Friday, August 7, 2009

The Perils of Slowness

We had about a day and a half this week that was super slow --- summer time, vacations, whatever the reason. In all my time in pharmacy I've always found it funny that some of the same staff who complain about being stressed out and swamped all the time will turn around on a dime and complain bitterly when it's suddenly too slow. I can certainly handle a slow day -- heck, take advantage of it, cause you know it isn't going to last. If nothing else, I feel we can use the time to clean up the pigsty around us.

But pharmacy workers are hard-wired to be running like crazy. The good ones can be kind of a restless bunch. It's a strange phenomenon on a slow day to watch some of your co-workers become disoriented and sluggish. It's like everyone loses their edge, or gets out of the rhythm, or something. And I find more errors than normal on the few prescriptions I do check.

The final indignity after a slow day is coming in the next morning and finding that no one sent the drug order.

Sheesshhh...... it's like we're all on crack and somebody took the pipe away for a day!


The Ole' Apothecary said...

Is it possible to convey to those outside of ratail pharmacy what our work is like? Can we somehow explain to them that it is like an extremely busy restaurant, except that we are serving up poison (the root word of pharmacy is pharmakon, or poison)? I've been out of it for many years, but I can still feel the crack of the starting gun at nine o'clock in the morning, and it always was that the first patient's communication was one of severe rush, and that colored the day. It is all done in the twinkling of an eye, and I've heard more than one colleague say, "Hope I didn't damn kill anyone today" when the day was done.

Grumpy, M.D. said...

Yeah, gotta be careful. Either extreme can be hazardous.

Anonymous said...

Hi there.

I recently wrote/shot a web series pilot called "Hard to Swallow" based on my experiences working at a small retail pharmacy. Found your blog and thought you might find it humorous.

Hope you enjoy it and share with whomever might need/enjoy a 6 minute break.

or try

Anonymous said...

That is totally true on slow days, i find my brain turns to potato and i get stuck on things that are usually mundane and easy. I have recently moved to a quieter store than i used to work and from time to time i feel twitchy and edgey because i am not ruched off my feet.