Posts Tagged ‘ work experience ’

That Sticky Green Solution

Ever since finishing exams a month ago I’ve done hardly anything relevant to pharmacy, spending most of the time gaming, online, and generally passing time. But that was to change as I began working in a local community pharmacy.

I’ll start with just a bit of background on myself… I have never really been interested in community pharmacy. I’ve had experience in locations which receive a large amount of prescriptions, and the job seemed to be a case of checking items more than anything else. However, the pharmacy I’ve started to work with is different; excitingly so.

Located in the middle of the town it’s far from a pharmacy which solely deals with doctors and their prescriptions. Whilst they do receive a decent amount of scripts, they also work within the drug dependency setting, which interests me greatly. The interest stems not only from the work involved within this, but also the patients themselves. From those I’ve seen in the past three days, they were open about their problem and unlike what society portrays. Of course, this could just be an act so that they would get their medicines.

Methadone dispensing, more than any other, interested me. I spent almost three hours preparing instalments to be dispensed on the following working day, and soon realised how much attention was required. The act of pouring a solution is one that many would consider simple. But as the pharmacist I was working with said, ‘complacency is the biggest weakness’ – if pouring on autopilot with no care to what you’re doing, a mistake is inevitable… when it comes to methadone, you do not want to be the person who dispensed an overdose. And from the many instalments I measured, I found out early that constant checks were needed. Being alert, being active – I enjoyed. Greatly.

Being a retail pharmacy, we were also involved with the sales of goods. I will admit that I am no salesperson, and the past three days have only confirmed that to myself. When asked ‘is this the best brand available’ a sales person would definitely say ‘yes, it’s the only reason we stock it’. But myself? How can I say what is or isn’t good, when I have very little experience in that? It was purely coincidental that a few hours before that question was asked, myself and the pharmacist were discussing how the community pharmacist must remain a pharmacist, first and foremost, unlike many who belong to large companies such as Lloyds and Boots. The pharmacy I’m working in is an Independent one, founded a little under two centuries ago so the roots of the profession are planted within the shelves, counters and walls. This is not a shop, this is a pharmacy. We discussed how the profession could change in the next few years, with possible increases in the responsibilities of the pharmacist, and both came to the conclusion that we must remain true to the role, and not seek the money as pharmaceutical companies do.

Returning to the topic of sales, the act of aiding someone in choosing a product, either medicinal or cosmetic is one that requires some confidence. I previously had not encountered such experiences, so lack that confidence. However, after three days of working, I would like to say that my skills are gradually improving. My ability to communicate effectively, locate something, and work the till are getting better. Slowly. Of course, working the till is one that is simple, but needs practice to make perfect. Lots of practice.

I began this period of work experience not expecting to enjoy the work as much as I did. Of course, there were very quiet times during the day in which we did little to nothing, but the friendliness of the staff combined with the work that was done otherwise made each day very rewarding. I’d also like to say that the two pharmacists I worked with were impressive in that they were very much like the pharmacist I’d like to be, as opposed to the ones who I get the impression are filling the world. Maybe that’s because I see most pharmacy students who are not quite there for the right reasons? The first two days I attended were to make me familiar with the premises, the staff and the methods of working. The third was a case of me doing the work I will be carrying out in the upcoming future, as I continue to work with them for one day a week.

However. After three days of work, 6 days feels like an eternity of wait before I return. Is this the beginning of a relationship with community pharmacy, I wonder? Only time will tell.