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Professional courtesy and shitting where you sleep

·2049 words·10 mins

angryPharm.jpgAm I the only one who gets disgusted quite frequently at our own profession?  Take professional courtesy for example.

When a pharmacy calls me for a copy, even if its a chain whom I hate, I always make sure that copy goes into the fax machine as quickly as possible.  When a pharmacist is on the phone to ask a question or to request said copy, I treat that phone call as if its a doctor holding.  I drop everything and answer the phone. 

Why? Because its called professional courtesy and I strongly believe in not shitting in my own bed.  Eventually I will need a copy from that pharmacy, and I much rather would treat my colleagues how I would like to be treated. 

However, there are pharmacies in town who make me wait on hold for 20 min to request a copy, then take their own sweet fucking time faxing the information over (sometimes 2-3 hours).  After waiting by the fax machine (as the patient is pacing around the store), I call to get the “Oh, we’re really busy”/”I’ll get to it” excuse.  I’m fucking sorry, I’m /just/ as busy as you are however I tend to put people in my own profession (and doctors) a notch above the village idiot who is calling for his soma early.  Hi? Remember me? A pharmacist JUST LIKE YOU.

I’ve been tempted to drive down the road to the local chain(s) and go take a steaming dump on their counters for how some pharmacists they employ treat their own.  Sure, we might be competitors and by faxing copies you are in fact taking business away from your store, but take a step back on how this looks to the patient.  You make it seem like you really don’t give a flying fuck about the patient if he’s not getting Rx’s filled at your store (which if you work for a chain you very well could not).  Now, after 4 phone calls from me and wasting the patients (and my own) time, do you really think that patient will ever go your chain again? Of course not.  Do you think that I’ll go out of my way to help you out in the future? Of course not.

Time after time however I promptly answer copy requests from the chains in a prompt and courteous manner even though deep down I know that they really don’t give a rats ass about someone who they’ll see at the CE dinners, at the pharmacy association meetings, and the person who will advance them a box of Duragesic patches late Friday for a long-term patient of theirs.  Its really fucking disgusting at the lack of professional courtesy that some of the “pharmacists” show.  You put your own before anyone else, because by not doing so you are doing not only a disservice to your own, to your patients, but to someone who will cover for you in case you want some vacation time, insurance information/tricks, or someone who is going through the exact same shit you are going through.

So to the chains who take 4 hours to fax over one fucking piece of paper: Go fuck yourself, I filled that copy off of the bottle that your former patient brought in because you didn’t take care of business before sipping that coffee as you stare at your $100k script-pro that will soon replace you.

Oh, and see that awesome logo someone made for me up in the corner of this post? Yeah, those are pills he’s shooting out of that gun with the bandoleer of pill bottles.  Cool huh? Don’t steal it, its mine.  Coming to a coffee cup near you as soon as my fellow pharmacists stop pissing me off.

Comments #

Comment by PharmAd4lyfe on 2008-06-16 09:06:08 -0700 #

I agree whole heartedly.
When I was an intern, we had a major exodus from the company that work for. In short order, our useless DM was able to hire up all of the bottom-feeding pharmacists in the area that were currently looking for a “job.” (I use that term loosely, as they were just looking for a paycheck).
So it’s 9:15 at night. I should have been gone at 9:00. Useless RPh is doing something at the computer but obviously not checking the mound of scripts that some how piled up (for god’s sake woman! I was running the pharmacy, all you *had* to do is check… grrrr….) And another “rule” this relatively useless floater RPh had was that only *she* gave copies. Now, I fully understand as a pharmacist myself why you’d have such rules, however, being that I was more capable than her, it seemed vastly counter-intuitive.
At that point in time, Walgreens (who I don’t particularly care for) was on hold for about 20min waiting for a copy. I finally got fed up, picked up the phone, kindly waited for the other pharmacist who had to quickly step away to counsel a patient, gave her the albuterol and advair script, and apologized. Afterwards the RPh got quite terse with me, so I just looked at the tech who was there, rolled my eyes, and left.
The next day I come in and my manager and the other regular staff pharmacists were laughing so hard they were tearing up. Bottom-feeder floater RPh had called to tattle on me to the manager and said I should be reprimanded. My manager said that Useless Floater RPh would not be coming back…

Comment by Richard on 2008-06-16 09:30:44 -0700 #

i used to do recruitment and retention for a corporate chain. let me tell you something: i cannot stand my fellow pharmacists. rude, incompitent, impersonal and arrogant.
few pharmacists care about their profession (if they did, they wouldn’t be working in a grocery store).

Comment by John Johnson on 2008-06-16 13:12:18 -0700 #

The only pharmacies that consistently rank up there with independent pharmacies on customer service are Publix pharmacies (Consumer Report). If I ever sell my pharmacy, I would much rather work for a grocery store pharmacy than a chain – at least in the area that I live now. In a grocery store pharmacy, you also get to see your patients when they are not sick (and grumpy). Something to consider.

Comment by Crusty RPH on 2008-06-16 14:38:14 -0700 #

Why is it— you can leave a transfer number on the recorder for the CCP (Chain Store Puke) to tranfer by fax, but they don’t allow the clerks or techs to take the same number verbally also to be faxed later. The dumbing down of America strikes again.
As far as the recorders go, we have one of those answering machings with bells and whistles(now disconnected). After several months I realized that the patient no longer was able to easily talk the man/woman who is most trusted. We had become too busy to talk to those who trusted us above all others. Thirty years ago, when we first developed the “Most Trusted” profession accolade, we never thought about it. It was just part of our daily job. Now we brag about being “Most Trusted” and ignore those who bestowed the honor upon us. Well, that is not going to happen here.

Comment by The Ole’ Apothecary on 2008-06-16 18:24:43 -0700 #

Competition stops at the level of patients and fellow pharmacy professionals. We are in the healthcare business. We take care of our PEOPLE first. Right you are, TAP.
But, egad, how things have changed since I left the building! I never had a hostile pharmacy on the other end of the telephone. We were all of one mind: serve the patient first.

Comment by Richard on 2008-06-16 18:47:43 -0700 #

John Johnson,
Lucky for me, I own two independent pharmacies in Canada. The Canadian pharmacy environment’s a little different from what I’ve seen in the States. My family lives in a west coast US state and indie pharmacies do not exist. its all grocery stores and Walgreens. very, very sad.
up here, we still have lots of independents, but the big chains – Shoppers Drug Mart (aka the Walgreens of the North) and PharmaPlus – are busy multiplying like bunnies and introducing pharmacy patients to the joys of bulk food, photo finishing, 100% marked-up cosmetics, etc.
but the most enjoyable part of my job? calling a pharmacy for a transfer and having to YELL at the pharmacist because he/she is an idiot who doesn’t have any interpersonal skills. now, you may be thinking that people in glass houses shouldn’t shit stones and YELL to communicate. but having to deal with “technicians” (likely volunteers from the neighbourhood special-resident home) and THEN a pharmacist who is snippy and doesn’t have the decency to tell you his first name (like its a trade secret), you tend to lose all patience.
when we opened, the pharmacy that’s a block away from us would never answer their phone when we called from our main line. call display, they figured, would beat away transfer requests. so we had to call them from our fax line, cell phones, etc.

Comment by monica on 2008-06-17 18:23:25 -0700 #

I don’t think I’ve ever commented on someone’s blog. I came across your website because my boyfriend had mentioned how funny the shit you write is. I graduated from pharmacy school recently..last year to be exact. Anyway, I’ve never laughed so hard in my life…your entries make my day that much better. I was reading one of your entries to my brother the other day, and I laughed so hard I started to cry…who knows, I might have snapped. Ever consider writing a book about this stuff? Just a thought. 🙂
Have a great one, your not alone.

Comment by pharmacy chick on 2008-06-17 19:34:28 -0700 #

ok, we have this pharmacy big box chain about 1 mile from my store. Because of coupon offers we get back and forthers couponing us and them to death. The pharmacist there is a jerk and everytime he calls us for a transfer, he wants my name…”ok John, its Pharmacy Chick, for the 10,000th time. are you brain dead or something?”
Likewise, If I call for a copy he wants my phone number…never mind the fact I have his memorized. Big Doofus.

Comment by one_angry_tech on 2008-06-18 18:09:34 -0700 #

Egads.. I’m ever so glad I don’t have to deal with transfers.. just the asshole pharmacists, who upon hearing my friendly greeting of “Hi, this is Sara, technician”, bark at me “PHARMACIST!”

Comment by frank on 2008-06-20 19:57:17 -0700 #

Its funny that you call OTHER pharmscists unprofessional,
and then dump on the ones who work in a chain, grocery, etc. I have worked in many different settings, and naturally
there are good and bad in any type of practice. Those of you who thinks your fellow pharmacists are not in your league are
a digsgrace. The real problem lies in YOUR attitude toward others.

Comment by mdcnmn on 2008-06-22 05:46:20 -0700 #

I agree, I do get the phone for Rx tranfers as fast as I can. I work for a chain and in the area I work in the problem I have is not with other chain pharmacists but the indies. I have one in the area when I call I get told that He will call me back when he gets back in the pharmacy. I was under the impression that that a pharmacy could not be operating without a pharmacist present. I guess it depends on the area and the persons idea of professional curtusesy.

Comment by me on 2008-07-05 23:35:13 -0700 #

Cool huh? Don’t steal it, its mine.
hahahahaa. cute.

Comment by Sarah on 2009-02-06 19:07:20 -0800 #

Amen to this! I always make a point to quickly take calls for copies from other stores, but I wasn’t out of school two months before I found this to be the exception. And the few times where the technician is kind enough to say the pharmacist is out counseling a patient, I usually agree to hold or call back. But can you really expect other pharmacists to give copies in a timely manner when no one in their pharmacy can even answer the phone correctly? Sheesh!

Comment by phrex on 2009-07-16 17:06:08 -0700 #