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What are they teaching interns these days?

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I had a run-in with an intern that just made my blood boil.  I’m not sure if they do exit testing at these colleges before they give kids their PharmD’s, but someone obviously dropped the ball with this one.

I call for a copy to a Large Chain store.  Who answers the phone was an intern who could barely speak english, let alone speak loud enough to be heard over the ambient store noise in the background.   I asked for a copy.  He said to hold on as I could hear him ask the pharmacist on duty (who again, couldn’t speak english to save her life) how to do that.  I jokingly said “Oh, you must of just gotten your intern license” to which he said “No, I’m a graduate Intern”.  A part of my soul died a bit when I realized that someone who graduated from pharmacy school (but has not passed the boards yet) didn’t know how to give a fucking copy.

I sat there on the phone (not even on hold) for 5 min while the pharmacist bok-bok’d to the poor stupid intern on what information was needed to give a copy.  My patience died by the second.  The explanation given was not a “here is it on the screen because you are new to the computer system”, it was “He needs this info and this info, wait, lemme write this down, this info and this info”.  This is a fucking graduate intern, someone with a fucking PharmD!  Now I wont mention what school this dork was from since I ragged on them enough for their White Coat Ceremony, but be aware that I was not happy with what they had churned out for 500 zillion dollars in tuition.  You may have your fancy white coat, but we know how much that’s worth when giving a copy.

My question is WHY are pharmacy schools giving degrees to these idiots who obviously have no clue what they are doing in a retail setting?  Isn’t this what internship/rotations are for, to get this shit out of the way BEFORE they get the shiny doctorate?  Isn’t there some sort of exit test given to make sure these idiots are worthy of the degree?  Obviously not, painfully apparent.

When interns graduate, I expect them to know the basic duties of a retail pharmacist.  I could give a fuck if they can recite the kinetic data for vancomycin, that as useful as tits on a boar when I call for a copy and you don’t know how.

You should know upon becoming free of the shackles of formalized education:

  • How to give a fucking copy
  • What the basic error messages are for insurance companies and how to possibly troubleshoot them (missing invalid group number/person code/etc
  • What a fucking BIN and PCN number are
  • What the AWP and Direct Price mean
  • How to give a fucking copy
  • How to give a fucking copy
  • How to speak english so I don’t need a fucking translator or have you repeat 100 times
  • How to speak up and not mumble like some stroke patient
  • How to give a fucking copy
  • Determine how much anal lube is needed for the PBM’s reimbursement (ha!) of various drugs
  • How to take an Rx over the phone that’s given at 100 words per min
  • How to fucking SPEAK UP so i can HEAR YOU without turning my phones volume up to atomic.  Nothing bugs me more than someone who fucking mumbles softly on the phone.

Pharmacists who hire said idiot intern, what the fuck are you doing not teaching this buffoon how to give a fucking copy?  Why didn’t you rip the phone from his hands, apologize profusely, call him a fucking idiot (he is an intern) and give me the copy as to not waste my time instead of instructing him WHILE  I WAS ON THE PHONE.  My time is not so YOU can teach him something he should know.  Have him come work with me for a week, I guarantee he will either know everything about retail or realize that his PharmD and schooling was a big fucking waste of money.

Pharmacy school who received money to train said idiot, what the fuck are you teaching him?  This isn’t a wonderful clinical land where EVERYONE goes and does clinical work like you think.  Pharmacists should be geared towards RETAIL since that’s where 90% of us go.  I hear that students only get 1 class in retail pharmacy? Yeah, we know how much that helped.  If I taught that class, he would of failed it.

And to the people who think I’m too harsh: You’re not a pharmacist (obviously) so you have NO idea whats going on and should really just keep quiet.

Comments #

Comment by LTC-Tech on 2009-01-14 19:27:48 -0800 #

One of my pharmacists can’t do this stuff either. He’s had his RPh since the mid-80’s. My fellow techs & I completely run the show when it’s just us and him.

Comment by Google Account on 2009-01-14 19:31:22 -0800 #

Which pharmacy school did you go to? I pulled all my undergrad intern time in a hospital. The closest I came to retail was a drug info line on rotation. Yeah, Eckerds was a wake up call. I’m not surprised that hasn’t changed, retail is too pedestrian to teach it seems.

Comment by Radish on 2009-01-14 19:48:52 -0800 #

And to the people who think I’m too harsh: You’re not a pharmacist (obviously) so you have NO idea whats going on and should really just keep quiet.
Nyah, it’s the same in my industry. We get kids with computer science degrees who can’t do anything useful without being told where to click the mouse each step of the way. Education has been dumbed down so everyone can feel good about themselves instead of realizing thinking just isn’t their best talent–and it scares that shit out of me that pharmacy is the same way, because I do not want stupid, incurious, uninterested people filling prescriptions.

Comment by Mac2000 on 2009-01-14 19:50:01 -0800 #

You hit the nail on the head. Pharmacy administrators teach us the “golden” rules of clinical education. There is no mention of practical knowledge of our education here at the university. Your little friend there may have been a straight A student, but has no practical experience to speak of until now. many of these kids have never had a real job before; this is all new for them.
You’ll be surprised what will be turning up in your pharmacies the next couple years. I wonder how some of these people get into the program.

Comment by Martin on 2009-01-14 20:38:05 -0800 #

who says copy?

Comment by I’m also a pharmacy student on 2009-01-14 21:45:45 -0800 #

First of all, “graduate intern” does not mean that he graduated at all – they are most likely a first year student working for free at some pharmacy to fulfill school requirements, and he probably knew nothing at all. Since they are in a graduate program, that particular intern may have added “graduate” to make himself look special. (what an idiot…) Please note only some pharmacy students have prior experience in pharmacy. Some already has Ph.D or some come from a completely different field. Unfortunately there are socially retarded ppl in any graduate program at any time, and you just happened to get one on the phone.

Comment by Lipstickatthemailbox on 2009-01-14 22:11:24 -0800 #

LMAO about this one! (sorry) I really like your extensive use of the word “fuck.”

Comment by pharmacy chick on 2009-01-14 22:15:01 -0800 #

I recently got an intern who was at a different store previously. He was a grad. He had never taken or give an copy. He had never taken a new rx from a physician. He had never given a vaccination. This is a man who had finished school. What.The.Hell? I couldn’t believe it. Apparently all they taught him was clinical pharmacy. Shameful.

Comment by intern2010 on 2009-01-14 22:41:45 -0800 #

I have to say thankfully my school requires you to do hours in a retail setting after your first professional year and during rotations. Also the labs are half compounding becuase of the state boards and the other half is taking copies, new scripts being called in, dispensing, ect. So we get at least some experience. It doesn’t help though when you get people who can’t do those things but still manage to pass and barely speak english and with such a heavy accent that you can’t tell whether they are asking you for directions or swearing at you. I lived with a group of people like that for 2 years in college housing. How the hell they were going to survive in the real world I don’t know, they would get pissed at the lab faculty for telling them they needed to speak in alot clearer english, not just get angry and start yelling in vietnamese.

Comment by ScriptGal on 2009-01-14 23:00:53 -0800 #

AMEN! We had an intern for 2!! summers who was so inept that as an ASSISTANT I could do more than him. Dude couldn’t even fax a transfer let alone take/give one over the phone. Look out RX land…here’s what is coming.

Comment by KDUBZ on 2009-01-15 00:18:04 -0800 #

I unfortunately work at a higher volume location, and I hate it when I call the fucking Target that does 40 scripts a week and still hold for 10 minutes for the pharmacist. Yeah, they usually don’t know how to give a copy either (Not raggin on all Target folks, really its another slower chain that not everyone might know, so I chose a more national example). Hey, if the pharmacist is taking a dump….which they are entitled to do regardless of what happens to wait times, just let me know…I can always call back later.
And yeah, they don’t teach you shit about what you need to know in pharmacy school. Every pharm student should be aware that patients with questions don’t really want to wait for you to look it up in Dipiro, and 90% of the time the answer is not there anyways.

Comment by DKLA on 2009-01-15 01:20:42 -0800 #

You might have had an international pharmacist doing his time before the boards, or someone who stuck with only hospital work for his entire education (could be both…).
Either way, someone messed up on bringing this guy up to speed on what life is like the Corpo-Pharm world.

Comment by Google Account on 2009-01-15 07:46:27 -0800 #

Martin – who says ‘copy’?? You’re kidding, right? That’s standard pharma-speak for transfer…
When I was in school (pre-entry-level PharmD days) we had three 8-week rotations: hospital, clinical, and retail. All three were required. Now, rotations are 4 weeks, and you can opt out of the variety. It’s stupid. Interns aren’t learning how to do the job, just theory. Well, theory doesn’t work when you’re standing in front of a computer trying to figure out what to do. Practical experience matters. I learned more in my 5 years than the same school now teaches in it’s 6 years – the PharmD thing was just so the school can charge graduate tuition, as far as I can tell.
BTW, Vancomycin kinetics are linear – a third grader could figure out dose changes if they had to.

Comment by Lauren on 2009-01-15 08:04:06 -0800 #

I am a 3rd year pharmacy student at the school with the “white coat ceremony” and I will tell you that I am one of the few people in my class or other classes frankly with any type of retail experience. I have been a tech for 9 years and I had a pharmacist pretty much groom me for school. I know what I’m getting into and yes I know how to give a copy. The people that go into pharmacy school now that the shortage has been announced and they say HEY! go to pharmacy school, when you come out you will be guaranteed a job and you will make GREAT money. What they fail to tell people is that to do this job you have to have common sense not book sense and that it’s a must to be a communicator and a people person. I was on par with my fellow students until we started what they call the “IT” modules. This is where we get 3-4 weeks intensive study grouped on similarities. For example last semester we had 4 modules. Antibiotics, infectious diseases, cancer, and ear nose and throat. I am currently in diabetes. I am now excelling where others are completely lost because they don’t know brand and generics can barely tell you what the drug is for and when we go over soaps, they can’t relate the situations to what happens in the real world. I have gotten into many an arguement with my group mates because they try to quote the text to me and I say well guess what? Thats not what happens in real life. Also they are all under the delusion that they are not going to work retail haha! They all think they are going to be clinical pharmacists or do residencies. I try to tell them this isn’t realistic, that the majority of the jobs are in retail. But they aren’t interested in learning they think it’s beneath them and the professors do support the disdain of retail. So your intern was I’m sure rudely awakened to what life in retail is like and how far he still needs to go especially when people started yelling at him. This I’m sure is pharmacy school wide and not just mine because I have seen similar idiotic behavior from other schools during the summer while working as a tech. I do think it should be mandatory to work for at least 6 months at at least 20 hours a week retail before you get into school. I bet the admission application rate would finally drop instead of the insane 1 spot to 120 applications it is currently.

Comment by RxDawg on 2009-01-15 08:24:38 -0800 #

KDUBZ, I actualy had Dipiro as a teacher in school LOL. Believe it or not he was fantastic too. By far one of the most patient and clear teachers I ever had. Last I heard he was dean at MUSC (Medical University of South Carolina). Anyways, carry on ranting people.

Comment by Google Account on 2009-01-15 08:53:35 -0800 #

First of all, “COPY” is the way I learned it. Now, for all the dumb@ss clerks who answer the phone and think I want to use their copying machine–don’t answer the phone, please. So when I call anywhere outside my general area, I use the word “transfer”, just so those dumb@sses will know what the heck I mean.
But I digress….my pharmacy school ‘education’ never taught me anything about working in a retail pharmacy. I could diagnose and argue with doctors all day, but who the hell knew anything about third party billing and AWP. That stuff was for losers who couldn’t hack it in the educational or “clinical” world. So, after being dissatisfied after the first year of my very costly “education”, I sought out my own education…in a retail pharmacy. I ‘interned’ every summer, and began working during school so I’d know what the hell I was doing when I got out. My pharmacy school looked down on retail and cast it out like demon infested swine, so I had to get my own education. Here’s a hint to pharmacy students–if you have ANY inkling whatsoever that you might want to work in retail–get a freaking job in an actual pharmacy so that when you graduate, you won’t be one of those dumb@sses that give pharmacist a bad rep!!

Comment by nodrugs4u on 2009-01-15 11:17:30 -0800 #

I’m surprised yet I’m not surprised that the schools would pass off people like this intern as a PharmD. I bet you he may not know how to take/give a copy, but he can probably recite the entire monograph on the most obscure drugs from memory.
School in California have a retail rotation. This particular graduate intern has no excuse. TAP, I think I know which school you’re referring to. He is most likely an exception. Most of my experiences with graudates from this school has been that while they are not too strong on clincial knowledge, but they are great on retail pharmacy operations.
My interns (when I have them) will learn the computer system first before they are allowed to do anything. They will do literally EVERYTHING including working the cash registers and taking out trash. The interns were not and never will be at my store to merely fulfill their requirements before sitting for the boards. They were not and never will be allowed to treat my store as an ATM machine. They will learn (sometimes against their will) how the retail pharmacy works and how to make sure of that. Otherwise, turn in your smock and badge and don’t expect a decent reference from me.
I have been a pharmacist for only 4 years. While I am not the king of retail by far, I must say, they don’t make them like they used to. This is particularly alarming since the competition for pharmcy school admission is much more fierce than when I applied.
I call for all the preceptors to consider the performance of your interns when signing off on their hours. Don’t sign them unless their work is satisfactory (we are not suppossed to).

Comment by Cathy Lane RPh on 2009-01-15 15:05:07 -0800 #

Heyyyy, give us newbies to retail world a break.
I mean, c’mon. How’re ya t’know that the guy is not 1) grad from a foreign school, 2) really his first day at the job, 3) not a hospital or clinical or research pharmacist that knows vanco kinetics are NOT linear (remember 3rd spacing?), and the lingo of ‘copy’ is just not in the vocabulary, or 4) familiar to whatever computer system has been made available and cannot remember all the stuff that is required (and right out there plain as one’s nose on face on terminals at WM pharmacies), or 5) more likely cannot find the dang information on the computer?
(I mean, when I first started picking up retail shifts just over a couple years ago, we’d be so busy with what we were doing + I had to have techs access the information in the computer, that I’d ask the transferee pharmacist for his/her phone no. and have to call them back–which made me anxious, because I always pictured irritating patients breathing down my colleague’s neck, but…I couldn’t hold up the ‘show’ indefinitely on my end, either. So, my general apologies to those who requested transfers, when I started filling in retail shops!)
Yeahh, it seems the point is that TAP (as well as other pharmacists) have been in the trenches a little longer than some of us–to not still get up each morning to the grace of a new day in Pharmacy World, and may in fact be ‘fed up’ with what seems to be a ‘trend’ in new grads, but eventually we all gotta learn…we’re in the business as colleagues.
A deep breath and conscious placement of a smile on the face sometimes seems to help in trying moments, and believe me, sometimes that ‘smile’ was plastered so long during the shift that my cheek muscles ached at the end of the day! And, sometimes in places I worked a few days in a row or long enough someone could recognize me by my deep intake of breath when I answered the phone!

Comment by Google Account on 2009-01-15 15:47:24 -0800 #

This is why I love the fax machine. they can fax it to me. I don’t have to understand non-english. not accented english…NON-enlish.

Comment by Nascently Angry Pharmacy Student on 2009-01-15 16:01:15 -0800 #

On the subject of pharmacy students and being useless, I am pleased to report that, on January 15th of the second year of my schooling in pharmacy (approximately 18K later), I finally had a lecture about drugs. Rest assured, though, that my white coat ceremony took part in the first month of class.
So far, that’s about 18K well spent.

Comment by Katie on 2009-01-15 16:24:28 -0800 #

Most of my formative Intern years were spent in a state that allows a VERY limited role for interns. I was not allowed to take prescriptions from the phone or voicemail. When on rotations, I picked up hours in a different state, and had to learn how to do all those things.
Sure, I learned in school… but not being allowed to do jack as an intern, you sort of get out of practice.
Not that it excuses not speaking english. Additionally.. I would think the logical thing would be to hand the phone to someone who knows what they are doing. Then teach. As you pointed out.

Comment by Shalom (R.Ph.) on 2009-01-15 17:03:21 -0800 #

@Angry: I’ve been working retail for 12 years now, and I still haven’t figured out what good a PCN is. Yeah I know it stands for Processor Control Number, but there’s no rhyme or reason as to when you need it and when it doesn’t matter. I think Argus is the only one that uses it consistently.
@Intern2010: Sounds like you are at the same school I went to (it’s the one off the 263). Give Dean K. my regards, if so.
Unrelated things that pissed me off today:

  1. Fer-In-Sol. Has anyone else noticed that they’ve changed it from 75mg/0.6ml to 75mg/ml? I’m sure they’ll have some excuse, like this way all their dropper-based products have the same dose or some such nonsense. In reality, of course, all this does is give you fewer doses per bottle. Did they reduce the price commensurately? Did they hell. All this is is a disguised price increase… they couldn’t charge any more for the candy bar, so they put less chocolate in it.
    1a. Discontinued generic [tri|poly]vitamins with iron, so I have to dispense the brand even though the state only reimburses for the generic.
  2. Independence Blue Cross. Plain white card with just an ID on it. No RXBIN, no PCN, no group, no nothing. Guess that it’s FutureScript; process it, and it rejects with a message to use a different PCN, except that it’s the same one that I already used. Call the number at the back, it gives you Medco. Medco spends ten minutes on the phone with me trying to find this patient. Finally says, maybe it’s Caremark? Puts me on hold, comes back five minutes later to tell me she just called Caremark and they don’t have her either. I spend 10 minutes online at to find a different phone number for them, except that they make it nearly impossible to find one. Finally get a real human being on the phone who tells me it’s FutureScript. I tell them I tried that already and it rejected. They give me the info that I was missing (person code, etc.) and it finally goes through. Patient suddenly remembers that she has another card with a different phone number on it. I tell her that her Synthroid will cost her $55.45 for 90 days worth. She says that can’t be, last time it was only $9.00. I remind her that last time it was in 2008. She refuses to understand this. I try to find her a number for FutureShit so she can call them and ask what’s up with the copay. Their website has no (0) phone numbers anywhere in the customer-facing part, other than a fax number. I finally dig out the prior-auth number and tell her to call that. Upshot of all the above was that I spent over 20 minutes on the phone, three transmission fees, one wasted label, and didn’t even get the script in the end. Fscking waste of time and money.
  3. Laser printers that jam.
    3a. Software vendors who are also label vendors. Our particular software prints the label at the top of a 13″ sheet of paper, with the monograph on the lower 8″. If the monograph is too long, it spills over onto a second label (and sometimes the spilled-over part is only a few lines). Nuvaring takes up *three* sheets now, with nothing printed on the last one but the freaking copyright statement/disclaimer. These label sheets are damn expensive. Why can’t they have the second page print on plain paper? Why for Ghod’s sake can’t they flip the label in the duplexer (which I bought on e*ay with my own money!) and print on the back of that? R*te A*d and the Chain of Verylarge Stores seem to manage fine with the same model printers and duplexers? I’ll tell you why not, because they sell us the fscking labels and it’s in their own self-interest for us to waste them. Every time I call and ask about this, they tell me it’s impossible, there’s no routine for that, and I should submit a software enhancement request, which is invariably denied: “No demand.” Shyeah right. I think I’m gonna call my uncle the VB programmer and see if he can write a TSR that would capture the text “(CONTINUED)” and send a command to the printer to flip the page rather than form-feeding it. Can’t be that difficult to change one control character.
  4. Doctors who can’t write. Nuff said. (There’s a reason why this particular paediatrician has preprinted blanks with all the common antibiotics and doses on it, and it’s not because he decided to do it on his own. He still manages to screw up one or two by circling the blank space between two doses. There’s also a reason why I have his fax number on speed dial.)
    Oh, and I almost forgot: 0. Windshield washers that don’t.

Comment by on 2009-01-15 18:39:17 -0800 #

Angry Pharmacist! You are the bomb! I read my own frustrations in every single entry.
I agree with you that the new students don’t know the “basics” of anything to do with the actual practice of pharmacy. It’s disheartening to watch our profession passed on to the booksmart, no common sense MORONS that just don’t get it. CLUELESS! And I get so pissed when these snobby ASSHOLES that call themselves pharmacists want me to address them as DR. Dr, my ass. I can work circles around your dumb ass. And I do know how to give a copy!

Comment by sinfulemerald on 2009-01-15 18:53:35 -0800 #

I hate pharmacy students who don’t know anything. I’m a 4th year intern and hell I could give a copy if I was allowed to. We had a new pharmacist in training and they didn’t even know how to type. It was so sad. My roommate gives doctors so much credit… he is in for a wakeup call when he starts to work in a pharmacy. 4th year and never worked in a pharmacy!!! It amazes me how little they know of how things actually work.
and yes grad interns are generally 6th year students or higher… before that they are just interns.

Comment by Steve on 2009-01-15 19:09:47 -0800 #

I’m also a pharmacy student:
I’m not sure where you’re from, but around me, if one hears the term “graduate intern”, that indeed means that said person has graduated pharmacy school, and hasn’t sat for their boards yet. So either the person in question really did graduate from pharmacy school, which would make him an idiot for not knowing how to give a copy, or he mistakenly called himself a graduate intern when he is actually a first year, which would still make him an idiot. Either way, he is an idiot 😛
Honestly, I’ve worked at my pharmacy for only a couple of years as an intern, and if I needed to, I could give a copy. Not saying I feel entirely comfortable doing so right now, neither giving nor receiving a copy, but I could absolutely do it.
No excuse for that whatsoever having graduated from pharmacy school.

Comment by Cranky on 2009-01-15 19:38:48 -0800 #

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, TAP, but it appears as though your problems may only be getting worse. That particular pharmacy school is going to be changing the curriculum next year to focus even more on the clinical aspect of pharmacy.

Comment by France on 2009-01-15 19:59:28 -0800 #

I have been an RPH for 25 years & can remember when I was green also but 6 years of hard classes & to be somewhat nonfunctional speaks for the dream world of College vs. real life.
I have enjoyed all aspects of Pharmacy but working for myself in retail has worked by far the best for me. I was headed back to DO school after 3 short years of working for a chain. I just didn’t see myself being just another SS # in the big corporate wheel for the rest of my life.
Know after all the $4 Walley World scripts plus all the cards from HELL that are a true bad dream I am beginning to hate this profession & I HATE to say this!!
My daughter was looking at going to St Louis College of Pharmacy & on that tour the host proudly showed us the nice Hall that was donated by Express Scripts. Little do they know or seem to care what is truly going on with our profession.
I was watching the CEO of Medco proudly speak on CNBC about how the make most their $$$$$$$$ from mail order rx’s. Also someone pointed out the provide 1/5TH the meds to seniors now. I hope that isn’t true but Pharmacy seems like it is not the place to be IMHO compared to what it was in my life.
Seems like we will be replaced much easier than a nurse, PA of Doctor. Hands on professions like specialized nursing seem to be a better bet for the future?
Anybody else sees this or am I just burnout LOL?
All day I just hear is that on the cheap list, how long is the wait here, or I don’t want it if it isn’t cheap. I never seem to hear anymore I want what is the best that really works. Which one of these 12 cards is the cheapest?
Now that Pharmacy has reached this level of everyone thinking they are entitled to everything for nothing I thing I am better of just coasting putting in my time at the slowest chain I can find. All this really does take one

Comment by tech_ge_pa on 2009-01-15 20:18:15 -0800 #

i am a pharmacy tech and the company i work for does not allow any intern to /a. take verbal orders over phone from dr/nurse /b. can’t take copys and /c. cant give copys i agree with you on the point that once they are licensed they still have to learn this for the first time. love your stuff good to know that i’m not alone in all these issues

Comment by PhunnyPharm on 2009-01-15 22:15:12 -0800 #

I recently graduated from pharmacy school in May with no retail experience prior to rotations. In pharmacy school I learned the basics of a transfer, pretty much all the info needed to do one. I was a little nervous the first time I did one though, just because it was new, so I can sort of see where a new grad-intern may struggle. Having said that, I never needed a play by play from a supervising pharmacist on how to do it, and never had it take more than a minute or two, even for my first one. I’ll agree pharmacy schools are focusing more on clinical now, but there is nothing wrong with that either. It is nice to have an excellent clincial background for the rare intelligent question from a patient. I am now working retail and have pretty much just had on the job training and have had no problem figuring out, I have also had no problem figuring out that dealing with the public, especially the eldery or substancing abusing public is no picnic. TAP helps to keep me sane after only a few months on the job knowing that other pharmacists deal with the same crap day in and day out, and that it’s not just me because I am new and doing something wrong. I have also yet to meet a pharmacist who doesn’t call a transfer a “copy” just to put in my two cents about that.

Comment by Girl that you don’t know on 2009-01-16 01:14:47 -0800 #

I think is the issue is less about training on transfers but more about interns posessing common sense/adaptability. Really, if you’ve ever been given the briefest lesson on what elements are required on a rx, how hard is it to translate that to what info you should get/give on a copy?
I’m a tech…and if the intern hands me a copy that’s missing something, I can figure it out in, oh, about 10 seconds. There have been times I’ve had to hand that slip back and point out that the quantity is missing. I mean, come on, what kind of rocket science is that?
When an new intern arrives, we can pretty much tell how good they will do within the first half hour. It’s not about about already knowing the software or how to take a phone rx. It’s about gaining knowledge quickly–and putting that knowledge to use.
The experiences I’ve had with some of our thickheaded interns gives me the comforting knowledge that if I ever do decide to go back to school for my PharmD, I’ll probably do “okay.”

Comment by The Ole’ Apothecary on 2009-01-16 09:22:18 -0800 #

Gee, do I get to have the final word? Probably not.
This is one of your best posts, TAP, especially since it has generated some fertile comments.
To shorten a very long story, I didn’t seek out retail experience until it was too late, i.e., until I had started out my career in hospital work, but quickly switched to retail because I thought it was simpler. I had to be babysat for a number of weeks to start, but eventually got up to speed and stayed there until I left retail in 1993, which turned out to be just in the nick of time.
It is my understanding that, here in Texas where I work (but as a hospital pharmacist), a pharmacy intern is authorized to perform all of a pharmacist’s duties as long as he/she is under the direct, continuous, personal supervision of a licensed pharmacist. Makes perfect sense to me. After all, the point of the internship system is to make the new pharmacist able to hit the ground running.
My suggestion, based upon years of personal observation and practice is that, if you want to be a great retail pharmacist from day one, work as a retail pharmacy technician for a few years. You will not only gain priceless retail experience, but you will also know full well what you are getting into if you launch into a retail career.

Comment by The Ole’ Apothecary on 2009-01-16 09:28:57 -0800 #

Oops,forgot—up until my last days in retail (so we are talking 1990s), the strange Latin word “copia” would sometimes appear on pieces of paper that crossed my bench. I think it was supposed to mean “copy.” I suppose “transfer” sounds a little more elegant. Same thing happened with pharmacist licensure nomenclature. The NABP used to call their pertinent application an “application for licensure by reciprocity,” but I guess that began to sound to medieval, so it was changed to “application for license transfer.”
…and the “ADMITTING” department in my hospital is now called the “PATIENT ACCESS” department. The name change did not confer one additional bit of ability on the dumb-asses that work in that department. They never did, and do not today, give additional access to anyone about anything. George Carlin said it all with his famous “shell shock” routine,” i.e., if we still called the condition shell shock, maybe veterans could get care more urgently.

Comment by on 2009-01-16 18:38:50 -0800 #

FYI Chainof Verylarge Stores uses Lexmark printers that don’t print duplex, even thou we all know they can. I too have some drugs where all that prints on a sheet of paper is “Copyright 2008 FirstDataBank.” If I paid for the paper I would be pissed.

Comment by UrbanRxTech on 2009-01-16 19:21:43 -0800 #

I am a tech in a small retail pharmacy and our state also doesn’t allow techs to take or make a COPY (yes, I know what that is and so do the other techs I work with), however if my life depended on it, I could do it confidently. In English. What bugsme are the damn patients who can’t speak english, and answer yes to everything.
Me: Have you had prescritions filled here before?
Them: Yes
Me: What is your birthday?
Them: Yes.
Me: Are you willing to pay $500 for a bottle of baby aspirin?
Them: Yes.
Me: Are you a moron?
Them: Yes.

Comment by The Ranting R.Ph. on 2009-01-17 06:52:40 -0800 #

I couldn’t find a contact link on your page, so I figured I would try this way. You have been an inspiration to me, and I’ve decided that ranting is best way not to lose what little sanity I have left,

Comment by rxman363 on 2009-01-17 16:44:10 -0800 #

While can identify with what you are saying. It is the fucking RPh of the 80’s who put us in this situation. As irritating as it may seem there is is no one to blame but the idiotic pharmacist of the 80’s who entered into 3rd party plans that lost money…but those incredibley intelligent individuals were going to make it up on volume. They now run pharmacy schools, “educate these modern wonders”. So as pathetic and irritating that intern was to you a pharmacist put him in school, a pharmacist educated him, now a pharmacist is training him. So who is the bigger fool us or those that put him on the phone with you?

Comment by OregonRx on 2009-01-18 01:20:09 -0800 #

Is there more than one school that does a white coat ceremony? Also at least when I graduated we did 6 5 week rotations and one of them had to be in each sector of pharmacy, retail, hospital, administrative, ambulatory care, and then two electives. And now it is 7 5 week rotations. No matter what program you do idiots are going to make it through

Comment by BamaRx on 2009-01-18 16:27:12 -0800 #

My college in a major midwestern city had the white coat ceremony the first day of the first year, before we attended ANY classes! I felt like a fraud then and I don’t understand why they do it.

Comment by new rph on 2009-01-19 22:51:32 -0800 #

I have to disagree with the people who say that you should work retail while in pharmacy school. While in pharm school I worked an easy hospital job. I knew full well what retail was like. That is why I avoided it while having a great time in college. If you have common sense you can pick up everything you need to know about retail pharmacy in the month of two between graduation and passing boards.

Comment by RxIntern on 2009-01-20 05:48:17 -0800 #

A “graduate intern” does NOT have a PharmD. PharmD programs are 6 years with 2 years pre-professional and 4 years professional. 2+4. However, after you’ve done your 2 years pre-professional and first 2 professional years, you get a “graduation” with a bachelors degree in “science” because technically you’ve been in college for 4 years so you deserve to graduate. Before the pseudo graduation, you are just an “intern”. After the pseudo graduation you are a “graduate intern”. The student you spoke to was either in his fifth or sixth year of pharmacy school and did NOT hold a PharmD.
Either way, after 5 or 6 years of Pharmacy school you have to be an idiot of you don’t know how to give a copy.
-More Competent Intern

Comment by Shalom (R.Ph.) on 2009-01-20 10:36:29 -0800 #

@Stilts: I floated for the Chain in question. Every store I worked at had a duplexer in each printer, and every single one was turned off. First thing I did when I hit a new store was to turn ’em back on. (How: Hit Menu on the front panel, then –> until it says Finishing Menu, select it, first entry is Duplex. Select that and change to On.) Those things are not cheap; why the hell did they buy eight thousand of them if they weren’t going to use them?
It didn’t make much difference with the labels (sometimes the HIPAA notice would print on the back) but the report volume was cut literally in half. In stores like 631 or 346 which could do 6-700 scripts/day, that adds up to a lot more room in the storage area. Not to mention a lot fewer trees consumed.
I remember in 641 when I turned on the duplexer and it promptly jammed. I felt around inside and pulled out a label from 18 months previous that had been stuck in there all that time. I guess that was the last time they’d used it.
(The second thing I would do was to disassemble the script scanner and carefully wipe off the front surface mirror. You’d be amazed how much shmutz gets in there… it scans a heck of a lot better afterwards.)

Comment by abc on 2009-01-20 17:17:34 -0800 #

haha I love reading these comments. Next time I am at work and I hear someone call and ask “I’m from blah blah and I’m calling for a copy” I’m going to reply “sorry our copy machine is broke but I think you can call the front end and use their copy machine”
The interns at my pharmacy have plenty of training with transfers because we have transfer coupons in our ads just about every week.

Comment by on 2009-01-20 19:49:00 -0800 #

We did an assessment of the English reading, writing, and speaking skills of our incoming students at the Pharmacy school where I used to work. It looked as if getting the kids up to speed would have taken three [3] levels of remediation BEFORE the darlings would be ready for traditional freshman comp. [Apparently, word had gotten around that this school, at that time at least, didn’t require TOEFL for non-native speakers].
We were told that having that many levels of non-credit courses would be “unfair” to the incoming students, since it would take them so much longer to get their degrees. We should find some other, faster way to mainstream them.
I left several years ago, so I don’t know what the situation is now, but when I got some of these students as juniors, I wasn’t sure which was scarier: that they were struggling so hard in my classes, or that they were sometimes the best English speakers in their families and had to do intense translation duties when financial or health crises came along.

Comment by ready to graduate on 2009-01-21 17:01:39 -0800 #

Geez, TAP, I am an intern that works full time for a large chain, and I can’t believe you have the balls to criticize one of us!!! (Sorry, just had to take a cue from the druggies and yell at you for something meant for a very specific subset of people.) We have a retail location close to my chain, and every time we call for a transfer we deal with the same thing. Retail pharmacy is a horrible, horrible idea in general for anyone who doesn’t speak English well. My former boss actually wouldn’t hire anyone who wasn’t both fluent and spoke without a strong accent, simply for the fact that it increased the risk of an error somewhere during the dispensing process. I can understand that a graduate intern may be doing a copy for the first time, but our pharmacy practice lab actually did simulations of copies and phone-in prescriptions. This combined with compounding/dispensing practice (we actually were given 5 scripts to “check” during our exams) and rotations our first and third year mean pretty much every student is proficient in these tasks. And this is from a school that pushes clinical, clinical, clinical pharmacy.
I can’t believe that some states allow techs to take copies. Not to insult anyone or say I don’t think a tech is intelligent enough to take one, but I would never trust a tech working under me to do so. There have been numerous times where I have caught errors in the middle of receiving simply because of my understanding of the drug. I wouldn’t trust someone without pharmaceutical education to do so (no offense, but it would be my 7 years of hard work and money towards a license down the drain.) That said, we have a tech at our store who, after 2 years of retail pharmacy, thinks she knows enough to hand out drugs without pharmacist verification, counsel patients on drugs, and correct both the pharmacist and me, so maybe a tech would be prepared enough for that (eye roll.) It makes you so much more appreciative of the good pharmacists, doctors, techs, etc that you have to deal with, though, when you deal with the bad ones!

Comment by Google Account on 2009-01-21 21:29:27 -0800 #

As an intern from the said pharm school, I feel a little sad to hear this story. Unfortunately, that is true. I have friends who are pulling 4.0 but have never worked an hour in a pharmacy.
When we take that retail experience class, we all get different amount of experience. One of my friends only did consultations and fill.
My first time giving a copy (during my 1st year), I open up the computer screen and ask the pharmacist what info he needed. He yelled at me and asked for the real pharmacist. From then on, I learn that copy = transfer.
On the bright side, at least he didn’t respond to your question with “No I’m not an intern. I’m THE pharmacist.”

Comment by Pharmacy Dick on 2009-01-22 01:07:52 -0800 #

TAP, that is not surprising. The Pharmacy Schools in my area are all going to total clinical focus, which is doing a disservice to our profession. I mean, don’t get me wrong, a good clincial background is great, and in my job, a necessity, but in retail, you need to be able to communicate at even a higher level, and be able to do the JOB. You have to be able to give copies, take prescriptions over the phone and do the JOB. We got 2 new grads this summer at the hospital I work at, and I would bet that they didn’t spend a second in a retail pharmacy. It always gets me all geared up when they act like they are all knowing compared to us “old” pharmacist with our R.Ph. (which I’m damn proud of, BTW!). No, I haven’t worked my entire career in hospital, but I’m a damn good pharmacist, and I was a damn good retail pharmacist. Retail pharmacist has to be one of the most demanding, stressful, multi-tasking, leg-numbing, non-lunch eating jobs I’ve ever had, and I’ll salute anyone that can do the JOB. Keep up the fine work TAP! God knows we need more folks like you in the trenches.

Comment by ready to graduate on 2009-01-22 03:58:50 -0800 #

Actually, in our state, a graduate intern is someone is possesses a Pharm.D. but is waiting to be licensed. An intern is in their core pharmacy classes through graduation. The only people who are able to call themselves graduate interns are those who have, in fact, graduated. It’s my understanding that CVS and Walgreens both label their interns as such, and I know for sure CVS does nationally.

Comment by Buzzkill on 2009-01-23 08:29:42 -0800 #

Is it wrong of me that, after recently discovering this site and reading everything, I have absolutely no faith in most of the medical community?

Comment by Jennifer the Intern on 2009-01-23 15:10:32 -0800 #

I’ll admit, you have to work in the field to get experience. Problem is if your store is understaffed and filling high volumes of prescriptions, all you are is a pill-counting label-slapper trying to beat the “15 minutes or less” promise. You don’t learn anything.
That being said…
The term “copy” doesn’t bother me. Everyone in my area uses it. Not like I’ll ever be directly involved in the transfer system. Interns aren’t legally allowed to transfer scripts over the phone in my state.
The part about everyone wanting to be clinical pharmacists made me laugh. Not sure how it is at other schools, but at my school, retail is supposedly more popular. They want the $$$. Personally, I wonder if the money is worth it.

Comment by sinfulemerald on 2009-01-23 19:30:13 -0800 #

@ rxintern
not all pharmacy schools are 2+4 years. or 4+2 whatever it is.
a lot of schools are 6 years straight now without the 2+4 (I’m in one of the straight 6 year programs), and generally in big name chain stores the grad intern are interns which have graduated with a pharmD who haven’t taken the test yet.

Comment by Pharmacy Student on 2009-01-23 20:58:05 -0800 #

There is another reason why professional division students have so little experience in pharmacy. The application process focuses almost solely on GPA. The admissions committee doesn’t give two shits if you have previous experience in retail, have spent time in a research lab, or are active in a million pharmacy organizations. They’re looking for that 3.8-4.0. In fact, at the preprofessional advising meeting, the advisor to the PP1’s advise them not to work at all during their first two years of school (which by the way also has a white coat ceremony for their P1’s).

Comment by scary apothecary on 2009-01-24 06:54:37 -0800 #

I have 2 explanations for this:

  1. Prissy pharmacy students whose mommy and daddy pay for everything so they don’t have to work during school. These people kill me. How can you go through 4 years of pharmacy school and pay all that money for tuition (oh, wait, guess mommy and daddy don’t care about their own retirement) and never set foot in a pharmacy except for during your 1 rotation in a RETAIL pharmacy (with a preceptor who was just like you in school)? How do you know that you even WANT to be a pharmacist? Because of the paycheck? So sad and pathetic.
  2. Big chain RETAIL pharmacies who just want a warm body behind the counter. After all, the computer system will keep them from making mistakes.
    Sorry, TAP, I totally feel your frustration.

Comment by buzz on 2009-01-30 09:00:00 -0800 #

Well, I think you were a little too harsh on the intern. I have been a pharmacist for 3 years and if you had called and asked me to give a copy, i would n’t have had a clue what you were talking about. The funny thing is that, I still don’t know what you mean by giving a copy. If you mean to give a transfer, i can understand that. I am typically a clincal pharmacist and i work in the ICU and emergency room setting and so may not be familiar with all the details regarding a retail store or how the insurance is run and all that extra things. I have filled in a retail store before and yes I was lost but I don’t consider myself dumb because of that. I don’t think the intern was dumb because she or he did n’t know what the term is, maybe he or she is used to a different term. As much as I hate to say this, the dumbest pharmacist I’ve seen in my life are the retail pharmacist. I hate to use the word dumb because, I think it’s very inapporopriate and disrespectful. I think it’s just a different forte. Most of them have no concept of the pharmacology, basic clinical knowledge, disease states and pharmacokinetics (a bit surprise you think it’s dumb). Giving a copy will not save someone’s life, anyone off the street could probably give a copy, kinetics saves a lot of lives everyday if you really and trully understand it. I also want to mention that this is a free country, foreigners are welcome here and we should not make fun of the way they talk. Some of my best pharmacy professors were foreigners. As much as I think it’s funny the way they talk, I don’t take it upon myself to make a spectacle of them. I think you are very immature and should not be practising pharmacy. You have forgotten that you were once an intern and there is still a lot of things you don’t know. I have retail pharmacists that switch to hospital work and have not a clue what’s going on. I calm them down and try to re-assure them that it will get easier and that everything will be fine and that’s exactly what you should be doing.. I have a retail pharmacist once try to enter an order for 40mEq of potassium IV push, another entered an order for cefepime and rocephin and zosyn for treatment of psuedomonas. these things are pretty basic knowledge but it honestly did not cross my mind to call the pharmacist dumb because I know it’s hard concept to grab if you’re not used to doing all that. A doctor once asked if vanco would cover for bacteroides fragilis and one the new retail pharmacist said “I think so”. Well, bacteroides is an anaerobic bacteria, completely wrong answer. If everyone of us treated interns like you do, then we will have no interns or no one will want to get into the profession of pharmacy. You sound like one of these jackass arrogant surgeons at the hospital, that knows nothing about drugs but thinks they are the alpha and omega.

Comment by My perspective on 2009-01-31 17:20:47 -0800 #

The issue is not about whether that intern/tech know how to transfer a prescription copy. the issue is about that person not be able to speak English. These non-English speaking people should never go to pharmacy school. They should find a job that require no-English at all like cleaning toilet. America is the land of opportunity for people who speak English only. If you don’t speak English, too bad. why the fuck did these non-english speaking people come to this country anyway? I ask myself that question million of times. I’m a pharmacy student that can barely speak English with strong Vietnamese accent. For so many times, I just want to kill myself because i feel so embarrassing for being in a pharmacy school and i cant speak/pronounce a word of English clearly. We try really hard to learn the language and adapt to the American lives. But I guess no matter how much we try or what degree we get, this land is for Americans and Americans only.
From a shameful non-English speaking pharmacy student.

Comment by steve on 2009-02-01 05:58:30 -0800 #

To My perspective:
Medicine is a complicated thing. If someone in the medical profession can’t speak English ( or speak it well ), people might get hurt.
That’s MY perspective, along with, I’m willing to bet, the perspective of almost everyone else who speaks clear English in medicine.

Comment by on 2009-02-07 14:56:19 -0800 #

TAP, thanks for keeping it real man. I’ve been a pharmacist for 10 years and every year there’s a new hoop to jump through before you can fill a prescription. I work for one of those retailers that pimps $4 generics just to get people in the store. Their bread and butter is all the other shit they sell in the store, and the pharmacy is merely a whorehouse where they get to pimp my services for $4.
Being a pharmacist is seriously overrated. No respect from the asswipes you serve or work for. For those of you that think that we are blessed with a recession proof, will forever have that $100K+ job, THINK AGAIN. I feel sorry for any pharmacist out there that does not have an exit strategy after the next five years. We will be asked to take pay cuts in the next five years or so. What are you going to do when that ‘Big Bad Man’ tells you that your salary is being downgraded to $60-75k? Seriously, what will it take for this profession to unite and right this ship that has gone astray for so long?

Comment by Desirph on 2009-02-15 22:48:00 -0800 #

Some call on freakn Dr’s Line thinking they get express transfer.

Comment by soon-to-be graduated intern on 2009-03-03 01:30:17 -0800 #

What’s so great about giving copy anyway? Shit, I think retail pharmacy is a fucking joke. You make retail pharmacy sounded like rocket science. Now, go and specialize in something. I have to agree with buzz’s comment here. In a few years, dispensing machines will replace most of you so-called retail pharmacists.

Comment by Grad Intern = Foreign Pharmacist on 2009-05-11 13:59:51 -0700 #

A Graduate Intern can also be a person who graduated from pharmacy school in another country. When they come to the US they have to complete a certain amount of hours in a pharmacy before they can be a US pharmacist. Some may have bad enlish and also not understand how American pharmacies work. They are learning. Please be nice.

Comment by 1styear on 2009-05-22 23:15:16 -0700 #

Well if you say transfer, I know what you mean. I have never heard someone say copy so how would I know? My school requires retail and hospital rotations in the 1st and 2nd years so I do have basic retail experience. The only thing I didnt master in my 4 month long rotation was insurance issues. I could run it through the insurance but if an issue arose, I had to have the actual pharmacist handle it. Other than that, I basically did everything they did. But yea, I didnt know what the eff a copy was until another commented stated that its the same as a transfer. Terminology is important…

Comment by Hotmail on 2009-06-15 16:56:48 -0700 #

you got problems!

Comment by JC on 2009-12-09 20:13:36 -0800 #

I think a big failing of pharmacy schools is that the first few years are total bullshit (I’m in first year right now, and we learn NOTHING relevant to actual practice), and then they try to cram everything useful into third and fourth year. Needless to say, this does not help us when we hit “the real” world.

Comment by ygahley on 2010-03-30 14:46:06 -0700 #

A “graduate intern” is someone whe has graduated from pharmacy school already, but hasn’t yet taken the boards to be a full pharmacist.
Hence, the word “graduate” in the title.
Interesting that YOU refer to someone else as an idiot.
They make about 2/3 regular pharmacist pay and should damn well know the necessary parts of a valid prescription.
I attended the “White Coat Ceremony” school, and that’s something we DEFINITELY covered … several times.

Comment by Erin on 2010-05-22 11:28:29 -0700 #

Hello TAP, I saw reference to this post and was curious just what you had said. I am actually relieved that you were referring to a graduate intern, I was going to be rather insulted at the lack of tolerance for the learning curve. I am an Intern, just finished my first year, and I can take a copy. I may be slow, and I have to think about it to make sure I get it right, but I can do it. Yes, my pharmacy school did teach me that in my first year…and yes we did have a white coat ceremony before school started (which I do think is kind of silly becuase we didn’t do anything to earn it) but I guess they’re at least teaching us something useful.

Comment by 1st year pharmacist on 2010-08-05 14:51:33 -0700 #

I signed on with CVS as a graduate intern before I graduated from my college of pharmacy having no idea that I was selling my soul to the devil. Prior to that, I worked at an independent store for about 7 years. I never had to deal with solving insurance problems at that job. But, I got the ropes pretty fast because I had heard it done many, many times. All in all, I think you are right on the money though!

We (at least at my school) were not taught even the basics of what we needed to know to survive in retail. The DMs pressured me everyday either face-to-face or by a phone call everyday after graduation to become lisenced and take boards. They were keeping me so busy as a technician that I didn’t have time to study. So, I just set a date and got it over with. Even though I was FAR from ready, they sent me out into a store by myself the very day I got lisenced. I adapted quickly and spent the first 7 months of my career as a floater. They needed help so badly in this district that I was even being called in on all my days off sometimes at 5 or 6am. What a little corporate do girl I was…
My first offer for a “homestore” was a store where they thought the older pharmacists “just were not cutting it.” I loved these women and had helped them out on and off for the whole time. In my opinion, they were doing the best they could with what they had. Not enough staff, all brand new technicians, endless paperwork, phones ringing non-stop, absolute nightmare! I passed it up and they later staged a walkout together after they were told they’d be fired if their numbers didn’t come up.

I took a homestore with an old coot of a pic who was afraid of me. With good reason, corporate did want him gone. But, I wanted to work my way into the company not force my way in while running everyone out. I eventually left that job. It’s not worth it. Eventually, they will just replace me too. I think this competition game is the main reason other pharmacists don’t want to help or train us. It’s also just WAY to busy with too little help. Retail pharmacy is seriously broken. I just keep praying there is a better job out there than CVS!!

They just got a juicy new batch of interns in too. They have no idea what’s in store for them. While they are all learning and adapting in stores all by themselves with no one to guide or help them, lets all keep our fingers crossed that no one is harmed by a bad mistake in the process. After reading this forum, I can see how much pressure older pharmacists are under. Now, lets throw a newbie into that equation alone…

Comment by Amanda on 2010-11-13 21:48:37 -0800 #

I just want to let you know that I loved this post. I’m a P3 and thankfully know how to do all of the tasks on your list, but got a good laugh because I can look through my class and envision at least 15 people that will be exactly like that intern! Good luck and hope to take a transfer from you someday!

Comment by The Angry Intern on 2011-04-08 10:42:32 -0700 #

I could not agree with you more Angry Pharmacist. To tell you what is going on now, at my school I didn’t even get 1 class in retail pharmacy; it was more of a 3 week subsection of one of my classes where they taught (horribly I might add) me stuff I would actually need to know (Ironically enough, they did not include how to give a copy or take Rxs over the phone). I wouldn’t necessarily be so harsh on the graduate intern, he only knows what he was taught in school aka “Fantasy Pharmacy Land”; about 99.9% of the rest is clinical crap he will never use in retail pharmacy. Luckily I currently work in retail while in school and it has done more for me than school ever has, pretty sad. So what does $200,000 get you? A good sense of drugs, but not a sense of reality; while 65% or more of those drugs are ones you’ll never see in retail. Knowing reality and then trying to study therapeutics knowing I will never use this shit makes it very hard to learn.

Comment by Marcus on 2011-05-02 01:08:48 -0700 #

Your statements would have been a lot more valid without the foul language. You poke fun at students but your ignorance and low-brow language invalidate your intelligence.

Retail pharmacy emphasizes too much pill pushing. If you really want to consult patients and make an impact, low volume or institution is the way to go. Retail is slowly turning out to be Wally, Drugs’R’Us.

Comment by Hard working Pharmacy Student on 2011-08-15 17:11:17 -0700 #

Dear Angry Pharmacist,

Ive read your rants about UOP and pharmacy interns and Id appreciate it if you wouldn’t generalize. Not everyone who goes to UOP is an idiot nor are they rich punk ass snobs who think they’re better than everyone else because they go to a private school. To share my own personal story. Not only am I a full time student, but I average around 10 hours a week as a big chain pharmacy intern just to get enough money to pay not only my bills but my parents as well. On top of that I also have planned several outreach events to benefit the general public on my own free time and all the while I have struggled with diagnosed adult ADD. After only working in retail for a little over 2 years I sympathize with your rants about dealing with stupid customers but please dont generalize. I myself want to go the clinical or hospital route because I am tired of hearing customers bitch all day about their insurance, their wait time or anything else that has nothing to do with what I paid an insane amount of money to learn. Yes some students that UOP churns out do turn out to be idiots who should have no business working in retail but not all of them are.

Comment by Annoyed, tired and irated on 2011-08-23 10:07:28 -0700 #

I completely agree with you Angry Pharmacist, but I would like to add something to that. Now, I’m not talking about all preceptors, but for the one’s I’ve had so far, sometimes they don’t teach you anything! My first retail preceptor that was a rude, slanderous slave driver and taught me squat about retail (but lucky for me I’ve had some prior, yet limited, retail experience with knowledge gaps filled in by the technicians that helped me get the job done) and I’ve had other retail preceptors that were absolutely approachable for questions (even completely stupid questions) and didn’t deride me for my limited experience in retail (because it seems pharmacy school is more concerned with having clinical and institutional pharmacy experience). So, just a note, don’t belittle the intern because of their limited exposure to the world of retail pharmacy (or vice versa with institutional/clinical pharmacy), they probably weren’t taught properly or have an underlying condition they didn’t know about (in my case, I’d just been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and now currently medicated for it). Remember, everyone’s a patient, not just those people that stand in line yelling at you all day.

Comment by Angry Bird on 2012-03-14 20:25:29 -0700 #


Comment by zero experience on 2012-05-11 21:59:48 -0700 #

Hi Angry Pharmacist,
Can you please do an entry on:

How to give a fucking copy
What the basic error messages are for insurance companies and how to possibly troubleshoot them (missing invalid group number/person code/etc
What a fucking BIN and PCN number are
What the AWP and Direct Price mean, how do you look this up?
How to give a fucking copy
How to speak english so I don’t need a fucking translator or have you repeat 100 times
Determine how much anal lube is needed for the PBM’s reimbursement of various drugs
How to take an Rx over the phone that’s given at 100 words per min

It’d be greatly appreciated.

Comment by Margie on 2012-07-07 09:42:56 -0700 #

Angry Pharmacist,

You’ve been through pharmacy school, you should know that there is no class called “TPR”, or how to give a copy, or any of that stuff. We are trained to be drug experts, not computer system experts. It takes time to learn. Some pharmacists like to wait a few weeks for the new intern to get used to the system before giving copies. Even though this is second nature to you, it is a big responsibility. It would be hard for me to believe that you did not ask a million questions as an intern. As for the accent, that is pure ignorance on your part. I understand it is frustrating, but they cannot help it. Instead of bashing those that will take over your job in the future, how about you thank the interns for the extra help they provide, and teach them!

Comment by Loren on 2012-07-29 17:01:43 -0700 #

Angry RPh,
Sounds like you have an inferiority complex. Why are you so upset with Pharm.D.’s? Perhaps the grad intern just started working for the chain and wasn’t sure how to do a transfer using the new computer system. You are so quick to throw rocks, I’d like to see how you would do in a new environment. Everyone is new at some point- perhaps for you it was so long ago that you forgot what it was like.
It’s probably good that you don’t work for a big chain because you would’ve been replaced by a “shiny Pharm.D.” long ago.

Comment by Future Pharmacist on 2012-10-11 23:16:16 -0700 #

Why are you such an angry person? I was like you too once, I used to critique everyone so harshly. I bet you’re the harshest on yourself, too. Well, I soon found out that living with this kind of mentality is lonely and destructive. Everyone makes mistakes, you started off inexperienced too and I bet “said intern” could handle your comments better than the inexperienced version of yourself could. I know this because I used to think like you. {sigh}…so many people out there with anger issues who haven’t a clue!

Comment by Pharmd on 2013-01-30 17:11:45 -0800 #

Obviously the intern did’t have his PharmD or BS in pharmacy from the states, since he barley speaks English.

Comment by Get a Life___ on 2013-02-22 23:02:04 -0800 #

Angry Pharmacist, i don’t give a fuck about your feelings. I am a pharmacy tech, you all are the same. You blame the intern for his/her inability to give you a transfer as if your first day at work as a pharmacist was perfect. What about all the mis-fills? I hate when Pharmacists like you belittle others, in fact let’s get the fact straight, how may pharmacist out there knows how to deal with insurance? How about physicians who can’t fucking spell and then Mr. Knows all pharmacist as you are foolishly dispense without verification? Obviously, you do not understand people’s skill. Accent is not equivalent to poor English. My pharmacist is from France and i love his accent.

Comment by erica on 2013-03-20 21:42:55 -0700 #

WHAT?!?! you mean i can’t carry around my 5 lb. Dipiro bible in my pharmacy. lol. As someone who is currently in the “white coat ceremony school,” they really don’t teach us any retail. It’s all about the clinical world and about how its going to be my job to order an allergy screen on an asthma patient, like i’m supposed to care what she’s allergic to. I have learned more from working during summers at a pharmacy than I have in all my classes combined. Sometimes I wish the old apprenticeship concept was still in effect for pharmacy.

Comment by Pharmacy = crap on 2013-05-29 10:32:28 -0700 #

Angry Pharmacist, FUCK YOU! I am a fucking intern, I graduated university with flying colours (pharmacy isnt fucking rocket science), I have donE all the national and state examinations, I can do any fucking exam you give me, I can dispense and counsel any fucking medication (again iTS not brain surgery) yet I have to deal with arrogant guys like you who think just because you know how to do a transfer/copy better than an intern you are a FUCKING GOD!!! Since you are so fucking talented then why dont quite retail pharmacy and come up with a cure for cancer a spaceship that will fly humans to another planet? Why not? BECAUSE IT DOESNT TAKE A FUCKING GENIUS TO DO PHARMACY. IF YOU DONT WANT TO GIVE A STUDENT OR INTERN YOUR “VALUABLE” TIME TO TEACH THEM WHAT YOU YOURSELF LEARNED FROM SOMEONE ELSE THEN…….FUCK OFF!!!!!!

Comment by Discipulus on 2013-05-29 10:39:11 -0700 #

Thank you so much, it’s nice to hear someone stand up for us interns. Pharmacists can be totally arrogant expecting the intern to know how to do everything…if we did know how to do everything then we wouldn’t be a fucking intern!

Comment by vanilladreamcream on 2013-07-05 17:08:34 -0700 #

First I am sorry to say that I am one of those stupid interns that don’t know anything. I am very grateful that my preceptors have stuck with me and taught me patiently and I am slowly learning. In my entire 4 yr carreer at retail I have never come across “copy” before and I have done transfers more than a billion times. You have to realize that you may call thing different and give that graduate student a chance. I don’t think u learned everything in a day and if u do congrats to you but to those who don’t learn so fast please work with them. Everyone must have a starting point and it just so happened that graduate student started their first “copy” with you. Let’s be glad that you are training that new student so that the next time you ask for a copy that same person can help you right away b/c if no one teaches that student, you would need to wait 10 min for pharmacist to help you because no one wants to speak with the stupid grad intern.

Comment by Adam on 2013-07-26 12:28:14 -0700 #

not sure why this article/blog/account is necessary. sure that is an annoying situation but not as annoying as this article… reflects poorly upon the profession…everyone has to start somewhere. go rant to your friend not the internet… makes pharmacists look so bad when people act/talk like this

Comment by Joaquin on 2013-08-06 14:29:58 -0700 #

I think that the reason we have interns is so that we can teach them right? I am currently an intern and know absolutely nothing next to the people I work with, but I am progressing every day. Will I mess up? Probably, but I will keep learning.

Comment by KL on 2013-10-27 17:11:05 -0700 #

It is completely necessary to make posts like these so retail pharmacists with inferiority complexes (like this guy) can feel better about their mindless jobs and feel important : ) Really, have you read what’s written on those fb pharmacy groups? Essentially a giant circle jerk of individuals with zero empathy, zero respect for those who work in clinical settings, zero respect for those who excel academically, and zero class.

Honestly, graduate intern could very well mean someone who has a pharm degree from a different country (we had one at our pharmacy) with different laws and different systems. Could also be someone who got absolutely no experience throughout schooling in a retail setting due to not being able to get a job (saturation). But nah, obviously the only course of action after experiencing someone’s inability to do a task is to scream incoherently into the internets and tout how much smarter you are!

Comment by betas on 2013-10-31 08:18:42 -0700 #

It’s beacause Target denies skilled interns to hire people of the right color, right affiliation,right make-up,and stuff like that.Ask anybody who was intervied, they don’t care what you know professionally,read ppls experience with Target “interview”

Comment by Believer51214 on 2013-11-13 14:13:21 -0800 #

Angry pharmacist does not know the meaning of “intern”. I think if intern knows every thing then she/he must be paid same amount of money as angry pharmacist is earning. I want to report his NPI number as I feeling he? she? is abusing his/her power of being a pharmacist preceptor. Hey angry pharmacist, there is an advice for you “Nobody will want to interact with a person who thinks that he/she is the champion. Look around you and read some stories of famous successful people. They were polite and humble”. I think there must be a mandatory crash course requirement of behavioral sciences and teaching methods from NABP for every preceptor Rph.

Comment by Another intern on 2014-09-11 16:41:26 -0700 #

This reply requires a standing ovation!

Comment by Another intern on 2014-09-11 16:47:36 -0700 #


Comment by Simpaw on 2019-03-23 03:13:26 -0700 #

Always cracks me up when someone with bad English complains about people with bad English. First, the word “English” is capitalized. Next, let’s work out the difference between “whose” and “who’s” and whether we should bare with him or bear with him.