ignore the female staff as if they werent even there. Was the same when I was just saturday staff to, they would ignore the female pharmacist completely and come to me, the as yet untrained work experience.

  17. pissedoffpharmtech says:

    Ok…this is enough to piss any pharmacist off. We don’t have clerks in our pharmacy so us pharm techs pretty much answer the phone. We do have a distinct ring when Dr’s call on the Dr line and that way the pharmacist knows it is for them and they answer that line. This cuts down on the time the dr office has to spend on the phone, because we all know how “little” time we spend on the phone with them. Anyway, we have one traveling home health nurse who insists on calling on that line to give the pharmacist the refill numbers on her patients. She isn’t calling in anything new and she always has the numbers ready. Why she can’t call them in on the automated system, I don’t know. I don’t know why it pisses me off because it is one less phone call I have to answer, but it does. It annoys me that she thinks her refill numbers are important enough for the pharmacist to drop everything and write down her 2 6-digit numbers.

  18. RxQueen says:

    Tell me about it! I work in a hospital pharmacy and guess who answers the damn phone cause it rings off the hook? .. THE PHARMACISTS (the highest paid persons) .. Certain technicians do, but it’s a rare happening. How little sense does this make? I mean, do you call a bank and the first person you talk to the CEO? NO you talk to an operator or a TELLER!!! This isnt ROCKET PHARMACY PEOPLE!

  19. BlueTech says:

    Here at walgreens, if someone calls us and says “I need all my pills refilled”…or worse yet, “Transfer all my pills from rite-aid” (More work for me, thanks), we simply tell them that we need the names of every med. If they bitch about it, then they can go somewhere else.

  20. feduprph says:

    This is in response to what Henry said about the elitist tech.
    What is up with these elitist/unhelpful techs?
    It makes such a difference when working with nice/helpful techs versus bossy/elitist ones.
    My day drags when I have to work with the elitists.

    • Phoenix CPhT says:

      Why don’t you just speak up and tell them what you want. I work with many diff Pharmacists and don’t know what all of them need. I have some pharmacists that want to answer phone calls, some that don’t want to touch the phone at all, some want to talk to all the patients at the counter, some want to run and hide from the front. I will do anything they want me to do. They just need to speak up and let me know.

  21. temp tech says:

    I am a tech and when someone says I want to give my number to the pharmacist I always tell them (if its the first time) it may be a few minutes because they have some calls ahead of them but I can take the numbers for them. It usually works but for the PITA ones well there is a shredder right at the end of the counter. I am only working this job while going to school, but I must say there is a system for sure and it sucks when someone from the outside who has no knowledge throws a wrench into it. Great website by the way

  22. The Dauphine says:

    I love the patients that bypass our automated system to give refill numbers to the pharm staff. If the automated system can take the numbers, use it, because more than likely, you’ve just interrupted someone doing something more important than inputting your refill numbers into the computer.
    Futhermore, to all patients of birth control, you have Rx numbers too. USE THEM!!!! Don’t throw the damn package away and call each and every month saying you threw it away. It just proves you become more and more like an idiot every single day.
    Thanks.

    • Painful Dan... says:

      I’m a little confused as to the actual constructiveness of this site. Yeah, most everyone bitches about their job, but who are you guys (pharmacists and the techs) ? I’m sure some ofyou are familiar with the soup nazi fron seinfeld.. well, I’m seeing a connection. I purposefully go to mom and pop pharmacies where when I walk in I say “Hey Steve (the pharmacist who has more training and experience than all of you jackasses combined) and he takes the time to personally help me.

      As for asking when my “vicodin is due”, what the hell is wrong with that question? Do I magically know how much I have left at the house when I’m running errands and near the pharmacy? (just as an example, I use much stronger shit for my painful condition.. narcotics have saved my quality of life, made it so every waking moment isn’t a living hell) Do your job, quit whining. I could do your fucking job and I Have no formal training, save a few chem and pharmacology classes. I often know way more about a medication and its action than the doctor and the fucking elitist pharmacist. But you will just tell me I’m a drug addict, so save your breath. Your job is important, you help people (in most cases) with a leg up on their medical conditions. My father is an anesthesiologist, a far superior profession in terms of education and knowledge and I have not once heard him bitch about people asking him to do his job. DO YOUR GOD DAMN JOB, if you don’t like it, go open the CII cabinent and swallow a few dilaudid, then proceed to the “A” section and pop about 2-4 mgs of Alprazolam. Go back to work, if you still can’t stand it then go sell crack on the street corner. What is this attitude mainstream pharmacy employees are taking? One walgreens pharmicist refused to sell my heroin addicted friend clean insulin needles, when he is fully authorized to do so. He actually told her to use an old one, which was in the bottom of the trash can. I notified him of this, he said just use it. WHATS THIS IDEOLOGY? Let these poor needle addicted individuals get an infection or blood-borne pathogen? Mom and pop pharmacies never ask questions about dispenseing clean syringes, why ? Because they are happy to help someone who is obviously not going to stop keep healthy and clean….but you YOU, ALL MIGHTY ANGRY PHARMACIST (can’t you get that degree from a community college?) are going to tell people how to live their lives? Who the F%^& are you, get a grip. You have a good job and be grateful for it. If phone calls are “just too much” then you have issues man… you are the very type that keeps the drug war in this country alive and well, your on some kind of ego trip because you “control” someones hydrocodone supply(an incredibly weak narcotic, it should be OTC) My pharmacists in NC give me codeine syrup for 4 bux anytime I need it for the kids or myself, good cough medecine, superior to DXM crap that makes me hallucinate. I doubt you would be so empathetic. You’ll get put in your place once day my friend, mark my word. Be grateful, and ease up man, your probably constipated severely to sweat shit like making up an IV bag, simple…. A monkey could do it. I’m sure you’ve never made a mistake before though, which you have clearly indicated: yes you, I’m talking to all you high and mighty pharmy personel.. particularly the pharmacists. Just because you get paid well you are too good to stoop to the level of answering the phone. Its part of your job to answer questions about things not in your little stockroom, but OTC products as well. F(*&ing americans, you need to get witht he times. Start dispensing methadone to addicts in rural areas where help isn’t available… lobby for it. Your intolerance to those dependant on pain medications is a clear indication that you have control issues, you don’t like to take substances to relax because you lose control. You don’t want anyone to feel good, you want to drag them into your twisted paradigm. Please, refute my points. Cure me of my hatred of walgreens pharmacists who tell my girlfriend to u se dirty needles because they can’t get past the idea that someone might get high. If she overdoses, its not your fault, its her stupid fault for not dosing properly… but it ccould be your fault if she gets a damn infection after assuring me it wouldn’t hurt to use a needle cast into the bottom of a filthy trashcan…. prove me wrong, maybe theres something I’m missing. -Concernced Citizen who requires your profession’s services (until our constituitional right to self-medicate is restored.) let the poor fools kill themselves if using for illegitimate purposes, they don’t need to be passing their idiotic genes around the collective pool. With all due respect… I just get worked up over the this futile drug war and people who think they are really special.

      • The Girl Who Runs The Pharmacy says:

        A pharmacist has to have a DOCTOR OF PHARMACY degree, asshat. See if your local community college offers doctorates. You could NOT do the job just because you have a wittle owie in youw wittle back and take prescription medications. NONE of the “Mom and Pop” pharmacies in which I’ve worked have sold needles to junkies. Why would we enable an addict?? Just take your Percocet, flip some burgers, and tie your girlfriend’s tourniquet and leave the business of pharmacies to the professionals.

      • smonkey says:

        Wow, so lets see if I’ve got this straight, you, a completely legitimate control II user has two junkie friends. Hmmm. Let me guess, the pharmacist wouldn’t let you fill your control meds early. You seem to think thats because the pharmacist wants to mess with your good time. Try again. Those meds are called controls for a reason. It is our legal obligation to prevent their release if we think they are being used for non-medical purposes. I’m sure an upstanding citizen such as yourself understands that someone who goes to eight years of college (thats a doctorate btw, you can’t get that at a junior college), passes her boards, and amasses six figure student loan debt isn’t going to want to throw their licence away so someone else can get high. Because thats what you’re asking that pharmacist to do whenever you ask for an early fill.
        As for your needle story, I call bullsh*t. No pharmacist ever said that, and no pharmacist or tech on this site beleives that. What happened, did the pharmacist tell her she could only buy 20 syringes at a time? Did they tell her she could only buy a certain size? There are legal restrictions. I could even buy a pharmacist losing her temper with a customer, and making a sarcastic remark, but no pharmacist ever told your strung out girlfriend in all seriousness that its ok to fish a syringe out of the trash. (maybe she was hallucinating, I understand that can happen) Thats absolutely ludicrous, if you’re going to lie, lie believably.

        • Missy says:

          Actually, I work at a pharmacy where most of the pharmacists require a prescription to something that requires syringes before they’ll sell them. I think it’s absolutely stupid. If someone is addicted to heroin, they’re going to do it anyway. I’d rather them not share needles and catch 50 different diseases that I, as a taxpayer, have to pay for.

      • Rx Intern says:

        “I could do your fucking job and I Have no formal training, save a few chem and pharmacology classes. I often know way more about a medication and its action than the doctor and the fucking elitist pharmacist.”

        I’m afraid the internet giving you scarce details about the pharmacology of a drug does not give you a class’s worth of education. Someone didn’t last through college, did he? Your anesthesiologist father must be very disappointed in you. And who’s this elitist pharmacist you’re talking about? Don’t you only go and talk to “Steve” and get your meds from “Steve”?

        “My father is an anesthesiologist, a far superior profession in terms of education and knowledge and I have not once heard him bitch about people asking him to do his job.”

        Far superior profession in terms of education and knowledge, eh? Sure he can rip a pharmacist a new one in HIS profession with his anesthesiologist training, but put him in a pharmacist’s shoes and you’ll get the same result – he won’t last. Does he have to meet with at least 100 people per day who are anxious to get their meds? Didn’t think so. I’m positive your father would be in the same mood and have the same temper as a pharmacist were he in a pharmacist’s shoes. YOU should go to your personal CII cabinet and medicate your sorrows away from this topic, because clearly, you have no idea what you’re talking about. But don’t forget to call in early for a refill. Ass.

        “let the poor fools kill themselves if using for illegitimate purposes, they don’t need to be passing their idiotic genes around the collective pool.”

        Abusing drugs is a very illegitimate reason for using drugs. You just called your needle using friend a fool, said she should kill herself on the heroin, and to not reproduce. Classy.

        Oh, and perpetuating the war on drugs? We don’t make the rules, we just follow them. And making hydrocodone (I’m assuming norco here) an OTC? I’d be afraid for the people who OD and go into respiratory depression, lose consciousness and kill themselves. My friend, you have some terrible ideas and ideologies.

      • adam says:

        “I’m a little confused as to the actual constructiveness of this site”
        – Who said it was constructive? It’s just the collective angered ramblings of those in the pharmacy world. It’s a place to say the things you don’t say at work. No one said you had to visit this site. If you don’t like, don’t read it.

        “Steve?”
        – Is that the guy behind the counter at your local bodega? (see “Half Baked”)

        “As for asking when my “vicodin is due”, what the hell is wrong with that question? Do I magically know how much I have left at the house when I’m running errands and near the pharmacy?”
        – Yes, you should know roughly how much you have left and whether you need more or not. It’s not magic. It’s managing your health and your condition. Just because a narcotic medication is “due” to be filled, doesn’t mean you NEED to refill it.

        “My father is an anesthesiologist, a far superior profession in terms of education and knowledge and I have not once heard him bitch about people asking him to do his job.”
        – Probably because all of his patients are sedated… My day would go a lot easier if the same were true of my job.

        I’m not sure how a rant about a pharmacist taking down refill numbers provoked a reply about your narcotic issues. You’re not even on topic.

      • HHRPh says:

        You might want to check out YOUR local community college for a spelling101 course…you are so totally clueless it is actually sad and pathetic…please don’t bother to comment on so many things you obviously have NO knowledge or education about. You have no idea what a pharmacist’s job involves nor could you stand 30 seconds of some of the crap we put up with on a daily basis. I could go on, but I just refuse to have a battle of wits with an unarmed person…

  23. CPhT HH says:

    TAP for President. Seriously.

    I am a tech who busts my buns every day and I don’t understand the elitist tech thing, either. Maybe that’s why I have a cache of pharmacists who won’t work unless I’m there.

    The “Bypass the IVR thing” is everywhere. I understand if you have limited vision or finger dexterity, but most people are too stupid or “too busy” (read: don’t listen to simple instructions) to figure out how to use it properly. Then we have an angry customer in our collective face at the register saying “I used your phone system…doesn’t it ever work?” to which I usually say, “Well, hundreds of requests have been processed so far today, so I imagine the problem is NOT the system.” I love being able to tell someone they’re stupid without coming right out and saying they’re stupid.

    And if someone requests “all their pills filled” you can bet your butt I’m filling every G-D thing on their profile. And then when I have to return half of them because they don’t want them, don’t take them anymore, have enough of them already, my pharmacist will tag in and let them have it about how this is a waste of time and resources and that we will NEVER EVER do this again.

  24. Lenin says:

    Lol, i have to admit there is alot of elitist tension in the room. There was a time when you could get a point across without having to mention your salary, which is very unclassy (even though I know this is a place to vent, come on lets direct it at the customers and not jack off ourselves). As an opponent to elitism in general and a proponent of humility, i can safely say i get a sense of satisfaction that with all your smugness and salary quoting you STILL have to put up with it like everyone else and will CONTINUE to put up with it like everyone else. Don’t like it? Don’t pick a profession that works like a fast food place in a retail environemnt where the register always needs attention and the phone is always ringing because you KNOW pharmacies are rarely staffed appropriately, because besides the glitter thats sort of how it works and where no matter what you are in the thick of things. Half the time the pharamcist station is like two feet away from the register; you can be a big boy or girl and help out or answer the phone rather than eating your lunch on a stool because you “checked out all the scripts and have nothing to do” because ultimately you are the one that answers to pissed off customers.

    • Dusty says:

      I think the point of the “salary” quoting was this; a Pharmacist can do EVERYTHING a tech can do. A tech cannot do everything a pharmacist can do. To make the pharmacy run at peak efficiency, the pharmacists should concentrate on the work that only they are qualified to do, while the techs can do everything else. If the techs get overwhelmed at the register/phone/etc. then the pharmacist can step in if nothing else more pressing (such as Drug-Drug interaction reviews and whatnot) come up. It’s just stupid to have a tech doing nothing but data entry while the pharmacist rings up customers. The tech can ring up customers, input Rx’s in between customers, and the pharmacist can concentrate on data review and product verification.
      I am a tech, and I know how to keep my pharmacy running well. Doing so requires each tech to remember that key sentence in their job description; “Assist the pharmacist.” I have a couple techs who take advantage of me being willing to ring up customers, so they sit at the In-Window and type in virtually half of the rxs that come in; I’m typing the other half in between customers. They are apparently too important to take over the register for a while. No I’m not the best tech out there. Far from it, really. I just take pride in my job, and I do it.

      • alberta71 says:

        Believe it or not, during busy times, I spend tbe majority of the time ringing in folks sh*t at the till. My incompetent tech cannot input properlly, cannot calculate, cannot count or label to save her life, and so we get so frickin backed up it’s a nightmare. Where oh where have the good techs gone??? And I am a pharmacist..

        • Lenin says:

          I feel ya; trust me, they are out there. I have seen how sometime pharmacies hire these students that are incompetent as hell though. Keep looking for a good tech 😛 Just take comfort that you are better than most pharmacists out there. If he is incompetent stick that fucker on a cashier and type in the orders. A good pharmacist can keep things rolling with data entry, filling, and checking; as long as there is no fuckin mistakes on the scripts or calls (and there will be -.-).. No perfect world for anyone.

      • Lenin says:

        Sadly though that is not often the reality. The reality is the tech who is expected to do the work of like 3 techs is caught doing everything while the pharmacist is left sitting on his ass waiting for the tech to finish data entry/register/filling shoving their thumb up their ass. Now i understand, shit gets busy. But as the highest paid person there, my point is there should not be any point that a pharmacist is not working. The idea that it is a $1 a minute for writing down numbers is that if they aren’t writing down numbers than its a dollar a minute doing NOTHING! Though I will admit that I concur with the fact that pharmacist can do everything and tech can’t do everything therefore to run it at its peak there should be a “cover” system to maximize the work being done. And in places where frankly the pharmacist WISH they could take a break from the orders than this really doesn’t come up. I am talking about the places where it isn’t that busy or business comes in rushes and short spurts. I have seen pharmacists that will do everything in their power to avoid the register, EVERYTHING. The tech could be swamped with stuff and the pharmacist will sit their and watch him work while the customers watch him/her sit their. I remember i knew one pharmacist though that ran a pharmacy and he was the best guy out there; he covered everything and more and the customers loved him because there was nothing that he was not willing to do for them. You can tell which pharmacists were techs first and which ones weren’t. Don’t get me wrong, he would get just as disgruntled as everyone else on the board but it was more of a humorous thing than a authentic complaint. THAT is the kind of guy i wanted to be; not one of those floaters that comes in and sits on their ass and causes a trainwreck.

      • HHRPh says:

        Dusty with the AWESOME attitude: Your respect of the pharmacist undoubtedly creates great work relationships and a well-running pharmacy. I would also guess that there is a mutual respect from the pharmacist because of this. Thank you to you and all the other wonderful techs who take pride in their jobs and have attitudes like yours. We are all truly INTERDEPENDENT on each other.

  25. MA and A Tech says:

    In my state, a pharmacist has to have a degree in Pharmacy (it doesn’t have to be a Doctorate.) S/he also has to pass a test to prove s/he learned all that stuff. A minimum of 4 years learning things that the addict that wrote in never heard of. I don’t doubt that she can rattle off all the strengths of hydrocodone/APAP. I can because I worked with trauma patients. It doesn’t make me a pharmacist.
    While an MD is learning everything from adenoids to zoster, a pharmacy student is learning pharmacology. So who do people ask? Guess? I keep suggesting that people use the pharmacist as a resource who either knows or can find out pretty fast. Give them a little respect and maybe they’ll clean up their language a little. :)
    Also in my state, a tech has to be both certified and licensed by the state. Usually the sale is rung up by a clerk, but can also be by a tech or the boss. All questions go right to the pharmacist.
    As an MA, I’ve called in a lot of Rxs. After repeating my name and the MDs name and asking to speak to the pharmacist 6 or 8 times, I get tired and just ask for the RPh and say “I have a new one”. Then they ask if I am a patient.
    The reason I don’t use the automated system is because I don’t want either of us to get yelled at. The patient is boiling over to your store at mach speed for that pain pill. I don’t want you to have to listen to them either. They tossed the prescription to me on the way out the door and asked me to call it in to save time. Not mine and not yours!
    Hang in there!

  26. pharmer says:

    1. Don’t send them to Walgreens. I’d appreciate it!
    2. I don’t mind answering questions on the phone or ringing up customers when there’s a line forming at the pick-up window (we are short staffed after all) – just realize that while I’m obviously busy doing stuff like this, I CAN’T ALSO BE FINISHING UP YOUR PRESCRIPTION! I only have 2 hands folks. If you come up to the counter to ask me a question 2 minutes after you just dropped off a script and then quickly follow it with “Is my prescription ready yet?” – what do you think? I’ve been standing here answering your question, did your prescription magically make its way from being filled to being checked to being bagged all on its own? NO.

  27. bonbon says:

    I randomly stumbled upon this post while looking for completely unrelated information, and had to stop and read through. It seems inappropriate to me that pharmacists have to perform menial tasks such as taking patient information and ringing up random store items for customers. I was a biology major (pre-med) in college and worked in labs with pharmacy students who had a much better understanding of chemistry than I probably ever could. After college I got into med school, didn’t go, and then eventually decided to go into teaching instead. Since I don’t have expertise in medicine, I rely on pharmacists to help me make decisions on which OTC meds to use. For example, last week I came down with a nasty sinus infection and sought advice from my pharmacist on which medicine I should buy for pain and congestion relief. If not for him, I would not have known to take Advil Cold and Sinus, which has brought me immense amounts of symptom relief until I could get to the doctor for much needed antibiotics. In fact, there is no way I would have even seen that medicine, since it was behind the counter and not in plain view.

    I don’t think I’ve ever noticed people specifically trying to be waited upon by a pharmacist, attempting to bypass clerks and techs, but I could definitely see people doing that (silly humans who think their poop doesn’t stink and that everyone else exists to serve them — they’re everywhere). Any time I go to a pharmacy I take note of who the pharmacist is, and I will not bother them unless I have a legit medical question. The one time I have come to the pharmacy counter with store items other than medicine and a pharmacist ended up selling me those things, I felt quite awkward, and wondered why she was doing that instead of a clerk.

    Some of the other people in this thread would categorize my opinion as elitist. I really don’t think I’m an elitist — actually, I think I used to be, and then broke myself of that, which was part of what led me to decide not to go into medicine. If I were an elitist, I would have chosen a profession that pays better than teaching (I like to joke with my students that I get paid in food). I think the real elitists here are those corporate people who own and manage the pharmacies. If they had proper respect for pharmacists, these business people would not be telling pharmacists to do menial tasks. If you are a mom-and-pop pharmacist who wants to run everything yourself, that’s another story. I can definitely see where professional pharmacists would feel extremely disgruntled after years or even decades of being subjected to this. I can also see the person’s point who said you knew about this when you signed up for it, but you are kind of put into a corner if pharmacy is your passion and all the jobs in it require you to do these lower-level tasks. I guess you could just work in a lab if you really want to avoid that altogether. Then the only humans you have to deal with would be people with above average intelligence, which is much less annoying, albeit too cloistered for my taste.

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