Friday, November 21, 2008

As Predicted, It All Evened Out

Wednesday was a great day at work for me. I predicted that my next day would probably be pretty shitty to balance things out. Yup.

I knew things were going to be bad even before I left my apartment this morning. When I pulled the laces tight to tie my shoes, they broke right off. No big deal I thought. I'll just take the laces down a loop and tie them from there. Once again, they broke. I was running a little late and had no time to tear apart my apartment looking for new shoelaces, so I brought them down one more loop, knotted both ends and went to work with my left shoe functioning basically as a slipper. Great start.

Within 5 minutes of walking into the pharmacy, everything started to go wrong. I spent an inordinate amount of time on the phone today trying to clarify poorly or incorrectly written prescriptions. I got a whole bunch of weird insurance rejections that I had never seen before, and I had to call to get those clarified. One customer had Lumenos insurance, and it literally took me 30 minutes to get 3 claims through due to a seemingly never ending string of "host processing errors."

A little later in the day, I had to apologize to a customer for one of Betty's prescription errors. It wasn't major (we gave her the wrong box of syringes), but I felt bad about it because I don't like it when the pharmacy makes any kind of error. Betty laughed about it. I still don't quite understand the humor in the situation.

Later, one of our other stores called to ask if we had any Fragmin in stock. Luckily, we had just ordered a box a day before to fill a Fragmin script for someone else, so we did have a few syringes. I let the other pharmacist know this, and she said she'd send the customer over with the prescription. About an hour later, a new customer to our pharmacy showed up with a prescription for Fragmin. As I was told over the phone, it was for more than we had in stock, but we had enough to get the customer through the weekend. Therefore, we dispensed what we had and ordered another box for Monday. The customer was happy.

About an hour later, another new customer showed up with... you guessed it... a Fragmin prescription. We had already given out all our Fragmin, but when we relayed this information to the customer, she told us that another pharmacist called and checked to see if we had it in stock before she came. Yup... The first Fragmin customer wasn't the one I was alerted to on the phone. The other pharmacist had been talking about this second customer.

Now, we're a pretty busy pharmacy by our company's standards. We fill about 2,300 scripts per week (which is down 20% from a couple years ago). Therefore, we see a wide variety of prescriptions. Do you know how many Fragmin prescriptions we received in this calendar year? Three! All three were presented to our pharmacy within the last 3 days. I never thought in a million years that two customers would come to our pharmacy looking for Fragmin on the same day. To further illustrate how rare Fragmin is, the customer had checked half a dozen pharmacies and came up empty on all of them. It's just not a popular drug, and most pharmacies don't stock it due to its very high price.

We ended up calling an on-call doctor to get the prescription changed to Lovenox, which we still didn't have the entire quantity on. The whole situation was frustrating to all parties involved (the patient, the doctor, and us).

Our clerks spent most of the day acting like they never worked in a pharmacy before. I have a lot of patience when it comes to helping them figure out a tricky insurance or helping them handle difficult, hard to understand customers. However, when they scream out "I NEED A PHARMACIST UP HERE!!!", and I go running to the front expecting to handle some kind of emergency only to find that they accidentally clicked onto a different window than the one our pharmacy software is on, I get quite annoyed. If you've been working in the pharmacy for a year and still mess up 50% of the time at taking a prescription number and putting in a refill, perhaps you should find a different department to work in.

In addition, when someone approaches the counter and says, "I have a question," please don't immediately scream for the pharmacist. Seventy-five percent of the time the customer simply wants to know something as trivial as which aisle the vitamins are located or where the restrooms are. You don't need a pharmacist license to point your finger to the desired section of the store.

At the end of the day, I knew alcohol would be in order for tonight. As I finish this post, I'm halfway through a 6-pack of Killian's. No, it's not healthy (or classy like scotch), but it suits me tonight.


Anonymous said...

Don't y'know...when you're checking outdates and you come across a product outdating soon so set it aside to be returned or disposed of, and you enter the drug on the to-order wantbook for next special delivery...why, of course, the next patient to come through the door has a new prescription for it, no one can find the soon-to-expire drug after fine-combing the place, and the wholesaler's message comes back 'back-order' for two months.

Sometimes, the fleeting feeling that one day when 'all's right with the world' is illusionary at best and 'only in your mind'. Suspect daily psych meds might help, or at least a good half-hour of opiate-receptor stimulating exercise.

thetwitchytechnician said...



At least it's not PBR.

Seriously though, some Duvel. Dunkel. MAGIC HAT!

Pharmacy Mike said...

I like Killian's.

The best beer though is Grimbergen Double Ale. It's a little pricey and hard to find, but it's soooooo good. Dangerously good.

pharmacykid said...

Betty!! I missed her and her antics. Hope she's doing well. It's good to see you're posting with more regularity. I, on the other hand, have been so bogged down with school and such. Sometimes I wish I possessed your basketball and study skills.

thetwitchytechnician said...

Truthfully, I can't stand reds. I've tried several just to make sure it was the actual brew and not the brewery. "Blonde" ales and just about anything Belgian makes me a happy camper.