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I got hired as a pharmacy clerk. Any advice?

Poland

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    Bate,

    Well are you a certified technician or just starting out at a new job? Are you planning to follow up in this field? If you're just starting in a new job at a pharmacy I would say that you should have an open mind, be able to manage customer complaints about prescription filling, insurance. That you would learn more in time. If you're not certified you can study by yourself from workbooks and earn the title, then you might enjoy things more and you could earn better wages.
     

    SuperTech

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      bate18 said:
      i just got hired at sav on. havent even had orientation. please give me any advice or things i should know to help my first day go smooth.
      thanks


      I've been working for sav-on for almost 5 yrs... They don't call 'em "slave-on" for nothing... Have patience... A LOT.... you'll need them.
       
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      ndearwater

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        bate18 said:
        i just got hired at sav on. havent even had orientation. please give me any advice or things i should know to help my first day go smooth.
        thanks

        There are a lot of things you'll learn and it's all sort of coming at you very quickly. Just realize that you'll be getting information overload and be patient with yourself. I've been a tech for 3 years and I really love it but I won't say I've never had a patient mad at me, a difficult pharmacist, or a bad day in general. And in the beginning, sometimes I felt I was learning slowly.
        You'll be slow at first, checking NDC numbers on drugs (always do this, it's the easiest way to avoid a mistake) and counting and recounting. It's better to be slow than inaccurate. You'll get faster as you go.
        Experience in a pharmacy will really be beneficial to you if you are planning on going to pharmacy school. I think it helps in the application and interview process, but more importantly, in making sure you're choosing a career you'll love!
        Good luck and have fun!
         

        Poland

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          Alright, sorry Bate. Around here we tend to think of them as one in the same. Our technicians run the register too on most occasions. Must not have caught the word right.

          However, you will still need alot of that patience. Customers will probably treat you no different from a technician in expecting information. I was nearly surprised to find out that people I know did not realize you could work in the pharmacy anywhere without a technician certification.
           

          SuperTech

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            bate18 said:
            haha. do you have any on the job advice for a clerk? :oops:


            Be polite with customers... Smile... First few days they'll probably just show to the ropes... checking out patients, hanging prescription bags (it's a bag where they keep rx and hang in on the shelves alphabetically). Depends on your store, they could ask you to call md offices for refills... Also, try to learn where things are in the store.. A lot will come to the pharmacy trying to find random things.. Maybe walk thru a different aisle when going to the pharmacy.. It's flu/winter season and it can get very chaotic... You'll be fine... It's no biggie.
             

            brown0531

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              I've been working at CVS / pharmacy since March of this year. I had no pharmacy experience or training at the time I was hired. I was hired as a Pharmacy Service Associate which is basically a clerk/cashier with HIPAA compliance training (20 minute cd tutorial with a short quiz). The first day I worked the PIC (Pharmacist In Charge) gave me a "tour" of the pharmacy (basically, the locations of fast movers, suspensions, solutions, ophthalmic/otic drops, topicals, injectibles, etc) and all I really did was count pills and cashier.

              For me, the first couple months of starting the job were stressful. Often it would just be me and one pharmacist, and we'de have 4 people in drive-thru, 3 calls in the queue, a couple people dropping prescriptions at the counter, and like 4-5 people waiting to pick up. It's a lot coming at you all at once but eventually you'll be able to do 5 different things at once without breaking a sweat ;)

              I found an older post on these forums which pretty much explains what you'll be doing at your new job:

              Typical day for a retail pharmacist:

              36 Unhappy customers
              43 Rejected claims
              6 Pharm Tech mistakes
              3 Printer jams
              29 Refill-too-soons
              54 Insurance claim issues
              214 Minutes on the telephone

              Also, if planning a career in pharmacy, memorize these sayings:

              "This medication is non-forumulary."
              "I don't know why the won't pay for it."
              "Yes I am sure that this is what your doctor wrote for."
              "I have no idea why your co-pay is $15.00."
              "I can't refill this until next Tuesday."
              "Most insurance companies won't reimburse for pills accidentaly dropped in the toilet."
              "40mg? No, Doctor, they don't make a 40mg tablet. 50mg? Sure, ok."
              "Hi, this is XYZ pharmacy. I need to talk to Dr. Tremor because I can't read what he wrote."
              "Shoe laces? Isle 3."

              Anyway, congrats on the new job. Just remember to be patient with the customers.
               

              Poland

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                brown0531 said:
                Also, if planning a career in pharmacy, memorize these sayings:

                "Most insurance companies won't reimburse for pills accidentaly dropped in the toilet."
                "40mg? No, Doctor, they don't make a 40mg tablet. 50mg? Sure, ok."
                "Hi, this is XYZ pharmacy. I need to talk to Dr. Tremor because I can't read what he wrote."
                "Shoe laces? Isle 3."

                This is hilarious and probably very true. We get alot of this at the front of the store as well just because we work in a pharmacy. We open an hour before the pharmacy itself opens and we're basically just answering questions for people who want to know when they open and close. At night on weekends, we're also answering to people why the store would even be open and what kind of pharmacy doesn't stay until 9:00 on Sunday too? All of the pharmacies in our area close at 6 or before on Sunday evening.

                Yesterday we had a customer ask us to go and find the Robutussion for his dog, and we get alot of animal med inquiries.

                I have to say that it sounds great to be so fast paced on the busy days. A pharmacist probably needs the quiet days when they come.

                Our pharmacy clerks do pretty much the same as technicians during the weekdays.
                 

                bate18

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                  today was my first day, and i didnt even work in the pharmacy!! :oops:

                  they stuck me on a store register, just to get me used to things. hopefully ill be in the pharmacy next time, because i would much rather be there
                   

                  Poland

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                    bate18 said:
                    They stuck me on a store register, just to get me used to things. hopefully ill be in the pharmacy next time, because i would much rather be there

                    I would very much agree it should be better. Although, some of our pharmacy technicians have told me they feel like they'd rather come back to the front end.

                    Congrats again on your new job. I'm wishing, wishing there was more availability around here.
                     

                    pharmchick34

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                      I've been a clerk for 2 years at a nonprofit pharmacy. Remember to buy really good and comfortable shoes because you will be on your feet all day. Being a clerk is really fun, I think. If you are nice to customers, they give you great complements. I think you'll love it!
                       

                      Carboxilic774

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                        HI, I am starting my new job at a pharmacy on Sunday. I guess they will train me first using the cashier etc. Maybe the second day they will place me in the actual pharmacy (back of the store)
                        I am scared because this will be my first job dealing with customers face to face. I think my first day will be chaotic since the front of the store is probably 100x busier than the actual Pharmacy, plus this is a very busy store.
                        GOOD LUCK to you and let's keep in touch so we can share our experiences.
                         

                        MooLikeACow

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                          The Sav-ons I work at just opened their pharmacy about a year ago, they don't have a training program for their clerks. It's pretty much pick it up as you go along.

                          Definitely double check the address/ID of the person who you're giving the RX to, and the sooner you learn that computer program the better. Especially how to do refills and run things through insurance.

                          People will definitely give you a hard time, but the pharmacists I work with are really sympathetic and know the clerks catch a lot of the heat for things that we have no control over. Luck with it =)
                           

                          Reverent

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                            Patients are going to make you feel stupid, very stupid. The patients are going to be wrong 99% of the time, but you will be too new to realize it.

                            Don't try to learn everything the first day, especially insurance issues.

                            If someone is being an intolerable dingus, reffer them to a more experienced technician or the pharmacist, and they are sure to put them in their place.

                            Be aware of what's going on in the pharmacy. As a tech, cashier or whatever, you need to know what's happening with every station. If you take in a prescription and tell someone half an hour, but you have 100 unfilled scripts on your counter because your mid shift called out sick, or you have a fill in pharmacist that verifies 2 scrips an hour, you will have a very unhappy patient who would like nothing more than to take you outside and beat you senseless.
                             
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