Monthly Archives: February 2012

Why does it take so long to slap a label on a box?

1: Patients walks in and leaves the door open on a cold day

2: assistant puts down her Take-a-Break mag and looks up

3: patient hands assistant the prescription

4: assistant makes small talk and complains she has no money

5: asks if patients pays or is exempt

6: takes a charge off the patient

7: assistant tells patient all about her last holiday which was a cruise

8: assistant brings script into dispensary

9: script falls on the floor

10: dispenser can’t pick it up due to her nails

11: pharmacist picks it up

12: places it in basket or clip to indicate waiting

13: tech scans the prescription

14: ETP not working

15: labels it manually

16:checks if its NCSO

17: broken bulk

18: eligible for NMS

19: due for MUR

20: proscript flags up that it is eligible for NMS

21: try to print out consent form

22: no paper in printer

23: paper reloaded

24: labels generated

25: labels run out half way

26: labels replaced

27: endorser not working

28: product dispensed

29: hand to pharmacist

30: checks for signature

31: in date

32: clinically appropriate

33: not blacklisted

34: wrong formulation dispensed

35: sent back for amending

36: re-dispensed

37: pharmacist loses his pen

38: the whole pharmacy team looks for the pen

39: pen is found in pharmacists trouser pocket

40: near miss log filled out

41: pharmacist hand endorses script

42: patient has a hard to pronounce name

43: pharmacist ponders whether the forename or surname is easiest to pronounce

44: pharmacist turns over script and sees that patient has paid for the prescription

45: shouts out patients name

46: patient comes to counter

47: pharmacist tells patient that their 28 disp aspirin 75mg is cheaper to buy

48: patient is refunded and buys 100 x aspirin 75mg disp

49: pharmacist secretly upset at losing NMS

50: patient leaves


Nomads (guest blog by @zams123)

Thanks to @zams123 for writing this blog

Nomads…also known as venalinks or usually blister pack dosette trays. We have 100 patients on them in our community pharmacy and I check 4 in a go so that’s actually 400 of them over a week!

I have a structured routine of managing the trays upstairs to managing the shop and dispensary downstairs in my pharmacy. However, the more busy the pharmacy gets, the checking process of nomads becomes trickier as it is a time consuming process.

A lot of healthcare professionals such as GP’s and receptionists don’t understand that this is a time consuming process. Especially when there are changes made to medicines. A prescriber will change it at the touch of a button on a computer, whereas the pharmacy staff require performing a surgical operation to the blister pack tray in order to make a change. I have encouraged receptionists and doctors to inform us ASAP if there are any changes made to medicines for tray patients, since recently a lack of communication by a GP resulted in a patient not receiving their medication on time.

It is very sympathetic when a tray patient is admitted to hospital, but this can be very frustrating if the pharmacy is not informed about it. The driver is unneccessarily wasting a trip to the patient’s house to try and deliver the tray. The medication is liable to change whilst the patient is in hospital, so if the pharmacy does not know, the pharmacist will check and seal 4 weeks of trays in advance…this will then lead to medicine wastage and extra manual work will take place to change the tray if any changes made.

Sometimes we aren’t even informed when the patient comes out of hospital until the day the patient runs out of medication. We need to chase up discharge summaries and request new prescriptions that need to be signed by a GP all less than 24 hours.

Checking trays can be physically stressful too. For example, your eyes are focused on every single tablet there is in the tray – this can be more eye straining when all the tablets are white! Basically at the end of the day I come home with red eyes. This process can also be physically stressful if you have to stand up and check – depending on how tall you are and the height of your checking bench, your back can be slouched and aches after a while.

Apologies if I put anyone off checking the trays! I just hope that communication improves between patients, GP’s, receptionists and pharmacists.

Non-pharmacist area managers

I don’t like the idea of having non-pharmacist managers. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure they are lovely people and great managers but they don’t fully understand pharmacists.

Its all targets with them. I understand that they are being pressured from above to ensure that we make the company the most money possible. It is frustrating and disheartening for the pharmacist to be harassed to complete services.

I am sure the pharmacist would love to offer a full range of services if they had an ACT/second pharmacist/lots of staff.

I feel fortunate to have a pharmacist as an area manager. I can ring them and ask for advice. However, my friends at other companies are being bullied by people who don’t understand.

Pharmacist managers probably do this too. I just feel that they understand what we go through on a daily basis better than non-pharmacist managers.

What do you think?

Dress to impress

Pharmacists are professionals and should dress as such. I have only come across a couple of pharmacists that still wear white lab coats at work. The majority wear smart attire.

We are told that it is important for us to look professional so that the patient will be more likely to listen and accept our advice. However, I have seen two GPs who wear jeans in their surgery and the patients don’t seem to mind.  Whilst I was a student I saw one locum pharmacist wear jeans and another wear a skirt and flip flops.

Some companies make their pharmacist wear a uniform e.g.  Tesco.  Some hospitals have a no tie and long sleeve shirt policy or a uniform. This is to minimise infections.

I rarely wear a tie at work and the only people that seem to care are my parents. The quality of my clothes is directly proportional to the amount of food that I spill on me at lunch. Be it Armani or Primani, yoghurt stains on black trousers are hard to explain.

Tell me what you think about our dress code.