I returned home from vacation Friday night and was at work Saturday morning only eight hours after my plane landed. I stood on my feet for the next 32 hours... and after sitting my butt on the beach for a week, I realized how physically taxing my job can really be. I was leaving work yesterday afternoon after working the weekend and I was exhausted, stressed-out, uptight, and had body aches galore... and I was already needing another vacation. As I was walking out the door to head home to a nice warm hot tub, the phones were ringing off the hook. The sound of a phone ringing is like nails on a chalk board to me... I just wanted to go home, but I grab the phone just to make it stop ringing.
Me: Hi. This is the pharmacist. How may I help you?
Other end: What is your phone number?
Me: (WTF?) It’s the number you just called??
Other end: Oh, ok, thanks (click)
Me to the staff: And that, my friends, is my final good deed of the weekend. I’m going home and no one better bother me for the next 48 hours.
Then I get home and do a quick Facebook check only to see this picture in my newsfeed. And I laughed out loud.
My initial thought for this blog was to break down each of these six categories, starting with “what my friends think I do.” I did a quick google search of “pharmacist pay” and the first thing I came across was a post written by the winner of the “Idiot of the Year” award. This idiot is probably best friends with the lady in my waiting room this weekend who made a scene by screaming: “This place is horrible. I can’t believe they said it was going to be twenty minutes. Twenty minutes to put ten pills in a bottle?” So instead of breaking down these six hilarious scenes above... I need to address this idiot poster. Here are his/her Princeton educated thoughts:
(Pharmacists) have a grueling course load in college and they do have a lot of information they need to be aware of. But come on, they make six figures for a job where they pretty much stand around all day and just fill prescriptions. They don't even have to diagnose anything, just fetch the prescription! Not to mention if someone asks them a question about the drug, they can just look it up in the computer. What do they do that is so special? They aren't the ones prescribing the medication. The doctors are the ones who are doing that. They are simply just fetching the order, similarly to a McDonald's drive thru employee, you place an order and they read it and get what you ordered. Should we pay McDonald's employees 100k a year because they might be responsible for us having a heart attack if they give us too many hamburgers? Not too mention, their schooling is not specialized in the sense that they need to go to a specific college for it. i.e. Harvard Law for law students. They do not need to go into graduate school either. They can go to a public college, enroll in pharmacy school and not pay a dime more than someone going there to become, say, a teacher.
I don’t know where to even start with this... but here I go.
** I didn’t need to go to a specialized school? I wish someone would have told me this before I spent seven (apparently needless) years in college. I spent three years in undergrad, took an admissions test called the PCAT (twice), sat for interviews, got totally stressed out, and had at least three nervous breakdowns. I hoped and prayed that I would be one of the 80 students admitted out of the 500+ applicants (about a 17% acceptance rate). During my (apparently needless) time in pharmacy school, I spent three years sitting in the same seat (that probably still has my butt print) learning about drugs and the body, and how drugs affect the body... and then one year of on-the-job training. I can’t believe they made me go to school for seven years when all I do is just stand around and “fetch prescriptions.” It apparently took me seven years to learn to count by fives, and I’m pretty darn good at it. And hey, they even gave me a doctorate degree for it, too!
** “and not pay a dime more than someone going there to become, say a teacher.” Google is your friend... use it. Google "tuition rates" and you will discover that pharmacy school costs just a hair more than a bachelor’s degree. Again, using the University of Kentucky (a public college) as my example, four years of pharmacy school will cost a student today $104,902 (note: this does not include the undergraduate coursework required prior to admission). In comparison, four years of undergraduate work to receive your bachelor’s degree will cost a student today $39,824. So, yes, you clueless poster, pharmacy school will cost someone more... but not much, only $65,078.
** The last time I checked, giving someone a double cheeseburger on accident when they actually ordered a grilled chicken sandwich will not cause them do die tomorrow of a heart attack. In fact, they will probably be very grateful you screwed up because deep down they really wanted to cheeseburger anyways. However, if I accidentally gave someone hydroxyzine (a medication used for itching) when the prescription was written for hydralazine (a medication used to lower blood pressure), there could be serious consequences that could possibly result in a hospital visit. So please don’t compare the wrong medication to pickles left off a hamburger.
** The next time your doctor writes a prescription for your child in teaspoons when it was supposed to be dosed in milliliters (five times the dose), don’t expect me to catch the mistake, because according to you, that’s not my job. I actually spend a good portion of my day calling to verify prescriptions for illegible handwriting or incorrect drug/strength/directions/etc. But I’ll stop doing that from now on... thank God. Now I will have more time to sit around and check Facebook.
** The other “little” things I do, like give vaccinations, check blood pressure, check cholesterol, and recommend over the counter products have now been taken off my list of job duties. It didn’t fall in the category of “fetch prescriptions.”
** In case you missed one of my previous posts, feel free to read here about all the different occupations I take on during the course of my day. When you come to pick up your prescription and I tell you I can’t print a label because my printer is broken, don’t expect me to lift a finger to try to fix it. That’s not my job and interferes with me “fetching the order.” http://rphinblueheels.blogspot.com/2012/08/i-wear-different-hat-to-work-every-day.html
** You are correct... I do have to look a lot of things up in the computer. A lot. Know why? Because there are currently 6,038 medications that are approved by the FDA. 6,038!! Maybe if the cook at McDonald’s had to memorize 6,038 condiments, he would get paid more too.
Thank you, idiot of the year. Thank you for making my job much much easier now. I am now definitely the top right guy in that picture above... hallelujah! And if your doctor doses your Viagra incorrect and you are in the hospital with priapism... don't blame me... I just fetched the order.