Pharmacy Night before Christmas

‘twas the night before Christmas, when all through the pharmacy.

Not a dispenser was stirring, not even Tracy.

The Activa stockings had been ordered with care,

in the hope that the driver soon would be there.

Mrs Jones had already rang 6 times to ask where her stocking was. Frank Dispenser and the rest of the pharmacy team were shattered. It was 5.45pm and it had only just quietened down. Frank hadn’t even had time for lunch. He was working his way through the celebrations tin that the area manager had left.

They had got lots of biscuits and chocolates from patients too. Some were not out of date which was a bonus. Mrs Smith had baked one of her special cakes for them. Frank had been initially dubious about selling citric acid to Mrs Smith. He had asked her what the w/w% of citric acid there would be in the final cake. Mrs Smith didn’t know but said that she would bring in some of the cake for Frank. He accepted as he was a reasonable man. Carol the dispenser was singing in the staffroom. She always sang at Christmas.

Mrs Smith and Mr Smith could not have been more different. Couples who order their repeat meds together, stay together longer. This didn’t apply to the Smiths. Mrs Smith used our repeat prescription order scheme. Mr Smith did not. It was then that he burst through the door. A feeling of dread came over Frank. Mr Smith was a large man in his seventies and always dressed in red for some reason. ‘Here is my list of medicines that I want’ he bellowed as he handed over his prescription.

Mr Smith was holding a sack. Susan the technician wondered if it contained biscuits for the pharmacy team. Susan was unfortunately mistaken. Mr Smith had been naughty, not nice.

‘I don’t want these tablets anymore’ he said.

Susan sighed. ‘As well as safely disposing of unwanted medicines, we also dispose of uneaten, in-date chocolates, cakes and biscuits, you know?’

Mr Smith looked confused.

 ‘We don’t have all your tablets’ said Frank.

 ‘Why the hell not?’ Mr Smith replied.

‘Well it is 5.45pm on Christmas eve’.

‘I’ll come back tomorrow then’ said Mr Smith.

‘You can come back but we are shut for the next two days’ Frank sarcastically replied. One day Frank would get a punch because of his sarcasm.

‘SHUT FOR TWO DAYS!!! WHY DIDN’T YOU TELL ME BEFORE?’

‘We told you last year too….’ 

28 fantastic made-up cures I promise wont change your life

Everyday I read about a magical cure on the internet that make amazing health claims. I wonder how easy it is to just make one up…

 

1] @The_Eye_Doctor: Putting milk in your eye will treat conjunctivitis

2] ‏@SparkleWildfire: Soothe away arthritis pains by washing your hair with all-natural, drug-free golden syrup

3] @KevPharmacist: Eat nothing but chocolate for five years and you’ll never be bothered by asthma again.

4] @SparkleWildfire: Rubbing your face against a TV screen whilst EastEnders is on cures back pain

5] @SiobhanAbrahams: Simple linctus helps a cough

‏6] @Alrob85: Keep a potato in your trousers to prevent type II diabetes

7] @ianthunderroad: Shoving raw mince up your arse cures Crohn’s

8] @ianthunderroad: Reading the Daily Mail, causes but also cures cancer

9] @SparkleWildfire: Copious amounts of cake cures guttate psoriasis

10] @Alrob85: Rubbing a sage leaf on your nose cures gonorrhoea

‏11] @ianthunderroad: Lactulose is a very effective cough remedy.

‏12] @MrDispenser: Using Just for Men hair dye cures heterosexuality

13]  @MagneticFlea: Women should not cook or clean during their period.

‏14] @Pharmusician: Jaffa cakes prevent migraine

‏15] @MrDispenser: Reading the BNF cures insomnia. Oh wait…

16] @SparkleWildfire: Leaving some flowers to rot in sunlight then diluting them with brandy cures mood disorders

‏17] @SparkleWildfire: Booping a cat’s nose three times with a haggis cures period pain.

‏18] @SparkleWildfire: Protect yourself from dangerous radiation (and pesky foreigners) by hiding under a copy of the Daily Mail at all times.

19] @lemonianta: Eating honey will stop hives

20] @SparkleWildfire: Eating Super Noodles everyday prevents Japanese Encephalitis.

‏21] @SiobhanAbrahams: Homeopathy cures all sorts of conditions

22] @MrDispenser: Staying monogamous prevents heartburn

‏23] @MrDispenser: Snorting Cottage cheese is good for thrush

24] @SparkleWildfire: Rubbing blue cheese into your elbow treats haemorrhoids

‏25] @MrDispenser: Burning your bra prevents sore nipples

26] @MrDispenser: Saying ‘Candyman’ in the mirror three times reduces wrinkles

‏27] @MrDispenser: Eating the left crocodile testicle cures sweat rash

‏28] @MrDispenser: Sucking a cucumber cures erectile dysfunction 

That was close!

 

Please put your hands up if you have never made a mistake? If you have your hands up, please see me after. I want to offer you a job. Everybody make mistakes.

We learn at university and during pre-reg about how to let prescribers know when they have made mistakes and the best way to do it. However, no one ever told me how to let the staff know when they have made an error when dispensing.

There are five ways of doing it:

1] Throw the wrongly dispensed medicine back at them.

2] Shout at them.

3] Don’t say anything and correct it yourself.

4] Call them over and discreetly tell them.

5] Call them over and tell them that they have a made a mistake but let them figure it out for themselves.

 

Let’s go through the different options.

1] This may be the most satisfying but will result in more paperwork. I hate paperwork.

2] This is also satisfying but may result in tears or a punch.

3] This doesn’t help the person learn about their mistakes. Sometimes it’s the easiest option and doesn’t result in them spitting in your coffee.

4] They don’t get embarrassed using this technique. Be prepared for them to tell you that it wasn’t them or offer an idiotic excuse.

5] I prefer this option if it’s not busy. You can see the wheels turning in their head when they figure out their mistake. Although, sometimes they still can’t figure out their mistake….

 

Just be prepared when they re-dispense it with a different mistake…

Breaking Bad Pharmacy

1] “You clearly don’t know who you’re talking to, so let me clue you in. I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No! I am the one who knocks!” – Walter White: Walt wasn’t allowed to do any deliveries after work anymore after getting upset at the time it took Mr Smith to answer

 

2] “If you don’t know who I am then maybe your best course of action would be to tread lightly” – Walter White: The new area manager needed to work on his people skills

 

3] “Stay out of my territory” – Walter White: The multiple wasn’t happy with the 100 hour pharmacy

 

4] “Say my name” – Walter White: The addict wouldn’t dream of getting his methadone without having his identity confirmed.

 

5] “Shut the fuck up and let me die in peace” – Mike Ehrmantraut: Substitute the word ‘die’ with ‘check’ and it sums up my working day

 

6] “You asked me if I was in the meth business or the money business.  Neither. I’m the empire business” – Walter White: The medium sized multiple had plans to expand

 

7] “You are not the guy. You’re not capable of being the guy. I had a guy but now I don’t. You are not that guy”- Mike Ehrmantraut: The staff appraisal didn’t go well

 

8] Tuco: “Have a seat, Heisenberg”.

Walt: “I don’t imagine I’ll be here very long”

The waiting times at the pharmacy were excellent

 

9] “We’re done when I say we’re done” – Walter White: The pre-reg didn’t want to put his pencil down at the end of his exam

 

10] “So, right now, what I need is for you to climb down out of my ass. Can you do that for me? Will you do that for me? Will you please, just once, get off my ass. You know, I’d appreciate it. I really would” – Walter White: The best way to respond to a request from your area manager for more MURs

 

Pharmacy TV Characters

Which TV character would you want to work in your pharmacy?

1) Allison Chemist: Mike Ross from Suits as their pre-reg.

2) Karen Gunnell: Mrs Doyle from Father Ted would make plenty of cups of tea.

3) Karen Gunnell: Monica from Friends. We would have lovely clean and tidy dispensary and stock doesn’t go out of date because she’d be obsessive about stock rotation.

4) @MrDispenser: Walter White: Excellent chemistry knowledge

5) @MrDispenser: Sherlock Holmes: He would find who stole my pen in seconds

6) @MrDispenser: The Fonz: Super cool when it gets busy

7) @MrDispenser: Dr Cox from Scrubs would be a great pre-reg tutor

8) @MrDispenser: Jack Bauer from 24: He can work to a deadline

9) Reena B: Speedy Gonzales as the delivery driver

10) @miss_njun: Carrie Mathison from Homeland: Great attention to detail and would make an excellent ACT

 

And finally…

Reena B: Patients would be Victor Meldrew and Hyacinth Bucket

Double Trouble part 2

This is what pharmacists thought about being doubled up: Double Trouble

What do Pharmacy Staff think of having two pharmacists?

1] Bad

Denise W: They both try to outdo each other! Like to make a big thing of it when they find a near miss – look at me i can accuracy check! Yeah well done it’s your job that’s why you get paid a hell of a lot more money than us mere dispensers!

Rachel S: Never know who has the CD keys!

Marcia H: Fine, don’t take a blind bit of notice to either

Susan P: Annoyed cause all they do all day is talk!

David J: I like having two or more as long as they do their job. I have worked with some that I would prefer just went home.

Heather F: It’s best if it’s someone you know and not someone who’s heavy awkward or useless.

Rey R: You can see who the lazy one is.

Ashlie S: I never know who to ask question/ask to speak to patients. I don’t want to give anyone an inferiority complex.

@sunita_pall: There’s always tension of who is the fastest checker and who is the boss!

@MissSarahJCraig: Had four pharmacists in the other day, couldn’t get any of them to check a prescription though!

@OriginalAsif: A constant power struggle as to who is in charge, but some pharmacists are ok to work with, as long as they listen..

@NasirAyyaz: One of them is always lazier than the other

2] Good

Alex B: Love having two people to pester for answers

Sarah A: We often have three pharmacists sometimes four our shop that busy. Find it good as always one on hand for advice

Angela C: Double cover is fab, it gives our A.C.T a helping hand in the MDS room

Spammy S: Yay! things get checked regardless of phone calls/ I must speak to a pharmacist about this face cream’…. but you do things the way one pharmacist likes and then you have to change it for the other and start second guessing yourself.

@teresaflannery: It’s ok until you ask a question and both give you different answers *awkward*

@digitalpretzel: Tech here, I work with 2 RPHs frequently. I love it. 1 can check prescriptions, 1 can counsel or talk to doctors. Those are smooth Mondays

@StudDispenser: As a dispenser I like to gossip and catch up with the pharmacists after some time, although some customers may not like it.

Katie M: I love it. It means things still get checked even if one pharmacist is busy elsewhere. On the phone etc

Jill T: Love having 2 pharmacists we just hold up a red basket and shout waiter and see who’s the quickest to check lol

Double Trouble?

Pharmacists: how do you find working with other pharmacists when you are doubled up?

Lunch and Loo

Ian C: Uninterrupted lunches.

Emma R: I LOVE being a second pharmacist you can have a lunch break and go to the loo!!

@KeenPharmacy: Love it, lunch hour, shared workload and good conversation

 

Confidence

Elaine M: Anyone else find that it makes them feel less confident?

Claire E: Yes I don’t like doing double cover, I always feel less confident.

Sally P: Yep always feel like have to check I do actually know the answer!

 

Taking advantage

David M: As a locum, usually the branch manager sees double cover as a day off and sits In the consultation room all day, doing ‘paper work’.

Aiden M: I’ve only ever been the second pharmacist with double bookings. Not had one since taking over a branch but I hate it. Always felt like I’m being watched by the other one and ended up in a factory line clearing a three day backlog while the other gets to play with the customers.

 

Mistake

Sian R: Double cover? Usually means someone’s messed up the rota!

 

Hospital

Ann P: Seems like a strange question to me: I work in hospital most of the time and am therefore used to working with other pharmacists around me both in the dispensary and on wards. I like having someone to ask questions/bounce ideas off: the main problem I have is that if I ask one of our younger pharmacists a question they assume I’m setting them some diabolical test rather than the truth which is that I’ve genuinely forgotten the answer! I do remember that when I was newly qualified it was a bit unnerving to work with someone senior. I always imagined they were watching and judging me. I now know they were probably watching, but mostly to check I was ok.

 

MURs

Emma A: I love it, you can do an uninterrupted consultation without worrying about those waiting, what’s not to like!

Teresa S: I feel like I’m being spoilt! Being able to do an MUR without someone interrupting with 10 baskets of “waiters” for me to check would be bliss.

Johnny H: This is the norm in my Pharmacy! Makes MURs and Methadone clinics easier to do and not have a massive backlog when returning into the dispensary.

 

Decision making

@wickerpharm: Good now. In days of old found neither would make a decision without consulting the other – then avoid anything contentious.

 

Marriage

‏@sue_warman: I can only work with a few actually, only my husband. With others I always turn into a dispenser.

Meghana B: It’s good as long as the other pharmacist is NOT your husband

 

Workload

‏@Pharmusician: Great! Only have to do four things at once instead of eight.

Momina K: Love it! Half the work is done.

 

Depends on the other person

‏@clogsmypop: I used to love it. I wished it happened more!! (I am retired).assuming the other pharm was someone I clicked with. Some I just didn’t and then it was tumbleweed central..

Shveta V: I can’t say I’ve ever worked with an unknown or awkward pharmacist before.

 

Gossip

@abitina: Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate because all I want to do is have a good natter with a fellow pharmacist.

@frandavi99: It’s immense fun and a fantastic opportunity for gossip. Don’t think the techs enjoy it quite so much though…

 

Find out what pharmacy staff think in the next blog….

Guest Post by @Mrsfinn86 ‘My role as an ACT’

I have worked in pharmacy for ten years now.

To many of you, that won’t seem like a long time. I was only 17 when I joined and I’m 27 now, so basically all of my adult life I have given to pharmacy.

I started off quite by accident in a supermarket pharmacy. I used to work as a shelf stacker in the health and beauty department. One day I’d had enough and handed my notice in. I was SURE I could find a better job elsewhere, two weeks passed and I could find nothing that interested me. Then I was approached by the pharmacy technician Debbie, was I interested in taking a role in their pharmacy?

Now I had spoken to the pharmacy crew a lot, my health and beauty section was built around it so I knew all of them anyway. What I was shocked about was they had been watching me too, liked what they saw and offered me the job!

I was now a counter assistant in a pharmacy. I was ecstatic! I read all those counter pharmacy magazines and completed my level one counter assisted course in super quick time. I was like a sponge just soaking it all up. And the more I learnt, the more I wanted to know.

Pretty soon I was helping my manager put away the POM medicines and tapping out a few labels for her. I also walked back and forth to the local doctors surgeries collecting prescriptions. After nearly a year, I asked if I could go into the dispensary.

There was so much more that side of the counter that I could learn. Sure, I was still learning at the front. You never can know it all (though some think they do!) But I craved to know more, I was told no. They simply did not have enough work to warrant another dispenser. I was crushed.

Then one evening I was working with my absolute favourite locum who told me there was a dispensary assistant position in a large chain pharmacy that she worked in on Sundays. She had told them about me and I needed to go in and have a chat if I was interested.

The very next day I walked the 8 mile trip to the pharmacy and had my interview there and then. What I hadn’t been told, was they were looking for a qualified dispenser. I asked what system they used, she said link. I told her I was not qualified but I had basic knowledge and could I show her? I had never blagged so much in my life, but I so wanted the position!

I showed her I could print labels out, read dosages and stick a label on a box neatly. A massive pet hate of mine is wonky labels!

She offered me the job! I was ecstatic, even though it meant taking a large pay-cut; it’s what I needed to do to progress further. I was to start in a month.

Saying goodbye to my current pharmacy was hard, without them I never would have got to where I am now and I will always be thankful for them taking a chance on me.

A month into my new job I was halfway through my NVQ2 dispensing assistant course. I had also decided I was going to apply for college so i could go on to university to get a pharmacy degree. I left school with no GCSE results due to leaving school at 15 to get a job.

After completing my NVQ2 my manager signed me up for my level 3NVQ technician course. This one was a lot more difficult and took me a little over two years to complete. I did change stores halfway through my course though due to bullying and was unable to find time to study in my new very busy branch!

It was in this new branch that I decided pharmacy wasn’t for me at all. I adored my job, but the daily stresses I see pharmacists go through every single day. The huge amount of paperwork that has to be filled in and it all seemed to be about figures.

Now I’m not stupid, far from it! I understand that pharmacy is a business, but the amount of pressure put on pharmacy managers is crazy. I was told by half a dozen newly qualified pharmacists to look into becoming an ACT. They pretty much all agreed that that’s what they would have done instead had they have known about it. So that’s what I did.

In September 2009 I qualified as an accredited checking technician. This basically meant I could help take the heat off the pharmacist by checking any repeated medications or anything else as long as they had done a clinical check except controlled/toxic and epilepsy medications.

I love my job, no two days were ever the same. Even more so as ACT roles in my company are so few, I would sometimes work in three or four different branches a week! Good job I’m a sociable easy to talk to type :-)
The hardest thing about my job is definitely working with “old school” locums. I had one want to “test” me before he would “allow” me to do my job. The one that I’m qualified to do. I was outraged! I would never dream of questioning a pharmacists ability’s to do their job. So why is it acceptable for them to question mine?

I do understand that if I did make a mistake then it falls back on the pharmacist in charge at the time, but his whole attitude was awful. I requested to work in another local branch that would appreciate my help and left immediately. That pharmacist never caught up with our huge workload 700+ items normally and apparently was heard saying that girls should not work in pharmacy.

9 times out of 10 I love my job, I am easy to get on with. So if you are a locum about to work in a new pharmacy that has an ACT, please respect that they can do their job and perhaps I will enjoy my job 100% of the time.

Remember, I’m only here to make your job easier!

Friends and the @pharmacyshow

As some of you may know, the sequel to my book is launching at this years Pharmacy Show in Birmingham on the 29th and 30th September. If you register or have registered via my link then you will get a free pen. I am also pleased to announce that you will also get a free copy of my second book if you register using the link which is:

http://www.thepharmacyshow.co.uk/mrdispenser

I look forward to seeing you there!

So uni never told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, your bonus is D.O.A.
Your staff are sick and start to disappear
Two MURs a day 400 for the year, but

I’ll be there for you
(When the tea starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(That customer has a cold sore)
I’ll be there for you
(Until my shift ends at two)

You’re still in bed at ten and work began at eight
You’ve left your pen at home, so far things are going great
Your lecturer warned you there’d be days like these
But she didn’t tell you about the old lady who wants to show you the rash on her knees and

I’ll be there for you
(When the tea starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(That customer has a cold sore)
I’ll be there for you
(Until my shift ends at two)

Your staff are sick and start to disappear
Two MURs a day and 400 for the year, but

I’ll be there for you
(When the tea starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(That customer has a cold sore)
I’ll be there for you
(Until my shift ends at two)

Mr Dispensers Law

Have you heard of Mr Dispensers Law? I’m sure you have. It states that if something can go wrong it will go wrong. Unfortunately it always to the same patient, poor Mr Smith!

Here are ten reasons why we were unable to deliver his medicines.

1) His Oilatum was unavailable last year for months. He didn’t believe me.

2) His isosorbide mononitrate was unavailable due to an explosion at the factory. He didn’t believe me.

3) The fridge failed so we were unable to supply his proctosedyl suppositories. He didn’t believe me.

4) His Wockhardt generic meds got recalled by the manufacturer. He didn’t believe me.

5) The wholesaler sent the wrong item. He didn’t believe me.

6) The wholesaler driver got a flat tyre so was unable to come that day. He didn’t believe me.

7) His Cialis was on quota. He didn’t believe me.

8) His prescription was waiting to be signed by the doctor. He didn’t believe me.

9) After six years of him waiting in the shop with his 20 item script, we persuaded him to sign up to the reorder scheme and get his medication delivered. It snowed. Our driver couldn’t deliver. He didn’t believe me.

10) We were shut on Christmas Day and Boxing Day. He didn’t believe me.