Thursday, November 19, 2015

What Keeps a Pharmacist UP AT NIGHT

Do you worry about clowns? Money? Your kids? Your job?



I don't worry about circus clowns. I worry about the medications I dispensed that day. I worry that somewhere along the line I made a mistake that might harm a patient. I worry that I didn't catch a tech error or a drug interaction. I do the best I can, but I'm only human.

Trying to explain the stress of being a pharmacist to people outside of healthcare is difficult. If I'm a salesman and I don't make the sale, no one is going to die. If I'm a cable guy and I don't install the cable correctly, no one is going to die. But as a pharmacist one careless mistake can cost someone's life. And that keeps me up at night sometimes. And sometimes clowns do too... the clowns being the company executives that schedule too little tech hours and I have to do all the work and that increases the possibility of making an error.

This blog post originally aired HERE.

7 comments:

Ken Courtice said...

♍️As a retired Canadian pharmacist I can sympathize with you. Flu shots, script volumes increasing as margin & profit share shrink puts pressure on staff costs. Pressure mounts daily, time spent one on one with patients shrink as pharmacists get dragged back onto the dispensing treadmill. I enjoyed my 25 years with a major Canadian chain but my colleagues tell me how things have changed, such that many are evaluating their life/work balance with an eye to shifting it. As a patient , be actively involved with your pharmacist, no drug names and colors, question changes. Welcome to the new reality
KenCourtice RPh 🍁

Anonymous said...

Can I ask -- how do you deal with mistake that you make? I have made several as I am trying to juggle everything mentioned above (and people asking where the milk is -- where do you THINK it is?). How do you come to terms with these things?

Hildy said...

This is off-topic, but relevant to your central complaint about the authorities: I wanted to get a flu shot from my local drugstore. (Faster than going to a walk-in clinic.) But because I read this blog, I knew I should not go on a Monday but should go when they are least busy. I presented myself at 10:30am on a Tuesday. No customers were waiting to pick up (altho I have no way to tell what they might have been filling), but no one seemed frantic. I asked if they had time to give me a flu shot, because if not, I could easily come back since I work nearby. The pharmacist said that I could get the shot now, that they are directed to give priority to flu shots! Seriously? A stupid flu shot takes precedence over everything else???!!! Are they that remunerative?

iratecanadianpharmacist said...

I find a large double standard at play within our field. When a doctor (for example) works to fast, people complain that he/she is not being thorough. When a pharmacist is trying to be thorough, people complain that we are not being efficient and taking too long. It's a catch 22

Anonymous said...

I am an RPh who sleeps well at night. That is because at the end of each day I know I have done my best. I follow the same procedure on every prescription to ensure that I am dispensing medications properly. I take the time to "get it right." When interrupted, I go back to the beginning of my review. The few mistakes I have made came when I had the feeling of being rushed. I continue to fight being in that state of mind. "Never let your guard down." The result is that I am very accurate. It can also be said that when measured against other pharmacists, I am "slow." With the result of that being, I am "under-employed."
However, I sleep well at night knowing that I have done my best to do the quality job that patients deserve. My handcuffs are made of silver, not gold, and they will be released.

Anonymous said...

Flu shots take priority because of the large reimbursement for the injection fee. It's all about numbers.

Anonymous said...

I feel your pain. We have all been there at some point as a pharmacist. If you say you haven't you are a lying sac of crap.