Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Two Years at My Pharmacy

It has been two full years that I have been at this pharmacy as a manager.

I took this position with the thought that I will work full time for the next four years to put Elizabeth through college. It took  some serious considerations. I have not worked full time for decades mainly because of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which made me very weak during cold months, usually from October to April.

There were so many thoughts that rushed through my mind. I was offered a manager pharmacist position. So much of this job was not me. My personality tends to be free flowing, not detailed and focused as in keeping track of hundreds of little tasks. To fulfill this position I must be a manager and a business person; keep track of inventory, overstock, and attempt to keep staff performance at a peak, and be the best pharmacist that I can be.

On one hand I love the thought of stretching my person beyond what I am comfortable with. On the other hand I am not sure how in the world I was going to accomplish that!

Then I encountered unanticipated problems. We were missing narcotics on regular basis. I must be vigilant in keeping track of that inventory. As a pharmacist I do not have meal breaks. I have had times that I would eat breakfast at 6am, only to find that I did not have time to eat lunch till 4pm or much later, and when I get home near 11pm, I would be so famished and would gulp down dinner before trying to fall asleep after midnight. This happens often during my dreaded 13 hour shift that occurs once a week.

Inspite of all these challenges,  here are some highlights of last year:

We caught 3 perpetrators at my watch co-ordinating with my supervisor involving police and investigators:
           involved a long time employee who stole narcotics over several years
           involved a floating tech from another store working at my store
           involved a perpetrator who forged a prescription and pretended to be the patient picking up the drug- This man was caught at a gun point by police. The police was hiding in pharmacy behind a drug shelf.

I received a commendation paper for being an excelling pharmacist with excellent customer service

I learned to love my technicians

We improved our service score from barely 60% to almost 90%

Then came the situation where no pharmacists ever want to be in. One of my techs left to be at home with her family more. Now we were trying to survive with one tech to cover 80 hours. Trying to survive with one tech when we needed three was extremely demanding. Then the one tech was scheduled to go on vacation. Our arrangement of borrowing a tech from 40 miles away backfired on us. The union pulled her from us at the worst moment. Union, seemingly did not care if they destroyed the business that they are supposed to serve.  We were left helpless. Now we were down to zero tech. That week was a week from hell. Both I and my pharmacist partner experienced stress beyond anything we have ever experienced in our careers. We probably destroyed our customer service base during that one week. Inspite of all that we are still here. I am still here.

We hired seven techs to date. Five of them have quit in the midst of training without warning us. Soon after hiring a tech, he/she may have realized that the responsibility and demand was beyond the wage we were offering. Each time he/she went on to their next employer and quit with out letting us know. Then we have to pick up the pieces and try to hold a business together without breaking. The last two of the seven is showing some interest in the job, that they want to stay. With much hope, life goes on.

I post this on 7/18/2015