Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Let the Games....Continue

I had a prescription ready at the counter and called the customer's name.  She walked up to the counter with her nose in her phone.  Of course, that's not unusual.  She reached the counter and still didn't look up.  I waited a few seconds.... still no eye contact.  Normally I would walk away, but I decided to play a little game and see how long it would take her to look up while I stood there waiting.  I waited, and waited, and with only about 3 feet between us it probably took her a good 45 seconds to allow me a moment of her time -- and only a moment.   Yes, we've got a sign asking people to turn off their cell phones.  What a joke that is.   It often occurs to me that there is a whole generation of toddlers and pre-schoolers who, when they think of their parents, will picture them staring at their cell phone.  Until the kids get old enough for their own phone, that is.

Every once in a while you get an elderly customer who is a breath of fresh air.  They are polite and respectful.  They don't have cell phones.  When you talk to them they listen, and are appreciative.  They come from a generation who didn't run to the doctor with every minor ailment.  A trip to the doctor's office was a responsibility they took on to maintain a good state of health, or it was because they had a medical concern or condition that they felt required a doctor's attention -- in which case it was probably pretty significant to them.   A prescription is a big deal and they look at a pharmacist as someone providing a professional service.  I love those folks, and I will spend ANY amount of time with them, no matter how busy it is.

What is it about standing in line that makes people behave like first-graders? When we have a bunch of people lined up, some picking up refills and some waiting for new prescriptions, we've got to be fair.
The people who have been waiting for new prescriptions for 20 minutes may get called up ahead of someone who just walked in to pick up a refill.  We'll get to everyone, people.  I can't count the number of times I've felt as though I'm in a schoolyard.... and by the way, just because you're a regular customer who comes in ALL the time does not put you at the head of the line.

I feel vaguely guilty selling people Mucinex.  Expensive placebo? I always tell them to drink lots of water with it.  In fact, just drink the water, skip the Mucinex.

I still do a slow burn when someone walks up, slaps down 2 or 3 prescriptions, and the FIRST words they speak are "how long will it take to fill these?"   I always wonder if the first thing they say to the doctor when he/she walks into the examining room is, "How long will this take?"  Or when they check into the lab, or X-ray, or lay down on the gurney in pre-op --- are they asking this same question?
I wish I knew of a response that might convey a reminder that this a professional service, and not a sub shop.   Or at least a response that wouldn't get me fired.


Anonymous said...

> I always wonder if the first thing they say to the doctor when he/she walks into the examining room is, "How long will this take?"

Yes. Yes, they absolutely do. I had one lady answer her cell phone twice, while I was doing the physical exam

Crazy RxMan said...

I swear if I have to train every patient that comes in one at a time and asks me how long it is going to take... by golly I'm going to do it. Whether I'm busy or not they're told 15-20 minutes, and if I'm really busy they get told an hour.

The worst are the e-scripts. We barely get a label printed and they they are at the window acting like the finished prescription should be waiting for them already. What a load of manure, and more training... one at a time.

MDB said...

I used to get so many of those before leaving retail pharmacy. About the only time it didn't really annoy me to here the "how long will it take to fill these" were usually people I could tell just got out of the ER after getting a couple of broken limbs and we were quiet (boondock store I floated in) or when people wanted to know so they could drop their passenger who was also the person the scripts were for off at home and then come back later. I wanted to hug the people who knew they needed the meds but said they would be back in a few hours because they saw the 10 person deep line at the counter and I only had two techs to ring the register and help me out.

Anonymous said...

Mine is usually "Do you want it done fast or do you want it done right?" Can't have both.

Pharm.Tech. RDC'06

Anonymous said...

The answer to the question is, " As long as I need to fill your prescription safely and accurately to make sure there are no drug interactions or serious preventable complications that could result from you taking this medication. Ill call you when its ready. Thank you for your patientce in this very important matter.

Anonymous said...

When the asshats ask, "Just how long is this going to take? I would love to answer, As long as I f'ing need to do it right!" But I don't and won't as every pharmacy guest now gets a survey offer at the bottom of their receipt. If the guests think you are taking too long, you get an ass chewing from some dipshit who has never worked a day in the pharmacy. Seems like no one cares anymore if it is long as it's fast.

Anonymous said...

Agree with anonymous @7:22. You oughta work in an imaging clinic - they want to know how long before they're taken in.
But - we have 5 ultrasound rooms, 2 x-ray rooms, 1 mammo room and 1 bone density room. So you may be the last patient to walk in, but if you're for an ultrasound, and there's a room free, you'll be first to go in.
And not all of our ultrasound rooms have the same capabilities, so one ultrasound patient may be called out of order.
THEN you should hear the howls. I was here first!!!
Starting to think that the patient is not always right!

Frantic Pharmacist said...

Forgot to mention one of my secret wishes -- to have someone walk up and say, "I have several questions about my medications" -- and then I can say, "Great. How long is this gonna take?"

PharmD Blogger said...

Cellphones or maybe I should say smartphones, are taking over our world. People cannot put them down to save their lives, texting while wrecking! If you cannot beat them, join them. Maybe we should send our counseling via text, and the patient might receive it or converse by texting back! Who knows, but if that person suffers from not being counseled, it is not my fault.

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm an oldster now, but I cannot imagine going up to any live body to pretend to talk to him or her while I am still talking on a cell phone. I'd do that no more than I would approach you picking my nose or flossing my teeth. We have turned a corner on civility.