Saturday, August 18, 2007


All things considered, a good pharmacy intern is probably the most valuable employee in a pharmacy. For those who aren't familiar with pharmacy or the concept of an intern, an intern is a pharmacy school student. The reason why they are so valuable? They can do anything a pharmacist can do except make the final check on prescriptions. An intern can type prescriptions, fill prescriptions, take phone-in scripts from doctor's offices, take prescriptions off the voicemail, transfer scripts in and out of the pharmacy, and even counsel patients under the supervision of a pharmacist.

A few months back, our store had an exceptional intern. He was an extremely bright kid going into his last year of pharmacy school. He had more years of retail pharmacy experience than I did. His clinical knowledge was outstanding, so I felt perfectly at ease allowing him to counsel anyone with a question, and if he was unsure of something, he'd always ask for my help. In addition, he could fill scripts so quickly that he could do the work of 2 great techs. He worked every weekend while he was on rotation, and let me tell you, his presence in the pharmacy made those days a whole lot more manageable.

Now, this kid was above and beyond probably any intern you'll ever meet. However, in my experience, I've never met an intern who wasn't a valuable addition to the pharmacy. With that in mind, I plead with my fellow pharmacists to appreciate the opportunity to work with students. In addition, remember that they are watching and learning from you. The future of the profession lies in the hands of pharmacy students. If you demonstrate hardwork, dedication, and a willingness to help fellow employees and customers, your interns will be likely to follow your example. On the otherhand, if you are lazy, uncaring of patients, and treat the profession as nothing more than an assembly line type job, your interns will either do likewise or, worse, lose respect for you.

Don't believe you can have this kind of effect on a student? The next time you answer a customer's question on a medication take a glance over your shoulder. I guarantee that your pharmacy intern is listening intently to every word you're saying.


pepperpourri said...

Haha. What you said was very true. During my training period at the hospital pharmacy, whenever the pharmacist is giving counselling, and if I had the opportunity, I would stand beside/behind her and listens to what she says. After listening to them, I would kind of get motivated and tell myself: I got to go back and study more!

There's this hospital pharmacist whom I really admired. She's trilingual and she counsels patients as if they were her friends! I was amazed at how she could switch from one language to another so fluently.

And yes, I listen to every word they say, haha.

greensunflowerRN said...

I could have written the same post about nursing students. In professions where on the job experience is so important, it is insanely busy, and there is a shortage, we need to encourage up and comers as much as possible.