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"Don't pharmacists count pills and that's it?"

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by bromine, May 16, 2007.

  1. bromine

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    My 16-year old brother was asking me how much money I'll make when I graduate from pharmacy school. So I explained how high the pay was, and he was really surprised. "All that for just counting pills?"

    Obviously, I told him no, that pharmacists do NOT just count pills. But I really had a hard time explaining that to him. Do any of you know of a good short explanation to give when someone says something like that? (without going into details of an entire job description)
     
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  3. Brixius

    Brixius Member

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    If you're talking to your brother (because I imagine you care about his opinion) I'd say something else, but usually I respond with "Yeah, it's pretty sweet." I know the value of a pharmacist and am very comfortable with what I do ... to hell with what everyone else thinks.
     
  4. ButlerPharm.D.

    ButlerPharm.D. Honor Before Glory

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    Ditto, I was sitting waiting to speak with one of the district managers for Walgreens and I was talking to this gentleman who was waiting for his prescription and we ended up talking about pharmacy. Needless to say, he was quite surprised to learn that pharmacy is a 6 year program (at least). All in all, I would say that the general public as a whole has no idea how long we go to school nor how rigorous our education is. It's my belief that if the public were more aware of the importance of pharmacists within the healthcare system and as a whole, they'd be more inclined to listen to us and come to us for advice. However, that day will not come until we are able to undue the stigma that all we do is, "count, pour, lick and stick". For me, I think part of our image has been tarnished by the advent of drive thru; now people see us just as they do the people who work at McDonald's-how fast can we have their prescription ready not how safely can we fill it. I could go on and on but I'll save it for another time. In short, I would try to educate your brother on all that pharmacists do once you start pharmacy school; trust me you'll have a lot of things to tell him, and who knows, may he'll want to follow in your footsteps!!
     
  5. Priapism321

    Priapism321 Bursting with enthusiasm

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    I'd tell him he is 16, and that he doesn't know anything. While I don't know your brother personally, this assertion generally holds true for everyone that age.
     
  6. AvocadoLover

    Pharmacist

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    I met someone who thought pharmacists took an online course for 6 months (like Phoenix or something) to get licensed! I was so shocked how some ppl have no idea what pharmacists do and how much education we recieve. I think its important to tell ppl what you do and how you got there.
     
  7. l2en

    l2en Junior Member

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    This is in no way meant to be an attack on pharmacists, but I couldn't help but notice that one of the above posters has "Doctor of Pharmacy" as their signature. Where I'm from, pharmacists do not go by "Dr. so and so" like dentists, optometrists, etc do. Are pharmacists now called "doctor" as well?
     
  8. terse

    terse Senior Member

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    so i went for a checkup with my doctor and i noticed he graduated from john hopkins. pretty impressive i thought to myself.

    i told him i wanted to go to pharm school and he asked how long it was. i told him it's a 4 year professional program. he said "wow that's as long as med school." i was surprised he didn't know :confused:
     
  9. OrganicPharmer1

    OrganicPharmer1 P1, lost in lala land

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    Sure, why not. Unless your pharmacist still has a Bachelors degree. After all, a Pharm.D. is a doctorate degree. Pharmacists should be called Dr. so and so.
     
  10. nightcrawleRx

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    I totally agree but I guess the bigger question is how do we (Pharmacy students, pharmacists, techs, etc.) go about changing this image? I'm not saying I have an answer but I sure as hell would like to know one.
     
  11. OrganicPharmer1

    OrganicPharmer1 P1, lost in lala land

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    You can tell your brother there are clinical hospital pharmacists that work with doctors to treat patients using complicated drug therapies. There are research pharmacists that do (basic or clinical) research to develop new drugs. Etc, etc. And yes, we need to educate the public about what pharmacists do, one person at a time. It's a lot more than just counting pills.
     
  12. Da Alchemist

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    everyone knows how important computers are. Someone asked me will computers ever replace pharmacist? Like put everything in database so that you dont have to ask a pharmacist whats this/that? how would you guys answer this question besides a simple "No"
     
  13. ButlerPharm.D.

    ButlerPharm.D. Honor Before Glory

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    l2en, I've noticed many of your posts are in the optometry forum, specifically the Canadian optometry section. In Canada I believe that you still have the bachelors of pharmacy degree and so you may not be aware of the Pharm.D. However, the only pharmacy degree currently available in the U.S. is the Doctor of Pharmacy degree. When I look at the ID badge I am required to wear on my lab coat it says, “Name, Doctor of Pharmacy Student". And yes, pharmacists in professional settings such as academics or industry do actually go by "doctor so and so" however it is highly unlikely that if you went into a drug store in Canada or the U.S. that the pharmacist would require you to address them as "doctor x". It's a professional courtesy, I've earned the degree therefore I have the earned the right to use the title just as a medical doctor, dentist, or.... an optometrist.

     
  14. StringTheorist

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    i LOATHE it when people say this.:mad: when im a pharmacist, i wont have to prove my career to anyone. i know how difficult it will be to get where I will be in 4 years. and thats all that matters. f%$! the general population!
     
  15. imperial frog

    imperial frog Pharm.D

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    This.
     
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  17. sdn1977

    sdn1977 Senior Member

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    He's sixteen!!!! Tell him he'll know just as soon as you find out!
     
  18. Hpower12

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    making sure people don't die from the meds.
     
  19. RXlecom07

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    I graduate in just 3 weeks and when that 20/20 thing came out my own mother was shocked that technicians count pills. And my younger brother is in undergrad still and works as a technician (he coincidently used to sweep floors in a movie theatre, which scared my mom even more when she saw the episode, lol). I couldn't believe my own mom didn't know what pharmacists do, she thought they counted pills all day.

    She also won't listen to me when I tell her Lipitor is safe. She thinks eating 6 almonds a day will help lower her LDL of 180.
     
  20. l2en

    l2en Junior Member

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    Ahh i see. Yeah i was just a little confused because i've never heard of a Pharmacist being called a "Dr" before...but then again someone who earned a PhD in English is also called "Dr."...
     
  21. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex

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    Yep...just count pills.....all the way to the bank.....

    Are you for real in Pharmacy school and you can't explain what a Pharmacist does....you might be in some trouble....
     
  22. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy
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    I sincerely hope that all I have to do after I graduate is count. That would rock...seriously...
     
  23. sakigt

    sakigt Junior Member

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    If Pharmacy is that easy and overpaid, why dont they do it?
     
  24. MountainPharmD

    MountainPharmD custodiunt illud simplex

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    Its hard to pick up in an online post.....SARCASM.....ever heard of it?
     
  25. tussionex

    tussionex Pharmacist

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    i think "NO" would be the appropriate answer....as well as who would program, maintain, update and set parameters in said database....would it be the IT guys who have never touched a pharmacology book? no? guess we still need pharmacists!
     
  26. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned
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    You should tell your brother that the pharmacist doesnt even have to count the pills, the technicians or a robot does that. Tell him the pharmacist just hangs out behind the counter so the customers see someone back there who looks like they know what they are doing. :thumbup:
     
  27. bromine

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    Yes, I am starting pharmacy school in the fall. And I do know what a Pharmacist does- I've been working as a tech for a year and a half. I just didn't know how to react when people that don't know what they're talking about say that pharmacists just count pills.
     
  28. Dr JPH

    Dr JPH Banned
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    Well, to an extent they are pretty accurate when describing retail.
     
  29. ButlerPharm.D.

    ButlerPharm.D. Honor Before Glory

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    I just don't understand why people continue to bash "community" pharmacy. Who do you think your patients call in the middle of the night when they have a temperature, when they have a sore throat, or when they have any other common medical ailment; that's right...they call the pharmacy.

    Medicine and Pharmacy should be commrades in arms and not adversaries.
     
  30. OrganicPharmer1

    OrganicPharmer1 P1, lost in lala land

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    Not all pharmacists work in retail. And not all retail pharmacists do nothing like you said. Some of us actually have to work for a living.
     
  31. sakigt

    sakigt Junior Member

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    Luckily douchebaggery is universally understood.
     
  32. StringTheorist

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    :clap:
     
  33. Lurkerkat

    Lurkerkat Junior Member

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    Look at it this way. Spell and grammar check on Office Word are useful tools but would you want to turn in a term paper relying only on those tools or would you want your own human eyes (and most likely someone elses) to read it over? Computers are great for detecting major, glaring issues but when it comes to the finer details they can't handle it.Some processes, especially when someone's well being and life is involved, require the critical thinking that only a human with proper training can handle.
     
  34. twester

    twester Senior Member

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    In addition to counting pills, retail pharmacists in many states are now administering immunizations under collaborative therapy agreements with physicians. I'm certified through APhA and under the pharmacy practice law in Colorado to do it as an intern pharmacist. It's a part of my school's experiential curriculum. I think once this practice becomes even more widespread, patients will see their pharmacist in a whole new light.
     
  35. pharmaz88

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    LOL... and it's also accurate to say that DO's are wannabe MD's.
     
  36. airtim00

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  37. Farmercyst

    Farmercyst On with the Poodles already
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    We REALLY don't want to start this discussion. Here, or anywhere else for that matter. If you ever visit the Mentor forum perhaps you can read some of the posts by AT Still, very informative posts by a DO. Should give a little respect to DOs. I don't necessarily agree with dissing pharmacists, but I don't really agree with being disrespectful to any other person pursuing a professional health degree either.
     
  38. pharmaz88

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    Lighten up. I was just giving the poster a taste of his own.


    (for the record, my PCP, my ENT, and the surgeon who worked on my back are all DO's.)
     
  39. RituM18

    RituM18 Junior Member

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    WOW.. I picked the perfect proffesion to go into. I get paid lots of money to stand behind the counter and pretend to do work.


    On another topic: I think its ridiculous how everyone continues to bash one another's profession. Why don't people realize that these types of arguments will never end, and they are pointless. It is sad that people's insecurities lead them to belittle others and their career choices. Oh well, c'est la vie.
     
  40. sdn1977

    sdn1977 Senior Member

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    The really funny (no - not laughing, just odd) is JP's girlfriend/wife/SO is a retail pharmacist.

    If my husband were that disrespectful of me & what I do I'd have lost him long ago....but then....he's just a dentist - not a real doctor - right JP??

    Love makes us make unusual choices.....

    :laugh::laugh::laugh:
     
  41. psychoandy

    psychoandy Junior Member

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    When diseases and comorbidities "read the book" 100% of the time, then we can be replaced :)

    Or I could just tell them that nurses and residents and attendings and whatnot have all the electronic database resources available to them to look up everything...same resources I do, ICU handbooks, lexi-comp, micromedex, etc. They still want to hear from someone licensed and (usually) more experienced than them regarding questions.
     
  42. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy
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    In all honesty, all of the people in hospital pharmacy give retail people grief about their job, but it requires a lot more clinical knowledge to do it properly than people give the pill counters credit for. It's the most irritating thing about being around all of these professors and hospital pharmacists. They actually think they are better than retail pharmacists. Retail pharmacists have to deal with (albeit less involved) clinical **** under more pressure, much worser working conditions, and less help. Retail pharmacists really do deserve to be paid more. It's a thankless job where people disrespect you mercilessly, be it the public or others in the same profession.
     
  43. Zeta09

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    Ahhh the age old battle of who is better.

    Seems this happens in every human arena. Hospital RPhs dog Retail RPhs and vice versa.

    In my estimation if you are a RPh running around a floor correcting improper dosing from that resident who just legibly wrote 15 Rxs on the new admit and ACTUALLY getting them changed, then that is the image we as RPhs want to convey.

    Retail has a different group of headaches but that doesn't necessarily denote less or more knowledge. Look I was able to pay off my school loans and car working retail AND I DIDN'T work A DAY OF OVERTIME.

    You need to have 3 different colored X5's to tote your dogs around? Work retail. You need a 7,000 sq foot house so that your ferrets have alot of room to roam and you don't mind getting any sleep? Work retail.

    You don't care about pay per se and are willing to stay CLOSER to the roots of what you may have learned in school. Work hospital. You don't mind saving several doctor's licenses (not to mention the pt's life) and nobody really cares. Work hospital.

    We're all just pharmacists. What do we know right?

    Students do you really care who's yelling at you whether it be the guy in your waiting room or that nurse on the 5th floor?? No. They are going to piss you off regardless. Sure there MIGHT be more questions involving actual calculations in a hospital setting but a more broad-based amount of questions in retail depending on the clientele.

    Your going to meet RPh's who can tell you the chemical makeup of your shoelaces (being facetious; but I call them the insomniacs) and folks who just do the bare minimum and go home. Happens in every workplace.

    I would say if you want to laugh but really see the ******ed side of retail pharmacy check out Angry Pharmacist blog. That guy is actually hilarious but has some valid points.
     
  44. JerryPharmD

    JerryPharmD Salt Miner
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    Ignorant things I've heard...

    I told one of the medical assistants that I was accepted to pharmacy school when it first happened. She said, "Is that a trade school?" Yeah, like the one you went to *******

    A patient said something about being replaced by a dispensing cabinet/ATM

    They make that much???
    ----------------------------------
    I hate people
     
  45. 31apps

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    i currently work in a research lab, but will be starting pharmacy school this fall. one of my co-workers has made several remarks that have INFURIATED me!!! :mad: she is a recent college graduate like myself, currently has no idea what direction she wants to take in life (other than science in general), and does not know a thing about the pharmacy profession. Despite all this, she still had the audacity to tell me that, "As a pharmacist you'll JUST BE DOLING OUT MEDICINE." Honestly, if all we did was "dole out medicine" would we really need to go to school for four years??!! :smuggrin:

    In another conversation with her she asked me, "Is pharmacy school hard?" I replied with a vehement "YES!" Then she asked me, "Well, do you have to do rounds at the hospital where you stay up all night and then are so tired that you have to sleep at the hospital?" My response was, "no". And then hers was, "Oh, hmm, i see," which was accompanied by a disapproving look. Apparently, she measures difficulty by whether or not you have to stay up all night and run around a hospital ward. if i wanted to stay up all night running around a hospital then i would have chosen that path, but it is in no way a measure of diffculty, dedication, or intelligence. She gets this kind of thinking from a medical student, also a co-worker of mine, who is an arogant man with a serious God-complex.

    I have also been told by an accomplished and well-published MD, Professor, and laboratory PI that I shouldn't go into pharmacy because "it would be a waste of my time and I am just too smart for that stuff." Similarly, an MDPhD student asked, "pharmacy?! don't you just count pills?"

    Are all people who are not in the pharmacy profession like this?!?! What will it take for people to recognize all that we do? ...the real kicker is that all of these people i speak of are at UCSF, a place that i thought was at the forefront of health and science, and was the most open and accepting universities in the country.
     
  46. airtim00

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    ah but who cares.
    we'll all be making bank.
     
  47. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy
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    **** 'em. I'd rather people think I was an idiot and don't respect me, anyway. It lowers expectations.

    It doesn't matter though. Respect is intrinsically devalued in our society. You are supposed to respect physicians and lawyers and professors and what-have-you no matter what, right? I think that's bull****. You don't respect them, you respect their degree. Now if we all started out with little to no respect for each other, then respect will actually mean something. That's the main reason why I don't get all that mad or upset if I'm not showered with respect by some schmo off the street. He really has no reason to.

    But I'm a few shades away from crazy, too, so my viewpoint is typically frowned upon.
     
  48. geneticclone

    geneticclone Guest

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    Dont kill me now, but im not even a pharmacist nor a pre pharmacist. But why do pharmacists take all those classes? I mean honestly i think you take more classes then you need.I think since pharmacy is as long as med school, then pharmacists should be paid a decent amount more than what they are being paid now.
     
  49. Caverject

    Caverject Try Some Schnitzel!

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    We take all those classes so we know what we're doing when the fecal matter hits the fan. Everything that we learn here in school will more than likely be used at some point. You may not see the point of learning something now but you defineltly will once you have a situation come and and you had to recall on a skill you learned many moons ago. Pharmacists do get paid a decent amount and the market will allow us to have pay raises when the time is right. Believe it or not, a starting MD makes less than a starting pharmacist
     
  50. omnione

    omnione SDN Pharmoderator
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    Looking at my upcoming curricula for the next three years at my school, I don't see a course that sounds irrelevant to the practice of pharmacy. There are foundation courses meant for accepted applicants who haven't graduated, but I wouldn't say that pharmacy school should be shorter than med school. Technically, it is anyway given that med school residencies are like classes in a work setting that pays you.

    I do like your idea about pharmacists getting an upgrade in pay however.:D
     
  51. omnione

    omnione SDN Pharmoderator
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    For those people who think that machines will someday replace pharmacists, have them watch I, Robot to show them what happens when machines screw up.:)

    Anyway, I think the uninformed public believe that all we do is dispense drugs without really knowing what those drugs do. They assume that the physicians will have already made that evaluation leading these people to perceive us as McDonalds-like worker giving out drugs instead of Chicken McNuggets.
     
  52. Shania

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    Yep ..that's it!!!Your bro will surely understand that later!!!By the way I have a question...there's someone I know who suffers from depression and anxiety...he asked me if I could order "clorazepate" online...I tried to search for it when I came across this controlled substance list which consist of a list of controlled substances which are not shipped to USA including "clorazepate". I wanted to know if I could order it elsewhere??
     

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