Monday, October 30, 2017

An Appeal to Reason

Here we in the pharmacy pushing flu shots like mad... mostly because The Authorities in upper management keep the pressure on. We get an email or phone call or fax about it every day.

"TO ME," she emphasized by touching both hands to her chest, "it's about patient safety." That's what one clinical pharmacist in our company told me awhile back. I told her that's ridiculous. It's all about company profit, I retorted. She knew I was seeing right through her bull crap story and admitted that yeah, it's a little bit about profit too.

That one event and her admission made me wonder... it made me really wonder what OTHER issues are not at all about how they're presented to us. Obviously a company has to make a profit to survive. No one questions that. But running a pharmacy like a grocery store is just never going to work. "It's no way to run a railroad," as some would say.

You can't work pharmacists and technicians to death. You can't expect that pharmacy teams will continue understaffed without major issues. Eventually, somewhere, somehow, a very frightening mistake will emerge. Someone will get the wrong medication, the wrong dose, or there will be an interaction that's not caught... AND SOMETHING REALLY BAD IS GOING TO HAPPEN... all because the pharmacists and technicians are excessively burdened due to lack of sufficient labor and fueled by discount card nonsense.

It's coming. I guarantee you it's coming. Someone in upper management needs to step up and say "ENOUGH is ENOUGH. Our bonuses are NOT more importanat than people's lives." Someone in upper management needs to say, "This is not a grocery store. This is HEALTHCARE. We MUST treat it differently."

I know there people in upper management positions that read this blog. Seriously, LISTEN to ME:

it's time to stop rolling the dice. Your number is just about up. Step away from the ledge. Start caring about your patients (or customers as you like to call them) by caring about your pharmacists and technicians. Whatever business model you're using that says it's ok to run labor like the fictional Durham in Sinclair's The Jungle, throw it away.

The irony that Sinclair's work is about a company in Chicago that abuses it's workers AND the fact that present day Chicago is making sweeping changes with pharmacy labor hasn't eluded me. It shouldn't elude you either. 

Do the right thing. Step up, pull up your adult britches, and DO THE RIGHT THING.


Anonymous said...

Burnout is happening in healthcare thanks in large part to all these manufacturing initiatives. Yes, processes need to be streamlined, but additionally you are dealing with processionals who have gone to school post high school to learn a field and many with advanced degrees. It seems the pendulum has swung too far with MBA's running the show and less with physicians, nurses and pharmacists having a say.

Anonymous said...

As a medical practioner, used to give 500 or so flu shots a year. Then the pharmacies started giving them, and due to big volume got the vaccine in a month before the docs, and probably at a lower price. Then the pharmacies started competing to get the folks a shot before their competitor down the street gave it and push them earlier and earlier.
Docs then got stuck with loads of expensive vaccines that came in too late to give.
So no pity here. You choose to work there.

Anonymous said...

The companies don't care. When mistakes are made they will simply blame the pharmacist and/or the tech, fire them and hire someone else. Profit is their bottom line.

Ms. Donna said...

I am not one of the Authorities. But I can tell you they listen to lawyers. Unfortunately, lawyers don't get involved until someone is hurt. Or dead. I am not an attorney, but is there some way, readers, to get one involved now? Or an appeal to a pharmacy professional organization?

I am just a lowly pt. All I want is for pharmacists (and doctors and nurses,etc.) to give me good care.

Anonymous said...

If you’re running w/ one RPH & one tech with ten waiters and 8+ flu shots (or shall I say assorted immunizations) on deck, how do the (in most cases), non RPH, brilliant (HA HA), higher powers (crossing my fingers) that be suggest you handle the situation? OR How do you, the brilliantly trained RPH who’s responsible for all that happens while on shift think it should be handled?

Anonymous said...

Here's how it should be handled (but, sadly, never will be): the higher powers should have to spend one day a month as a tech, maybe even the only tech, with only one pharmacist. The two of them have to handle an entire 8 hour shift. The 'authority' for the day must meet his or her self-set goals for flu shots, scripts filled, phone calls answered. Seriously, what are they really doing up in the ivory tower that they can't roll up their sleeves for ONE day a month and really be part of the team and personally work toward meeting the goals they set? When they (obviously) can't meet their ridiculous metrices they set and actually experience WHY maybe they'll change their minds.

Oh wait hahahahahahahahaahahahah that will never happen! Silly me!

But in a perfect world it would.

But then again I'm sure the pharmacist that day would wind up killing them, instead of the patients.

Anonymous said...

There's a chain pharmacy we use as it's around the corner from our house. Customers, including us, have often commented on how rushed they are. The pharmacist has told me that schedules are set entirely by computer and that whoever programmed the thing seems to have no idea when the pharmacy is busy.

Scary stuff.

Anonymous said...

Speaking as a soon to be former tech, I can tell you that we want to take care of people. That's why I got into the field in the first place, anyway. Along the way, it has become clear to me that the company has no clue (for the most part) what daily pharmacy work is. Every store has a different patient base (mine has a large elderly population, they require extra time), so things do vary as far as what it takes to get the job done safely & correctly.
This time of year, the RPH's have to go out do so many "flu shot clinics" in the community. Do we get extra tech hours to input all those forms? Nope. None of the people I work with mind the extra work, we just want the time we need to do it. Without mgmt. giving us the stink eye as they stare at us from frozen foods!

Unknown said...

Nothing will happen until
a) pharmacists and/or techs unionize and actually get some clout behind their grievances
b) some politician or celebrity gets maimed or killed due to a drug error a la Libby Zion (and even then, it's questionable if anything will change long term; they'll just throw the pharmacist under the bus and life goes on)