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Needy patients during first of the month

·3212 words·16 mins

Its the first day of a new month after a three day weekend. For those of you not in the profession, this means hellish busy for us retail folk. It also means that I’m stressed out, fucking pissed off at the world, and about ready to chuck my phone handset at some idiots face for calling me 100 times asking me if his vicodin is ready. Yes, I’m writing this at work. I’m taking a breather so I dont end up murdering someone with my bare hands in the store.
This brings me to a big pet peeve of pharmacy, the needy patient. Anyone who is worth their salt in retail knows exactly what i’m talking about. Usually needy/clingy patients arent a big deal, unless they decide to come in during one of these hell-days.
All pharmacists dont mind getting asked and answering questions. Its part of the job, and to be honest we love answering a good question that the public may have. We have medical knowledge that the public does not, and really its why people love us the way they do.
However some people take our generosity and good nature to extremes. I call these ‘needy patients’ becuase they are just that, needy (and ‘fucking pests’ doesn’t sound as nice).
They are the ones who think that everyone is incapable of taking down refill numbers but you, and will sit there on hold for 1/2 hour waiting to talk to you (and you only) just to give you 6 numbers that any moron could write down.
They come into the pharmacy and wish to talk to you and you only. They will sit there and hover at the counter (refusing to take a seat) as you have Rx’s flowing out of your asshole just waiting to talk to you. When you finally talk to them (thinking its some really hard question or concern) you find out that they wish to ask you questions just to hear themselves talk. Like if they should take their lisinopril with or without food (even though they have been on the medication for 10 years). The restraint to not rip their faces off and shit down their gaping hole depends on how busy you are.
These patients are incapable of wiping their own asses without calling you for advice. They have somehow trained themselves to be totally incapable of basic care needs without consulting you, their PERSONAL pharmacist. Some people might be flattered by this and think that I’m just an asshole; I want to see those people deal with a needy inconsiderate dickwad blabbing to them over the counter while they are up to their nutsacks in work as 20 other people are screaming at their rx’s are taking too long to fill.
To make matters worse, these patients somehow think they are better than everyone else just because they know you by name. They will bust to the front of the line with their plastic baggies full of medication, and ask that you fill them first because they are “in a hurry”. Like watching a retard sitting in the rain, you dont really have the heart to tell them to get in fucking line, so you just put up with it. Know what happens when you let a retard into your house during a rainstorm? You get a retard on your doorstep during EVERY rainstorm. Sometimes being kind earns a turd in your punchbowl.
Then they start treating your staff like shit. Stuff like demanding that they put you through when you are hold with a doctors office, being rude and inconsiderate in the process. They feel that YOU are their personal pharmacist, and you should answer their every beck and call. They will catch you in a moment of weakness and manage to get your home phone number. They will call you at 2am to get that Rx for their blood pressure meds filled becuase they were ‘too busy’ to stop by the pharmacy during the day and are out.
They have zero consideration for your feelings or your job. They will walk all over you not out of anger, but out of sheer stupidity and lack of foresight that they are being a pain in the ass. Yet we put up with it out of the sake of the profession.
All pharmacists have patients like these, and during days like today, the urge to tell them to leave you the fuck alone grows beyond the level of control that our profession has ingrained upon us.
To all the pharmacists that are reading this after a hellish day of work, I salute you.

Comments #

Comment by Jess on 2007-09-04 15:31:08 -0700 #

Whoa, did I read that right? Someone got a hold of your home phone number? How in God’s name did you let that happen?
At my previous job my work email was leaked to a few patients through the “Customer Advocate” program I was participating in. I was getting about 10 emails a day asking me, “hey, can you check on my perscription”, or, “Can you ask my doctor to OK a refill for…” The email was bad enough. I can’t imagine these freaks getting a hold of my phone number.

Comment by Pana_T on 2007-09-04 15:43:55 -0700 #

One of my all time pet hates.
“I want to speak to the pharmacist.”
“Can I help you with anything?”
“Hello, Pana_T speaking”
“Yes, do you sell Vitamin C tablets and how much do they cost?”
“Umm, we do, but I’m not sure how much they are, I’ll just get one of the girls to help you out..”
On HOLD for 5 minutes.

Comment by Brian (The Pissed Off Tech) on 2007-09-04 17:58:46 -0700 #

Wait just a second! Did you really give out your home phone number to a customer? Holy shit I would never! Id rather have a buffalo take a diarrhea dump in my ear! Your a better man than me sir.

Comment by Grasshopper on 2007-09-04 18:16:25 -0700 #

Sorry you had a day. I feel your pain.
Last year on this day, I filled in at a small town, big population town that has two pharmacies. We filled around 400 and there were no time for questions. I needed new shoes after that.
Glad I just filled in at slow LTC pharmacy today…

Comment by The Ole’ Apothecary on 2007-09-04 19:47:50 -0700 #

Funny, but throughout my retail years, I was always in the book, and in a small town, too. NOBODY ever called me at home on pharmacy business. But, not only was that in a small, prim and proper town, that was many years ago. Today, I wouldn’t put it past anybody to call me or e-mail me with business-related matters.

Comment by pharmacy tech gone postal on 2007-09-04 20:00:26 -0700 #

We have a patient who can’t be handed more than 1 days supply of her numerous narcs at a time because she will take them all at once. So she comes in everyday, gets that days doses, takes them all then calls all day, crying hysterically and begging for more. I swear someday I’m gonna kill her.

Comment by G.T. on 2007-09-04 20:26:22 -0700 #

OOOH I had a bad Labour Tuesday. All four techs were scheduled to come in at 7:30 – half an hour early – to catch up the pile of prescriptions on the voicemail. ONE, ME, showed up. Two were innocently late. One had the audacity to call in! Plus the other two are N.S.B (not so bright), and the tech who relieved me when I toddled off to school was a newbie, never even been in a pharmacy before. First day ever. I feel sort of bad for the people I left…but i did not feel obligated to call and see how their day was going later.

Comment by Matt CPhT on 2007-09-04 20:51:18 -0700 #

Hey we had a wonderful sept 4. I love holiday weekends. I work at a CVS and eventhough we are much less busy than the local walgreens, we are understaffed on days like this. I hope you made it all the way through the day without snapping at anyone. We had the kind of day that you described plus a bag of chips. By a bag of chips I mean 4 insurance calls and 3 doctor calls. Once we got around to checking the voice mail and we had 6 messages. However, it makes the day worth it when you have those few very grateful patients that keep you from flinging that brand new AmbienCR pen at the person behind them.

Comment by KLORPh on 2007-09-04 21:03:35 -0700 #

I’ve been burned out by the ‘needy patient’ one too many times in my short 10 year career. I tend to be very distant now from all patients. Isn’t that horrible? I’m just sick and tired of so many patients who believe they are the ‘only patient’. Everyone’s a celebrity these days I guess.

Comment by kathryn on 2007-09-04 22:01:56 -0700 #

i have found the perfect solution for customers who want to push in the que.
i tell them that i will ask those waiting if its all right if i put them front.
as soon as i say this, ever so politely, they get very sheepish and usually say thats its alright they will wait.
i have on occasion had a customer who has wanted me to check with everyone, so i direct my question to those waiting, and ask them if this customer can slip in front as they are in a hurry.
it takes the responsibilty off the pharmacist and throws it open to those waiting.
you should try it.

Comment by Bill Bidwell on 2007-09-05 06:54:03 -0700 #

My favorite is when a patient asks for personal advice on an OTC after dropping off a Rx, then after talking to you in the aisle for 5 minutes, they ask if their Rx is done. I usually answer “No, because I’m here talking with you!”

Comment by BlueTech on 2007-09-05 07:49:15 -0700 #

Ah, the narc callers. It’s like the have the pharmacy on speed dial. I get em too. Nope, Dr. Dickwad didn’t call in your fioricet yet. Tough shit. Ever think of doing something for yourself, like calling the damn doctor? We don’t care! It’s not our “chronic headache” (read: out-of-control addiction), so piss off. And if they come to the front of the line, I look at them for a seconsd, and tell them they can either go to the back of the line, or go to CVS down the street and wait several hours to get their pills.

Comment by alberta71 on 2007-09-05 09:38:36 -0700 #

Seriously giving out a home phone number! ack…never never never. Anyway, we have a few very needy patients,most of them completely nuts. One rides in on her scooter,and if she corners you in the OTC with her ridiculous, non-sensical questions, you will never get out! We have nicknames for these people, and some clever ways of not dealing with them. If our tech sees we are being held hostage, she comes over and says there is a doctor on hold for us. Or, I just tell ol’ scoots that her questions are much too hard for me, and I turn and walk away!

Comment by fred on 2007-09-06 10:06:23 -0700 #


Comment by James on 2007-09-07 13:35:10 -0700 #

WOW! Initially, I want to say, “damn dude, how much do you earn?” Instead, I’m going to let it all hang out. Your a pharmacist that deserves. Right? Your a pharmacist that should be respected. Right? I’ll give you a background of my own. I was a cop for 8 years. If anyone has the right to complain….Try dealing with the stress of having to actually shoot and kill a person (versus saying your going to rip their head off) because they trust you and only you! Be glad that people respect you and your position in health care. Otherwise, if your unhappy, be a cop. I know of dozens of agencies that are hiring!

Comment by Daryl Heiser on 2007-09-07 17:02:36 -0700 #

I work at at grocery store pharmacy…I love the folk that show up right at opening of the gate 9:00am and say … ” Hi, I phoned in my prescriptions last night, after you closed, and left them on the automated system. I know it said they won’t be ready until 11:00am but I was in the store this morning and was wondering if they are done yet?”… So I say ” Oh, well let me check and see if the little elves that worked overnight got them ready for you!” …IDIOTS!!!

Comment by FilipG on 2007-09-14 08:51:05 -0700 #

“Know what happens when you let a retard into your house during a rainstorm? You get a retard on your doorstep during EVERY rainstorm.”
“NOBODY ever called me at home on pharmacy business […] many years ago. Today, [they wouldn’t think twice to do so]”
You get what you tolerate.
Doctors are getting killed along the same lines… I know for a fact that the main reason why many offices installed sound-proof glass on the reception area when HIPAA came around was NOT because of any privacy issues BUT specifically as a deterrent to the whole slew of patients abusing the good-will of the docs/staff. Many years of not *firmly* [re]enforcing office policies and good business practices had led to a situation where blaming HIPAA was the blessed-relief that all office-managers jumped on – considering the alternative of educating the patients that their actions were disturbing and counterproductive [read: playing lightening-rod].
You get what you tolerate.
Now even responsible and courteous patients do not feel ‘welcome’ and ‘cared for’ in a typical doctor’s office… It’s sad.

Comment by Rose on 2007-09-19 19:00:51 -0700 #

Huh…that’s happened to me before. I’m a tech and there’s this one customer who’s been trying to get me fired for 4 years (cause I caught her stealing…get this…BAND-AIDS)…but she’s super sweet to the pharmacist, calls for him and him ONLY (no one else can help her make sure that the number of tablets is correct), and treats everyone else like crap. In fact, the front store people cringe and hide when they see her come in. She’ll come in, stand right in front of you while you’re working and expect you to help her and not the line of people waiting before her. When I went over to help the next person in line aka the person who was there first, she threw a fit and proceeded to call me racist, rude, and wants me fired. I still remember the snickers of the other customers as they looked at her.

Comment by Mike C on 2007-09-27 23:00:18 -0700 #

Have you noticed that if it is a scheduled drug it is always plural..such as Somas, Xanaxs, Lortabs…you NEVER hear them say, “My Folic Acids or “My Tricors”. I tell people, “Life is about waiting” and drive thru’s have ruined America, these dumbass people will spend 10 minutes making sure they got their order right at some fast food chain but when it comes to the drugs that keep them alive they drive off and bitch later and cry to the store manager how they had to drive back since “YOU GUYS” didnt make sure ALL MY MEDS WERE READY”
These are the true “Choads”
of pharmacy.

Comment by WedgeTalon on 2007-09-28 19:57:11 -0700 #

I’m pretty new to the pharmacy world – just over 6 months since I started – but I am by no means a dullard. But try to convince our customers that. We are doing all the other pharmacies in our area a favour. At LEAST one in three of our patient calls starts with “Is there?”. Then there is “Is there?” and we of COURSE can’t forget “Is there?”
OH! oh! Then there’s Miss “These young doctors are KILLING me! I wish Ancient Doctor Who had a Questionably-Correct Commercial was still alive! The young doctors are KILLING me with these SYNTHETIC THYROIDS!! Which I’ve taken on-again, off-again for years! I want my REAL thyroid! But I don’t want to take the strength my doctor wants! That’s too strong! I cut them in FOURTHS! GET OFF MY LAWN!” Yeah, she’s fun.
Wish I could show you the letter she wrote to our “Pharmacy Director”. I swear she randomly underlined words in it. At one point she tried to use some sort of fireplace analogy and had an EPIC FAIL.

Comment by pharmacyintern 2010 on 2007-09-29 19:28:47 -0700 #

I had one a year or two ago while working at CVS as a tech, superbowl sunday from hell. Everyone and their grandmother coming in with huge amounts of scripts and when you tell them an hour or two they say fine they’ll be back and they’re waiting in line to see if the scripts are done 10 minutes later. We had 1 pharmacist, the robot, and 2 other techs running around trying to get everything done and it just has to be that everyone has a question for a pharmacist and/or their medication is new and therefore by NYS law, the pharmacist has to counsel the patient on the new meds, thus blocking up the flow so we’re running out of baskets for the scripts and the waiting area is full of people demanding their prescriptions. Guess what people, your just going to have to wait, the pharmacist is occupied and can’t verify the meds so I can get you out the door. I loved the one woman who looked like a strung out vicodin addict who was pissed because we had to call the doctor becuase they wrote a vicodin script with PRN refills and strength, so therefore we should just take your word for what it should be, yeah right. We have you by the balls because we processed the script and therefore can’t give it back to you, either wait till we can rush you and everyone else’s scripts to the front or go get a new script monday from the doctor. We finally beat the rush by calling the pharmacist’s sister, who just happened to be one of the night shift pharmacists at the store (it was a 24hr store) to come in and help us out. Was nice because soon afterwards we got another batches of scripts in and an ER calling from the other end of the state for a medication history as a patient of ours had a heart attack and was being treated there but had no records of his medications on him.

Comment by yard bitch on 2008-07-02 18:24:54 -0700 #

One New Year’s Day I was woken up from a hangover at about 7 AM by a needy hambeast demanding I come over and do some free yardwork for her. Seriously. She said I owed her for “all that money” she spends at the drugstore. First: I’m a tech. I’m not getting any “profit sharing” here. Second: we were losing money on her medicaid prescriptions and she was making us deliver them.

The Angry Pharmacist
The Angry Pharmacist
Started this site in 2005 out of frustration that pharmacy school does not prepare you for dealing with the ungrateful unwashed public. Was hugely popular until life called and I had to take a break. Now I try to provide low brow potty humor that applies to the pharmacy population at large. Except you clinical fucks, go play doctor with your white coats and snobby attitude.