Monday, October 6, 2008

Saturday Follies

Weekends in the pharmacy are often spent putting out fires --- dealing with issues that should have been dealt with during the weekdays when (a) the pharmacy was fully staffed, (b) doctors' offices are open, and (c) the daily drug order arrives to replenish our stock. A mistake that was made during the week will always rear its ugly head on Saturday. Some problem that no one followed through on will also take the form of a customer staring you down first thing on Saturday ("They told me they would order it and it would be ready.") When I worked in hospital pharmacy, people seemed to be more vigilant about making sure we were supplied for the weekend. Since there was always another shift following right after you, people passed on messages and FYIs a little more reliably. That seems to be lacking in my retail setting and it does bother me when I'm working alone on the weekend and really get dumped on.

Customers like to call in refills on Thursday that need their doctor's authorization, and show up Saturday morning, without CALLING FIRST, to find that it has not been approved yet. I break the bad news that they're probably looking at Monday or Tuesday. This is usually not well received. And no, I can't give you a few Ambien, or a Flonase, or (sorry) some Viagra to get you through the weekend.

Weekends also mean that the people we're dealing with down the medical food chain are more likely to be fill-ins, substitutes, or on-calls. To be honest, sometimes I don't mind a little challenge to my problem-solving skills and I feel good when I can work a solution for someone. Other times I really get mad at being stuck with the situation when it should have been taken care of in the Monday-to-Friday business.

This weekend I went above-and-beyond to solve a problem for someone whose doctor's office made a mistake -- it had nothing to do with the pharmacy whatsoever. It put me behind in checking prescriptions and the people waiting got pretty impatient, but there wasn't anyone else who could help this person. I could have turfed it off, but I tried to help -- and to all those impatient people waiting, your pharmacist trying to help someone may be another reason your prescription takes so damn long to fill.

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