rx1983

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Dec 13, 2014
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So I'm working as a floater in Florida, at a store this past weekend which went well by myself, then today (Monday) when I arrive at 9 then there's an "intern" who shows up at 10:30. Background first: I just started with the company a couple months back but have been a pharmacist for almost a decade so I've been around the block a little at least. I briefly met this intern when I went through a couple days of training at this store around the time I started, just learning the computer system, etc. The pharmacy manager explained to me that the intern moved here from Cuba where she went to pharmacy school. She could not pass the test to get licensed here on her allowed 3 times so she just works as a perpetual intern. My first question is why in the world does a pharmacist intern license in Florida not expire? They all clearly say "DOES NOT EXPIRE." So someone can get an intern license at age 20, not graduate or graduate and not pass the board exams, get a job like this as an intern, and still be working there 40 years later as an intern without doing any CE? Technicians even now have to do CE but these interns don't?

So shortly after she arrives I'm on the phone with a customer who wants a refill on a medication I see is out of stock. Since our daily order had arrived but hasn't been checked in yet I go back and start opening the delivery cases to see if the drug is there. The intern comes back and starts shouting at me "Do not open the cases, I will do it, you will get it all disorganized, I have my own way of doing it!" I try to cut in and explain that I am simply looking for one drug but am unable to get the words out. As this infuriates me, I simply walk away to avoid a big argument in the pharmacy, and tell the customer that I will call them back when I have a chance to check on this. Probably not the right decision, but I didn't want the conflict. Question 2 - how should I have handled this? In part I was shocked because I have been treated so respectfully and politely at all other stores I have worked at since starting and strive to treat all of my customers and coworkers the same way.

The pharmacy manager at this store is ready to retire and really doesn't care IMO. He even told me that he trusts this lady so much that he never reviews the prescriptions she fills. I still think I will start a dialogue with him about this situation when he returns from vacation (I'm covering his vacation) because I, or other floaters, should not be talked to like this. Another issue is that she speaks Spanish and many of the customers speak Spanish and little English. I do not speak Spanish. I get the idea that she is counseling patients in Spanish. How can I supervise this when I do not speak this language? At one point today the store manager came back referencing a conversation she had with a customer who ended up complaining to him at the front of the store and it was clear that the topic of her conversation with the customer (in Spanish) should have involved the professional judgment of a pharmacist.

I appreciate any input.
 

owlegrad

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Another issue is that she speaks Spanish and many of the customers speak Spanish and little English. I do not speak Spanish. I get the idea that she is counseling patients in Spanish. How can I supervise this when I do not speak this language?
There is a pharmacist in my district who refuses to let any technicians speak Spanish when she is on duty because she cannot supervise what they are saying. She also will not allow any Spanish materials to be dispensed because she cannot check them for accuracy. I personally think that is way over kill, if you can't trust your techs to know what to say/what not to say, they shouldn't be your techs. The intern is a little bit trickier but I would say the same thing; if you can't trust her she shouldn't work with you.

Also, while the intern licenses say they don't expire I seem to recall they are only valid if the intern is enrolled in a COP (among other provisions), perhaps check the language of the law and see what it has to say?
 

Digsbe

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That's crazy if someone being enrolled once in a pharmacy school allows them to be an eternal intern.
 

owlegrad

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Hmm, I actually didn't see anything in the statute about needing to stay enrolled in the COP once you get the license. Maybe check their name on the verifying website and see what it says? https://appsmqa.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP

Let us know what you find out, I am quite curious now.
 
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rx1983

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Dec 13, 2014
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Hmm, I actually didn't see anything in the statute about needing to stay enrolled in the COP once you get the license. Maybe check their name on the verifying website and see what it says? https://appsmqa.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP

Let us know what you find out, I am quite curious now.
I searched her name and found her as a clear and active intern since 2007. There is absolutely no expiration date on the intern licenses. However I searched a couple of people who I know went to school in Florida and got licensed as a pharmacist and their intern license status says "null and void," so if you get a pharmacist license they appear to automatically inactivate your intern license.
 
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rx1983

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Dec 13, 2014
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Hmm, I actually didn't see anything in the statute about needing to stay enrolled in the COP once you get the license. Maybe check their name on the verifying website and see what it says? https://appsmqa.doh.state.fl.us/IRM00PRAES/PRASLIST.ASP

Let us know what you find out, I am quite curious now.
I think you might be right; here is the definition from the law “Pharmacy intern” means a person who is currently registered in, and attending, a duly accredited college or school of pharmacy, or who is a graduate of such a school or college of pharmacy, and who is duly and properly registered with the department as provided for under its rules." (465.003(12))

She's not a pharmacy intern per the law even though a pharmacy intern license doesn't expire.
 
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Digsbe

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I think you might be right; here is the definition from the law “Pharmacy intern” means a person who is currently registered in, and attending, a duly accredited college or school of pharmacy, or who is a graduate of such a school or college of pharmacy, and who is duly and properly registered with the department as provided for under its rules." (465.003(12))

She's not a pharmacy intern per the law even though a pharmacy intern license doesn't expire.
The only stipulation is if they consider her Cuban pharmacy schooling "duly accredited" as it has a provision for graduates to be licensed as interns and doesn't mention ACPE or any other accrediting body specifically. Regardless though, in my opinion she should be nothing more than a technician when it comes to any kind of licensure.

What exam did she fail? Was it an exam for foreign equivalency or the NAPLEX? If it was the NAPLEX they may consider her schooling "accredited" as she was able to sit and register for it.
 

NejixRockS

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I have a question that has been bugging me for a while now :poke: Its about pharmacists that do not speak a word in Spanish and still work down here in South Florida (or any other area where Spanish is used a lot). What do you usually do when someone who cannot speak English shows up in your pharmacy? Just let the Spanish speaking techs take over?
 

Son_Goku

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I have a question that has been bugging me for a while now :poke: Its about pharmacists that do not speak a word in Spanish and still work down here in South Florida (or any other area where Spanish is used a lot). What do you usually do when someone who cannot speak English shows up in your pharmacy? Just let the Spanish speaking techs take over?
Yeah. Sometimes they call for a store manager who usually speaks Spanish to translate.
 
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rx1983

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I have a question that has been bugging me for a while now :poke: Its about pharmacists that do not speak a word in Spanish and still work down here in South Florida (or any other area where Spanish is used a lot). What do you usually do when someone who cannot speak English shows up in your pharmacy? Just let the Spanish speaking techs take over?
If someone isn't working with me in the pharmacy who can translate I find someone in the store, I've always been able to find someone luckily. What is interesting to me in working at stores in the tourist area is that people come here from all over the world; lots of Europeans who don't speak English as their first language and South Americans, and almost all of them speak enough English to communicate. The patients who don't speak any English are the ones who have moved here and isolate themselves into Spanish speaking communities. There's a lot said about immigration but I think a lack of assimilation is a big issue also. With that said I'd love to learn Spanish and plan to... unfortunately I took French in high school.
 

BidingMyTime

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Well, the yelling at because you were opening up the delivery isn't that big a deal, yes she should have been more respectful, but I would let that one go.

The real issue is that it appears she is counseling customers in Spanish (or telling them who knows what.) As Owlgrad said, you should be able to trust your technicians, regardless of what language they are speaking. They should know when they need to come get you, and then they should translate appropriately your answer to the patient's question/concern. The sad reality is, if the pharmacy manager doesn't care, then nothing you say will get anything changed. Since you were just filling in, my advice would be not to work there again.