Every once in awhile someone will find my blog and decide to once again attack pharmacists on what we do and what we get paid for what we do. "Order entry and some allergy checking, how much do you get paid?"
Seriously? It's almost as if I were to sit here and sum up the current economic crisis to the fault of the Democrats or Republicans alone based on something I heard on TV. I have NO idea about the economy and I'll be the first to raise my hand and say so.
Since I have some readers that have no idea about what we do... I thought I would elaborate:
Pharmacists enter your order into a computer. We make sure that everything written makes sense. It's a first check kind of thing. We make sure that all the legal components of a prescription are there regardless if a hospital order or a retail order. Sometimes we cannot do this step and we hire a technician to do it. Sometimes we have to check several hundred per day and many times companies find it a better use of our six figure incomes to put us checking and having other people enter. Usually there is a ratio of 3-6 techs per one pharmacist. Imagine how much we check at that point?
We check the drug against your profile. Usually based on other drugs you are on (should you not disclose to the pharmacy other illnesses or conditions you have) we can tell what is going on. Oh so your doctor has written for Levaquin 750 mg daily. Oh snap! You have kidney failure. That isn't good. Wow. We're going to pick up the phone and call. Oh snap! This drug interacts with another drug on your profile. Oh wow! This drug is subtherapeutic. Oh! He wrote for 650 mg. It doesn't come in that strength.
We check the directions. Once daily, twice daily, three times daily, every 48 hours, every odd day, every even day. Every single day we check to make sure this is correct.
We check the tablet to make sure the tech put the right one in there. They all look alike.
Many times GASP! we get a phone call from a prescriber who wants our opinion about how to dose a particular drug. Here in the hospital I'll get a call on how to dose different meds. You mean the doctor doesn't know everything? Nope, they have to look things up as well.
Pharmacists serve patients and the community by providing information and advice on health, providing medications and associated services, and by referring patients to other sources of help and care, such as physicians, when necessary. Likewise, advances in the use of computers in pharmacy practice now allow pharmacists to spend more time educating patients and maintaining and monitoring patient records. As a result, patients have come to depend on the pharmacist as a health care and information resource of the highest caliber.
Pharmacists, in and out of the community pharmacy, are specialists in the science and clinical use of medications. They must be knowledgeable about the composition of drugs, their chemical and physical properties, and their manufacture and uses, as well as how products are tested for purity and strength. Additionally, a pharmacist needs to understand the activity of a drug and how it will work within the body. More and more prescribers rely on pharmacists for information about various drugs, their availability, and their activity, just as patrons do when they ask about nonprescription medications.
So before you go comparing me to a tech earning $8.00/hr, try to learn a little bit why I have a degree in chemistry and then a Doctor of Pharmacy (8 years) and what we do...
Just because Walgreens, Eckerd, Rite Aid, CVS, and your numerous grocery chains are hell bent on making their pharmacies look like a McDonalds drive thru... doesn't mean the person in charge back there doesn't deserve the pay they are earning.