Locum Blues


Ever wondered what it’s like to be a locum?


@Dj_rai: That feeling of apprehension wondering what tomorrows hell hole has in store for you.


@Dj_rai: Walking in to a pile of prescriptions from weeks ago that need checking


@Dj_rai: The staff who do not acknowledge that you exist. ‘Hello i have a name! Not the Locum’.


@Dj_rai: The crap lazy locums who give us locums a bad name.


@Dj_rai: Store managers trying to tell me how to do my job. My response: “sorry is that your name on RP notice? Nah didn’t think so!”


@Dj_rai: Never having enough change for damn parking machines


@Dj_rai: No matter how early you set off or plan route you’re always late. Typical locum.


@Tobychanin: ‘The usual pharmacist always lends me anything’ I


@Weeneldo: It’s Saturday in a new location: just you, a counter assistant, an angry customer and a vanished prescription.


@Weeneldo: Even more fun: its Sunday, you’ve got 3 staff and none of them know the computer password. That was a bad day.


@David_Loughlin: You, a Saturday girl who hasn’t a clue & an unordered CD.


@weeneldo: Getting into trouble for breaking whatever mad rules the company has and no-one except the harshest manager will enforce.


@Tobychanin: ‘Well I asked for my repeat on Wednesday, why haven’t YOU ordered it?! Umm because I wasn’t here….


@Tobychanin: Notes left from the usual pharmacist with a to-do list, like full CD cupboard check.


@kung_fu_pandya: Had it all today: emergency supplies, complaining patients, first aid emergency


@Zartasha_A: When staff kindly make you tea … but you know that the mug is not the cleanest


@aye_sure: Awkward moment when you arrive at a pharmacy and you’re not the only locum booked!


@chrisking01: “Oh no Mr and Mrs X don’t take generic atorvastatin. They said they’ll leave the pharmacy if it happens again”


@chrisking01: “The Locum yesterday refused to issue this dosette without a temazepam Rx. Can you do it?” Err.. NO?!


@chrisking01: Hi what’s your name? You need to get x MUR and x NMS today for our targets


@chrisking01: The awful dirty looks you get when you fill in dispensing error forms. It’s for the good of patients!


@chrisking01: not getting any peace for 20mins to have your lunch




Things deliberately left by managers for the next day that need to be delivered/done for that morning. Enough time was available the previous day. Unethical practices. Very untidy dispensaries (paper work + waste everywhere). Poor dispensary structure + maintenance. Poor security for staff. Interestingly, Inspector not interested in this. Dispensing surface used for everything else, e.g. Cashing up, storing magazines, putting away stock. Company apathy to these unhygienic kitchens.


Manager’s not filing error report forms when they themselves make mistakes. They do it every time for locums. To be honest, also clearing up the crap left by other locums and some newly, cocky qualified (not all are like that). Understaffed places and Area Manager/Co-ordinators not bothered about acquiring help. It’s a danger to patients, hello? Also, constantly changing locum co-ordinators who have to get to know from scratch your area + issues that don’t allow you to work in certain areas (i.e. school runs, childcare)



One thought on “Locum Blues

  1. I started agency work a decade ago to supplement income and round out hospital experience, and all that’s mentioned has happened so far. The agency has slotted me to work all kinds of different places, even in a veterinary supply house, filling flock, herd, pack, etc. prescriptoins for everything from vaccines, to mass antibiotics to initiating milk let-down in pregnant pigs.

    The first retail job in a big box, was a day I’ll never forget as well as the two pharmacy students that were the techs.

    First, it was 70 miles away, and I discovered earlier on that Sat. morning that my car had quit, so I had to hurry and rent one, which I had never done before. I was a little late, and there were customers waiting when I arrived.

    The pharmacy was being remodeled and it was in a ‘cage’ in the middle of the store. I hadn’t used a security system nor the kind of key safe which was in a different location, and when we finally got in ‘the cage’ the ringing alarm would not shut off for a while.

    Then, there was the computer system, and I had to call someone for a password, and waiting and waiting. Then, the upset patients expecting their prescriptions from the day before, or needing urgent refill and new scripts from the Urgent Care.

    Adrian and Vivek the students kept us afloat that day. I could see that they were nervous wrecks, having to be everywhere at once. Adrian was more calm and quiet, but he did a lot of repressed anxiety moves.

    Each patient had a unique problem that I had to solve from scratch. One woman had run out of her prescription and the mail-order refill had not arrived in time, so she wanted me to give her a couple, but she didn’t have the old bottle. To me, a person just cannot come up to me and tell me they are out of their brand name Avalide which comes in several strengths and expect me to give it to them. But, I did learn how to handle that matter.

    I kept having to use the CII safe, and the recording book hadn’t been kept up to date, so I had to count everything I filled twice, and what was left as multiple bottles had been opened and for some reason the pharmacist before set all the bottles on their tops so I couldn’t tell what was in them in the rows of crowded drawers. Patients kept coming up and asking for behind-the-counter pseudoephedrine combination drugs,

    The store did not keep the drugs in order by generic, but by whatever was on the prescription, so I gave up on looking for the drugs besides ‘the cage’ was small and shelves were high and I couldn’t reach them without a dangerous stepstool.

    The bathroom was out of the cage at the very back of the store, but it didn’t matter, there was no time to use it.

    At one point an elderly man complained that I didn’t fill the prescription properly, and so I brought him (and his wife) in to see the prescription on the computer screen and Vivek was so hysterical, I thought he’d have a heart attack.

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