PistonFan531

10+ Year Member
Jun 23, 2008
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Hi guys. I am an intern at Meijer Pharmacy and I have noticed that I have a major weakness, and it deals with listening on the phone. I do not have a hearing problem, but it seems like at times that I have a hard time listening to people on the phone and I have to ask them to repeat themselves over and over again. I do not know what my problem is. Like for example, earlier today I was on the phone with a doctor and I had to ask him repeatedly how to spell his last name and what his office phone number was. It is very frustrating because I feel very dumb every time this happens. Do you guys have any advice for me on how to improve my listening skills when I am on the phone with doctors or patients? How can I improve in this area?
 

Gombrich12

5+ Year Member
Dec 4, 2013
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If you're new to the job it just takes time. Everything will feel like it's going really fast for you until you get some more experience. Also, do one thing at a time until you demonstrate that you can safely multitask. Otherwise if you've been doing it awhile maybe you need to move to a part of the pharmacy that is more quiet when taking calls.
 
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Jun 15, 2011
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Just ask for the spelling once, give it your best shot. Just make sure to grab the office phone number and the DEA or NPI so you can look up the correct spelling in the computer after you get off the phone.
 
Oct 5, 2012
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Just ask for the spelling once, give it your best shot. Just make sure to grab the office phone number and the DEA or NPI so you can look up the correct spelling in the computer after you get off the phone.
Bad advice. Never let the ANYTHING pressure you into doing or overlooking something you're not comfortable with. This type of behavior will only carry over to you accepting a controlled rx or overriding a drug interaction just b/c corporate or the customer is pressuring you to do so. You have the the right and authority to ask them to repeat anything multiple times, just be professional about it. Keep in mind its also THEIR responsibility that an rx is phoned in properly.

But yeah...it all takes time, after a while everything is just going to be second nature. Good luck
 

zelman

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Nov 27, 2009
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"I'm having a little trouble with my phone. Do you have any questions about the prescription, or can I transfer you to voicemail?"
 

msweph

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Jun 27, 2013
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I have a friend that works hospital and picks up an occasional shift a month at a retail gig. He makes every person he talks to spell out the name of the drug when he talks to them on the phone (can't do much about voicemail).

There are too many medical assistants calling in medications that have admitted to me that they don't know how to say a drug so they say it quickly and hope you don't question it. also even drugs like lisinoprol and fosinopril can sound alike with background noise, etc
 

positivesign

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7+ Year Member
Jan 3, 2009
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It's just like getting used to bad hand writings on prescriptions. Over time, we earn skills to interpret bad scribbling and noises, I think. From my experience, there are many doctors who like to speak very fast when calling in prescriptions to be done with it. Now that I think about it, they probably never were in the position to write down verbal orders like us, so they don't recognize that we can't write that fast while on the phone. If I can't keep up, I ask the doctors to slow down or ask them back on what I just wrote down to verify. After everything's written down, I always echo back the order before hanging up to double-check.
 
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zelman

7+ Year Member
Nov 27, 2009
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It's just like getting used to bad hand writings on prescriptions. Over time, we earn skills to interpret bad scribbling and noises, I think. From my experience, there are many doctors who like to speak very fast when calling in prescriptions to be done with it. Now that I think about it, they probably never were in the position to write down verbal orders like us, so they don't recognize that we can't write that fast while on the phone. If I can't keep up, I ask the doctors to slow down or ask them back on what I just wrote down to verify. After everything's written down, I always echo back the order before hanging up to double-check.
I let them go as fast as they want and then ask them each element of the rx when they've finished their micro machines advertisement.
 

PharmdA07

10+ Year Member
Jan 28, 2007
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Hi guys. I am an intern at Meijer Pharmacy and I have noticed that I have a major weakness, and it deals with listening on the phone. I do not have a hearing problem, but it seems like at times that I have a hard time listening to people on the phone and I have to ask them to repeat themselves over and over again. I do not know what my problem is. Like for example, earlier today I was on the phone with a doctor and I had to ask him repeatedly how to spell his last name and what his office phone number was. It is very frustrating because I feel very dumb every time this happens. Do you guys have any advice for me on how to improve my listening skills when I am on the phone with doctors or patients? How can I improve in this area?
You're still an intern so there's always the Pharmacist to doublecheck your work if you do the voice-mail Rx. Like other said, with time you'll be fluent with the phone. When I first started out as a pharmacist, I always translated out the actual direction: instead of saying BID or TID I'd say outloud two times a day or three times a day when repeating back to the prescriber or their designee (because BID and TID do sound a lot alike when spoken too fast); and although I wrote down on my Rx pad cf, I still read back to them as "with food" or UD and back to them as "use as directed" (UD sounds a lot like QD--imagine this with NuvaRing for example LOL). I still do this thing once in a while on a good day that I'm not too busy.

Also if I sense that the person calling in the meds or even with patients talking to me about their meds over the phone and the drug names are uncomfortable for them, I will add in caption as needed. For example: "Ok for Mr. Smith, you want to give him Sandostatin (emphasized...) the octreotide generic for his GI bleeding issue, right?" (you really don't want to give him Pravastatin!) or " So we'll give Ms. Kate DONnatal (emphasized) for her stomach issue!" (you really don't know if Ms. Kate is pregnant and need CitraNatal). You get my point. And as always, practice makes perfect so with time you'll be OK :)
 
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Amicable Angora

Lagomorpha
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Oct 5, 2012
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"I'm having a little trouble with my phone. Do you have any questions about the prescription, or can I transfer you to voicemail?"
I have a friend that works hospital and picks up an occasional shift a month at a retail gig. He makes every person he talks to spell out the name of the drug when he talks to them on the phone (can't do much about voicemail).

There are too many medical assistants calling in medications that have admitted to me that they don't know how to say a drug so they say it quickly and hope you don't question it. also even drugs like lisinoprol and fosinopril can sound alike with background noise, etc
Great advice.
 

StellargalS

lollipop! POP!
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Oct 5, 2013
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I have my techs set up the call. They don't just hear new prescription and think yeah home free. "pharmacist for new on 1". They ask for the patient's dob and pull them up in the computer and print me a face sheet with the name of the doctors +/- the callers name. I take it from there. It is much better service and it prevents a lot of unnecessary interruptions due to refills being called as new. This allows me to pull up the profile and then focus on the content of the rx. I can circumvent a lot of bull this way by confirming appropriate dose changes based on history etc etc. Last I do a read back on who everyone is. This takes buy in.

Another option is when they say this Marsha calling from Dr Dickweather's with a prescription for James Bubba. Pen in hand first thing I do is write down Docs name as I hear it and callers name if I get it in time. Then I ask them to spell the last of the patient and at that point they offer the dob. For Mary Ann I write MA yadah yadah. I do a read back and correct any murk in the docs name. Lastly I say I am Stella and you are Marsha. This warms them up a little and I can glance over the doc before they slam the phone down. I pull up the file and see if it is typeable before passing it to processing. If not I call back and clear it up or brief the tech on the clarification required if I am buried.
 

bananaface

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If you forget a name you can ask for the spelling. I do it occasionally especially with MAs who talk fast. It is embarrassing when it turns out to be n-a-n-c-y but whatever.