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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

A little about my job

It seems as if all I do all day is sit at home and type random complaints about life, right? Well, that's actually only how I spend 58% of my day. Believe it or not I actually have a job. In fact that's an understatement; I usually have 3 or 4 jobs going all at once because I'm kind of a pharmacy busy-body and like to know what's going on in all the corners of my pharmacy world. During my last year of school we had to complete 7 internships that added up to 10 months of 40 hours per week work for free. In addition to on-site work, many preceptors sent projects or research home with us, which made adding a part time job to that really tough. Nonetheless I managed to balance four jobs last year: A retail pharmacy, a hospital pharmacy, private tutoring, and teaching test-prep classes for the MCAT, PCAT, DAT, etc. Basically I never slept or relaxed for 10 months straight.
Right now I'm trying to wind down to just one full time job, like normal people have (I flatter myself by categorizing myself with the normal people!). I'm starting full time at a hospital pharmacy once I get my license. Now many people don't even realize that hospitals have pharmacies and pharmacists, and that we process orders for all the patients drugs, deliver them, make IVs, answer questions, and run a lot of clinical programs required by Joint Commission, the hospital accrediting body. That's cool, if you don't work in a hospital I don't expect you to know what we do. But what amazes me is that the co-workers we interact with the most - the nurses - absolutely don't know what we do. This is a huge education opportunity here. No matter the scenario, a nurse will call us in the pharmacy in confusion ("I have to give 2 grams of magnesium. Are you going to make me an IV or do you want me to hang two pre-mixed bags of 1 gram?" "My patient is supposed to have Zantac but all I see is ranitidine" "I can't find Renagel in the med machine" etc). We will explain the answer to his or her question (I'm so politically correct!), think all of our problems have been solved, then we'll get the exact same question the next day. This is constant. For example, we use a pneumatic tube system like banks have in their drive-thrus to send medication to the floors. Everyone is aware of this system. Nonetheless we get called at least 10 times a day by a nurse looking for a drug. We'll ask, "Did you check the tube system?" and there will be a pause then, "Oh. No. I'll go check."
Now I am not complaining about nurses. If I worked in a retail pharmacy like Walgreens (boo! Walgreens is the devil!) I'd be answering questions from patients instead. That's my job. But I think there needs to be a little education here. Since we work together so closely, we should be familiar with each others' protocols and systems. Once I'm a pharmacist I am going to incorporate a little training into the nursing orientation. One step closer to utopia!

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