|Pharmacy working conditions
|Ended on 11/22/2023
I have been a pharmacist 15 years and enjoy a fast pace working environment. I am not part of the norm. However, the past 5 to 6 years have changed the way I think about my job. Let's give some examples.
Unreasonable expectations communicated through leadership in the disguise of the next fad in leadership training (ie. Purpose Driven Leadership) ...
"We do not hold our pharmacists accountable for performance metrics." The store managers are responsible for meeting metrics...who do you think does our performance appraisals? Who do you think is licensed to perform and meet the metrics?
Phone time, answer and hold time < than 60 seconds...on weekends with just 2 people pharmacist + tech (budget restraints prevent more help) and filling approximately 200 prescriptions, with a drive thru, counseling on OTCs, administering vaccines, patient care calls (>40 on the weekend) and performing testing.
Completing a set number of MTMs with one pharmacist and 3 techs at best most days, and filling 300 prescriptions but inputting over 400 prescriptions, administering 10 to 20 vaccines, performing testing, and don't forget the 5 pages (approximately 60 to 100 during the weekdays) patient calls each day. This is measured too by the way. Shame on you if you miss 1 or 2 calls weekly. And make sure you answer that phone in less than 60 seconds and provide a meaningful and happy visit with every patient so that your customer service scores do not suffer (I agree with excellent customer service).
We have not even touched on the time it takes to operate a compliant pharmacy...
ALL WITH BUDGET CONSTRAINTS!!! Often times not even enough hours for pharmacists to get paid for the work they are actually performing. (think small stores)
And God forbid you have enough technicians to support...even less budget for them.
I have seen an increase in patient care safety events. Thankfully none that have seriously harmed a patient...yet.
I have experienced the burnout and unreasonable expectations that have led me to be the cleanup crew in several pharmacies because a PIC has lost their job over unreasonable expectations, conditions, and board compliance. My board inspector will know this...if she gets the opportunity to read this.
Can we get some standards that support patient safety, pharmacists, and pharmacy staff?
For example, ABC pharmacy fills 500 prescriptions a day, administers on average 20 to 30 vaccines a day, is a testing site, and also prescribes per VA BOP standing orders for pharmacists. When will the BOP step in and set limitations on workload...meaning a safety ratio...x number of prescriptions, tests, vaccines, requires x number of pharmacists and x number of technicians within an 8-to-12-hour shift.
Well, the BOP can't guarantee we will have the applicants to support this crazy world we call retail pharmacy even with a safety ratio...true but better working conditions and fair wages will definitely increase interest.
I hear the chatter but it's time to use the DOH/BOP as a powerhouse to support the people you have given licenses too. Most of us love our patients and even our jobs but not the conditions and unreasonable expectations.
Fed Up PharmD