Thursday, October 4, 2007

Dear "Pharmacy Slave"

I would have emailed you personally, but you had no contact info or way to comment on your blog.

Your quote "I have seen all these blogs from pharmacists who are incessantly complaining about their days...and I figured that I should go on ahead and give myself a shot. As much as I love my pharmacists (at least 2 of I hate more than I hate my job), they have all told us lowly technicians that we field more problems than they do an deal with much more since we're in the front lines of customer service. For the most part, our pharmacists kick back and do crossword puzzles and occasionally check the rare prescription while we do everything I shall begin this lovely little blog tomorrow when I return home from work. "

I am was a tech for 15 years before I went to pharmacy school. I know what it's like to be a tech. I used to think just like you. Then I got my license. Now, I want to call my old boss of 13 years and apologize for all the bullshit complaining I did. You don't know what kind of pressure there is for a pharmacist. Yes, you are the front line for us, but we have to deal with the customers also while trying not to kill anyone. "Occasionally check the rare prescription????"" Who else can do it? The pharmaicst checks ALL of the prescriptions. I don't have time to do a crossword puzzle. It must be nice that your pharmacists can. I can barely pee. Sometimes I think about wearing depends, but then there would be the smell. I call doctors, I call insurance companies, I save my techs from being chewed out by an idiot, I handle all of the complaints, I type prescriptions, I check medication usage-interactions-dosages-medical conditions-allergies, I make hundreds of recommendations, I LISTEN to old ladies cry when they've been diagnosed with cancer.

I also value every last one of my techs and thank them regularly for a job well done. I could not do my job without them. I don't forget this. EVER. I am sorry you feel that you are a "lowly" tech. I always correct mine when they say "I'm just a tech" if a patient asks their position. I say, "You are a technician...not just a tech. Do not belittle your position in this pharmacy."

I know your job is difficult, but so is ours.


PharmGal said...

Your blog title really hits the nail on the head of how I feel today...haha

and I can appreciate you and how you feel. when you are an intern, as you know, you are the tech and the pharmacist. when you are the pharmacist - well that's a whole 'nother ball park. you have a lot riding on a license that you worked very hard to get. when I was "just a tech" I remember doing stuff and thinking, well i don't know if that was right, but no worries, I don't have a license to lose. sounds bad, but until you have it (or are about to have it) you don't realize quite what it means!

just a tech said...

I for one can understand the pressure that comes with your job. That's why I don't want it.

I'm very impressed by the paragraph where you say you call insurance companies, field all the complaints, type prescriptions, etc. The pharmacists don't do any of that at my store. Perhaps they don't at Pharmacy Slave's store either? Heck, there have been times when there have been two pharmacists on duty, but only me as a tech... and even with 4 people in line to ring up and 5 new prescriptions to type in they rarely ever pick up the darn phone unless I specifically ask them to.

Again, I realize you have more responsibilities than we do, that you went to school for a long time to earn them. However, by definition one hears and gets more crap from customers on the front line. I listened to the old lady with cancer too. And the middle-aged man before her who was complaining about the price of gasoline. And the young woman before him who was complaining that all the credit card machines are different everywhere. Etcetera.

By the way, I appreciate your last paragraph. The best pharmacists to work with are the ones that realize that if we don't all work together we're screwed. That said, I do try my best to keep the little things - insurance, complaints, phone calls that don't require a pharmacist, etc. - from the pharmacist. I *know* that they have more important things to do/worry about. But when we're overwhelmed by those things and the pharmacist is all caught up, it'd be nice if they'd jump in and help. I wonder if that's what Pharmacy Slave meant.

.: Lowly Pharm Tech :. said...

Being a pharmacy technician, I found this post heart warming. I know what it's like to have pharmacists who appreciate and bust their tail just to help the front. I am guilty of growing a bitter taste in my mouth from time to time when I see a pharmacist sitting idle while I tack drive-thru, drop-off, and pick-up in a round robin fashion.

I also know what it's like to have pharmacists who view technicians as slaves as well, but have been very lucky to not be stuck with them for very long.

I pride myself on being a lowly pharmacy technician, I even began running a blog titled it. I understand fully my job is to be the right hand man for the pharmacists on duty, and that their knowledge is what keeps us out of trouble and error-free while our patients are kept safe. I will gladly lay down the fact that I do NOT know more than the pharmacist and I do NOT do more than the pharmacist [by 'the pharmacist' I mean all pharmacist]. I often get mistaken for the pharmacist but I always say "No, but I am a pharmacy technician" which will be good enough for 70% of the people and I can help a good number of them from parroting, the rest will ask for the pharmacist directly.

It's pharmacists like yourself that make working in the pharmacy a real pleasure, and you can never go wrong with building a relationship with people of integrity. Thank you for your compassion and understanding, it's the only way working with as a team is possible.

- Proud to be The Lowly Pharm Tech.

Anonymous said...

I do not recommend being a retail pharmacy tech. It's the most stressful job that I've ever had in my entire life. The pharmacists that I work with think that four-point checking and visual verifying are their only jobs. Well, it must be nice to only have 2 jobs (3, if they have to counsel) and make tons of money, while I do EVERYTHING else and make barely over 10 dollars an hour. Yeah, that totally makes since. psh

Newlyfeduptechnician said...

I wish I could work for a pharmacist like that I've only had my license for a few months and already HATE IT.... I quit my job at Walgreens because they pick favorites and the fat ass SR. Tech. Thought she was the FUCKING pharmacist... And the pharmacist was stressed out because the SR. tech does nothing but talk on her cell phone and the two other techs were new(myself and another) so we were struggling... But she was afraid of the Sr. Tech. I said fuck this shit you mfers are crazy.....I'm gone and never went back! I wish I knew what I was getting into before I did it.... Ugh I hate this shit