Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My thoughts from Monday's drive to work

I hopped in my truck Monday morning to drive to Happy Drug World. I flipped on the radio and listened to the talk radio station that I like. A caller came on who was sort of boring, so I turned the radio off for a couple minutes.

That's when it hit me.

The sense of dread. I was not looking forward to my day at the pharmacy.

Usually I like going to work. We have a good team at my pharmacy. All but one of my technicians have been in pharmacy for at least six years. Three have over 20 years of experience. The other pharmacists are great to work with. I've known the pharmacy manager for over 25 years. He is the step-father to one of my high school buddies and is one of the people who influenced my decision to go to pharmacy school.

The dread wasn't due to the volume of work that I would be heading into. We are a fairly busy pharmacy. A lot busier than my last job where we filled 800 scripts during a busy week. We usually hit 400-500 scripts on Mondays. Thanks to e-scripts and our work flow, we don't feel like we are that busy.

The dread came from a different place. It was from that place deep down inside me that realizes that I really can't have an impact on the health of my patients in my current practice setting. At Happy Drug World my job is to fill prescriptions correctly. Counsel the patients. Repeat. No real opportunities to make a difference. If I take the time to make a difference, the work piles up. And up. And up.

It probably doesn't help that I just came back from the Community MTM session at APhA 2010. I met pharmacists who conduct MTM encounters on a daily basis. That's their job. No filling scripts. No walking out to the OTC area to show a patient where the store-brand cetirizine is. Just medication therapy management.

The pharmacists who work in the MTM arena looked like they were happy to be pharmacists. They discussed some of the cases where they have been able to impact the lives of their patients. I was sitting next to another retail pharmacist. We didn't have patient cases to discuss. We had stories about the customers who come into our pharmacies. It seemed like a totally different world to the MTM pharmacists. Maybe that's why I went to the meeting. To find out how to get to their world.

As pharmacists, we shouldn't dread going to work. We should have an energy, a passion about what we do. We just need to find out how to separate our profession from the product that we are tied to in the eyes of the public.

1 comment:

PTR said...

Hello Eric,

I think your story was well written and very sincere. It's something I hear every week from other Independent Pharmacy Directors/ Managers. There's ways I could probably help...directly & indirectly. Independent Pharmacies are under tremendous pressure to be productive and profitable - and do it with LESS!! Less staff, less time, less money. I encourage you to think about process and technology to help curb these common challenges. Take a listen to our PTR Pharmacy Podcast: I'd like to talk with you if you have time. 412 585 4001 - Mobile