Thursday, October 7

To Perform My Job

I had a meeting this morning. Apparently, everything we've done to improve ourselves, and our pharmacy in the past month has been overlooked, and we're getting "talked to" about how to "improve stuff". All of which we've already been working really hard at, and is already being done. FRUSTRATION!

That's not what I wanted to write about. What I wanted to write about are the things that I, as a pharmacy technician, am expected to do at my job.

  • Recieve prescriptions. I need to get the prescriptions into the pharmacy, ask the pertinant questions of the patient (Name, Address, Date of Birth, Phone Number, Allergies, Insurance Information).
  • Enter this information into the computer system. Add the patient, if they are new to our store, add/change any additional information, or information that may have changed. Make sure that the name they gave us is the correct name (not as easy as it would seem).
  • Enter the correct insurance information. If there were guidelines, it would be much easier than it is. Every card is different. Every card has a different set of numbers on it. Every set of numers is labeled something different. For example, on one card, it's called "Cardholder ID", and on the next, it's "Member Identification". On the next, it's "Red Fish Blue Fish". They are not all the same, and they do not have a standard. Some cards don't even include the numbers I need. I need 6 sets of numbers in order for an insurance to pay for the medication. If they cover that particular medication. 3 of those 6, I need to guess at. Sometimes, it's intuitive. Often times, it is not.
  • Enter the prescription into the computer. Make sure that everything on the prescription matches the things I put in there, to the letter. Be responsible for any mistakes, because it might cost someone something more important than a failed erection. Much more.
  • Fill the prescription. Measure out the medication, bottle it appropriately. If the patient requested non-safety caps, make sure that we have a signature stating that they requested it as such. Put the appropriate warnings/cautions/informational stickers on the packaging. Have the pharmacist inspect my work, and scrutinize, top to bottom, every single thing I just did.
  • Provide the customers with their medication. Make sure that the pharmacist talks to every single person walking away with a prescription (drag them by the ear, if necessary). I cannot, legally: talk to the patient about the medication, answer any questions they might have regarding the medication, mention the name of the medication within earshot of anyone not in the pharmacy, or talk out of turn. Ok, that one might be made up. I also cannot give any information regarding over the counter medications, as I work in pharmacy, and it's assumed that I know more than I actually do. I can't suggest a brand of asperin. I can't suggest a bandage brand. Don't be mad at me, it's a legal issue. I'm not allowed to share anything that I may know with the customers, because it's assumed (by them) that I know what I know. I can't tell you anything that I do know, for fear that something would go wrong. I haven't gotten my PhD in pharmacy, so I don't know crap. That's basically the gist of things.

That is the list of things that I already knew I was required to do. Yes, it's a lot, sometimes. Keep in mind that at any given moment, all of those things are happening at once. It's fine, I like it, but it's not something that everyone could do, and it's definately not something that everyone understands. Below, you'll find a list of everything I do that I am not technically required to do, that I do because I'm a swell gal, and I like to make people happy:

  • Smile at everyone. I make it seem like what I'm doing is easy, when in actuality, it's extremely difficult. I breeze around like I'm not carrying 100,000 of tension in my back. I like to do my job, and I like my job to seem effortless, at all costs. It makes everyone happier.
  • Fight tooth and nail with insurance companies. Fanagle my way through, getting your medication to you at the lowest price. Call them repeatedly, without the patient even knowing, arguing their cases for them. Making sure that everything that can be done, is being done.
  • Request refills on prescriptions that are expired. Talk to nurses, and pray that they get to the doctors on a timely basis. It's a great joy to me, when someone's prescription arrives, and we can fill it before they come in for it. There are a few things I cannot do: fill a prescription if it's expired, fill a prescription that has no refills, take a prescription over the phone (that's strictly for the pharmacist), know intuitively when your prescriptions run out. Those are all things that are up to either the pharmacist, the doctor, or you, to take care of. We don't know which medications you're running out of. We cannot fill a prescription before getting it from your doctor. We cannot make the doctor call us back. We can hassle him to death, but sometimes, he's on vacation, or out to lunch, and nothing can be done.
  • Ask you how you're feeling. Care about you, and your family, and make sure that you're all doing well. Those things I do because I actually do care.
  • Explain to the patients. I explain why I can't counsel you, I explain all of the stuff in the first list of things I wrote. I watch carefully, and only explain as much as you'd like to hear. I tell you why I'm having a difficult time with your insurance, or the many reasons why your doctor may not have gotten back to us yet. I explain what a PA is, and why it's required, and agree with you that yes, it is indeed a bitch. I talk to you, too, while you're waiting, to help you pass the time. Small talk, gotta love it.
  • Keep myself caffinated. Oh, you don't think that's a big deal? Well, apparently you've never seen me without it. Trust me, it's done entirely for your benefit.

All this stuff adds up to why I get a little persnickity at someone (anyone) complaining about me or my pharmacy. I'm just one of many people back there, and they all work as hard as I do, all day long. It runs smoothly. Don't let appearances fool you, it's not as easy as it looks.

[Sorry about the book-of-a-post, I know it's not something that everyone wanted to read about, but I didn't post it for everyone - I posted it for me. I needed to vent a little bit, after the meeting this morning.]

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