Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Those cursed little rolls of labels

Most of the technicians I work with are accustomed to having different pharmacists come through from day to day, and some of those pharmacists like to do things different ways. I am impressed with the technicians who try to remember the preferences of each pharmacist, or who ask "How would you like me to do this?" if they haven't worked with you a lot. It can't be easy for them to keep track all the time. Some pharmacists like to receive the prescription for its final check in as 'finished' a form as possible (like me). Others seem to trust the technician only to count out or pour the medication -- the rest of the paraphernalia (receipts, patient info, med guides and other paperwork) gets dumped into the basket for the pharmacist to sort through and arrange in some presentable form. To me, this is a frustrating extra step especially when a patient's got multiple prescriptions and I'm up to my eyeballs in waiters.

One technician told me he worked with a pharmacist who didn't even want him to stick the label on the vials (!) and visions of a counter-full of unlabelled med vials gave me nightmares.

Anyways, we have one or two pharmacists who don't want the techs to put any auxiliary labels on the vials -- they only want certain ones and so they want to do it themselves. Now, everyone's computer software spits out some auxiliary labels that are not worth slapping on the vial ("Take exactly as directed"? --- I hope that was implied...). And we have a few in our system that I think are needlessly alarmist, like the statin prescriptions that say DO NOT drink any grapefruit juice EVER. But why would any pharmacist not allow a "Shake Well " label on an inhaler or antibiotic suspension, or a "May cause drowsiness" on just about any pain med?
My point is that I'm standing there fiddling with these silly things when I'm already way, way behind and I wish that other pharmacist would lighten up and let the techs do the obvious ones.

I know, we're lucky if the patient reads the label at all, much less these little extras. I remember in pharmacy school wet lab having to carefully note all the auxiliary labels that should be placed on my newly created medicine. I just can't shake the habit that my Rx's look naked without them.

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