Monday, June 15, 2009

Inside Voices, Please

I'm sure this post is going to make my pharmacy readers cringe.

I went to my local pharmacy today for my Sarcasma refill (without it I'd have no patients, or friends, or staff).

Local Pharmacy was hopping. Very busy. Long line, only one poor pharmacist with dark circles under his eyes was working. Looked badly understaffed and overworked (I later found out they had 1 pharmacist and 2 techs call in sick today). And the pharmacist was frantically trying to keep from tearing his remaining hair out.

Finally there was only one elderly lady ahead of me, and I patiently waited my turn. Suddenly the cashier turned around and yelled "I need the pharmacist to counsel over here!" The bleary-eyed pharmacist actually was holding a phone receiver to each ear when this happened.

He paused for maybe 5 seconds, put one of the phones on hold, glanced at the computer screen next to him, and then yelled across the room: "Verapamil, uh, might make you constipated, or make you lightheaded!"

Thank heavens it was only for blood pressure pills.

16 comments:

pharmacy chick said...

No, he should have said, might make you lightheaded WHILE you are constipated!

That was a bad deal. I've been there. We can't pick our work load. At least if you are sick, you can call your patients and cancel. If the pharmacy is infected with ebola, everybody still comes in.

My apologies.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

I know, I'm actually not criticizing the pharmacist. It wasn't the best thing for him to do, but we've all been in his shoes some days, too.

RxKerBer said...

We've all been there, but not good on patient safety nor on HIPAA. My techs tell the pts I am on the phone (or 2) and will be with them ASAP and to wait at the counseling window. Which most do patiently. I know all about being understaffed. We are. forced to work this way. Only 1 RPh on duty at any time. And they want us to work 14 hour shifts ...no breaks. I refuse. So my parter RPh works the 14hrs and we split the other days.

Ok I am rambling. But I am honing in on our superMDs identity. I believe your practice is in my city. Don't worry, I am not that great of a detective. If I find you, I'll bring some tomatoes.

Rx Intern said...

Yikes, an understaffed pharmacy is a train-wreck waiting to happen.

Luckily, he did manage to get his 2 second counseling Verapamil decently correct, minus the whole "this is how you take it" part. I hope the man stayed alive throughout the whole ordeal.

In a couple years, I'll be in those shoes...and nothing will be able to prepare me for it.

yay said...

I don't think I've ever deliberately done that, but I'm sure I have inadvertently at some point. The main problem with privacy in the pharmacy environment is warding off nosy parkers who like to stand as close as possible when I am trying to talk to someone.

Then at the other end of the spectrum I once had a customer who would walk past the pharmacy on his way to the newsagent and bellow from the doorway "Could you make up my Viagra please? I'll be back in 5 minutes!"

Frantic Pharmacist said...

Ah yes, "counseling" takes many different forms! It took me years, but I no longer feel guilty about telling people who want to talk to me, "get in line."

Anonymous said...

Wow, that poor pharmacist!! But, wow...that poor customer, I hope he/she wasn't easily embarassed.

I'm a tech, and when such incredible business ensues, I inform the patients that the pharmacist needs to counsel them, go to the that window...its their choice to hang around or not. The pharmacist has eyes and will help the peeps as they come up/time allows.

DreamingTree said...

Grumpy, how are people figuring out who you are (first patients, now RxKerBer)? I assume you change incriminating details, and it's not like you share specific details about yourself. It must be the tomatoes. Or, maybe most neurologists are boring (ours sure is...) -- narrows the field.

Lovely, CPhT said...

Your post reminded me of the chemist sketch on Monty Python's Flying Circus ...

"Okay, who's got the boil on the bum?"

Lipstick said...

Ouch...poor guy. Hugs to you, Dr. Grumpy for the phrase "I waited patiently in line."

Ladyk73 said...

I was interning at a pharmacy one summer. The pharmcist yelled out to the customer.... "Mr Smith, is this hemorrhiod cream to be used on the inside or outside?...." I think the insurance paid for one but not the other or something.

This was WAYwayWay before HIPAA or any of that stuff.

I still remember the horror on the guys face (he was maybe early thirties)

pharmboyrx said...

Glad there is a doctor who can appreciate having a bad day at work. Most of the doctors who come to my pharmacy, including the one tonight, seem to think we are just waiting around with out thumbs up our butts for them to come in all day.

I always try to make time to counsel, but sometimes it doesn't happen that magical way they make us think it will in school.

Dragonfly said...

Maybe I need some Sarcasma (though I have mellowed in the last few years)

Jaded Rx Intern said...

... and cringe I did.

I understand where that pharmacist is coming from, but yikes. Not quite the situation I would want to be in, but pray I never have to find out.

Wellescent said...

In our part of the country, it seems as if every pharmacy operates in a perpetually understaffed manner with every pharmacist I have seen frantically and hopelessly trying to keep up with the orders.

What a way to manage the risks associated with ensuring appropriate medications for patients!

Anonymous said...

Dr. Grumpy, I'm cringing while being somewhat amused at your recent posts. What is so tough is that I think pharmacy is the only health site that doesn't have services by appointment. Compounded by understaffing as well. This is why I am avoiding working retail pharmacy by the plague.

 
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