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My experience so far as a pharmacy clerk...

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DoctorRx1986

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Hi there. I started working as a pharmacy clerk at CVS pharmacy about a month ago. I've managed to learn the basics of operating the cash register, receiving prescriptions from customers, refills, and working together with the pharmacists and techs. So far, I have to come to enjoy several aspects of my job, mostly the fact that I've been learning a lot about what many of the drugs are used for, but more importantly, I've been able to see for myself what retail pharmacy is all about. For all those people out there who believe all pharmacists do is pill counting, boy are you wrong! Though I look forward to my work, I honestly have to say I feel completely inexperienced, incompetent, and plain stupid sometimes. There are many times I just feel out of control because I don't have a very dominant and assertive personality. Retail pharmacy is very stressful, it is as a clerk anyway, and I tend to get very anxious and nervous when I have to deal with a line of about 8 to 9 customers who are looking forward to get their scripts filled and dashing out of the pharmacy as quickly as possible. I find it quite challenging and unpleasant to have to multitask with so many different people at one time. I feel the environment is very fast paced and have a hard time trying to get things done very quickly. Usually, when a customer comes to me with a script, I try to gather his/her relevant information (such as insurance/coverage, if he/she has been to this pharmacy before, and I try to make sure the medication is in stock) as efficiently as possible, but the majority of the times, there is some sort of obstacle that delays me in finishing with one person and moving on to the next. All of a sudden, I have someone coming to me out of no where asking me if the skin lotion they're looking for in aisle 5 is on sale, someone else who is not even on the line vehemently demanding from me why his insurance company did not cover his medicine or why the copayment is $83, and other dimwitted people who do not realize there is one freaking line and not two. I lose my focus in these situations and become stressed because I am not a robot, i do not have 6 ears to listen and answer to everyone's questions or pleas on spot, and why in the hell should i know if that skin lotion they're looking for or the carton of milk is on sale? I lose focus, the customer remains in line waiting because the tech can't find the medicine or it's not available, and before i know it, five minutes have passed and i still have 7 more people in line. :eek: On top of all of this, the majority of people seem to have trouble with their insurance policies and other forms of coverage and they constantly nag me, the pharmacist, the tech, etc... about why this and why that with the cost of medicine....excuse me, but i find it extremely irritating and a waste of time for them to ask me why they have to pay so much money. I've been doing fairly well lately because the pharmacists have told me to relax and take my time even if i see a long line because it's better to go at my own pace rather than make a mistake, but unfortunately, today was not such a pleasant day. There was a line of about 6 people and when helping one of them, i had to ask the pharmacist a question about a medication and when i told the customer to wait a minute, the manager saw me and told me "Get back to the line and assist the customer...you've been having these long lines for a while lately..." This really aggravated me because i was trying to find out some important information and i can't leave the customer waiting for a second? How am i supposed to help that customer then? The manager is rushing me and even though i have not made any serious mistakes throughout the month, guess what? Within 1 minute of listening to the store manager's comment, i swore my blood pressure went up from the added pressure, and gave a medication to the wrong patient....it turns out two people had the same last name, and because i was being rushed, i made a mistake...thank God the woman caught it and returned. When I was going at my slower, but steadier pace, i did not make such a serious mistake. I do not like and simply cannot be rushed. Who in the hell does this manager think he is and who do some of these patients think they are? Do they think we are handing out cotton candy or Whopper juniors? It really seems this way and it's driving me crazy...after all these experiences and today, i'm starting to doubt myself and if i should do pharmacy. I like the field, i definitely have the grades, and interviewed, but i feel completely incompetent and based on my performance and the fact that i am not such a robotic and extremely fast person, i fear that i will be a terrible pharmacist (then again, the pharmacy clerks have the grunt work compared to the pharmacist). Can you believe some customers have asked me AND the pharmacists questions such as "Are these medicines fresh?" What are we selling, some kind of potato or other vegetable? These patients are just plain stupid and have no idea apparently that these are chemical substances that can AND WILL kill you if not dispensed with care. I really think the manager is making a big mistake in rushing me or anyone. To make matters even worse, half the time, I cannot even read the horrible, illegible chicken scratch writing the MDs write and once again, feel mediocre as a clerk because i can't understand what medication is indicated. I feel terrible about everything and though i am very interested in how drugs work and love chemistry and all the sciences, i truly am doubting myself about my ability to thrive in such a fast paced environment as a pharmacist in the future.:thumbdown:
 

Pharm OU

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I generally don't respond to many posts on here but I felt that I should really respond to yours.

DO NOT feel bad about feeling the way you do. I was in your spot once and I questioned myself. Believe me, you will get the hang of it and before long you will be able to listen to those 6 people and talk to an insurance company at the same time. I too work for CVS...it is one of the most insane places to work at if you have never done the retail pharmacy type of work before. You will also at some point just have to tell those people who are asking you "well why does it cost that much" that you aren't the insurance company and you are not sure why it costs that much...if they have questions they need to contact their insurance company for those answers.

Another thing, DO NOT let the store managers tell you things like that, they would sure rather have a little bit longer lines and not have to deal with patients calling them telling them about all of the potential mistakes that can happen when a person is rushed. Patients have a right to ask questions about their medications and managers sometimes don't really understand the pharmacy (mine doesn't anyway).

Hang in there, it takes a while to get used to but you will pick it up and it will seem easy. I was a little bit like you and got frustrated but the most important thing that I have learned is that if you stay calm...the customers will stay calm. If you don't stay calm they go crazy!!!

Like I said...Hang in there...It is a crazy place to work and sometimes you will want to ask the people if they want fries with that...but there are some very rewarding times as well! ;)
 

choylifut

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Sorry to hear you're having such a tough time. Some comments and suggestions:

Do you work at a 24-hour store? Your description, with the long line, sounds to me like a 24 hours store. IMO, 24-hour stores are more hectic, less personable, than non-24 hour stores. I haven't quite had your experience but just remember you're still very new and trying to learn the whole pharmacy operation. I don't think you should let this experience decide whether you want to do pharmacy or not. Remember, one of the beauty about pharmacy is the varied working enviornments you can undertake - hospital, industry, academia, consulting. Retail is only 1 of many.

Secondly, I suggest you work during the weekends. My pharmacist scheduled me on weekends which I loathed at first but it made sense. Weekends are slower paced, at least at a non-24 hour, and I got to practice inputting Rx into the system, learn the different features of the computer system, pull meds, create PA's, know my responsibilities as a clerk and when to pass some requests to the staff pharmacist, etc. You'll learn all of that and in time, it'll get easier.

Third, don't be afraid to ask for help. If you see 3+ people in line, I suggest you ask the other clerks/techs/pharmacist, for assistance in the in-window. They can get the line moving quickly as you input the prescription you're working on correctly. You'll just add more work for the pharmacist if you input the wrong drug, dosage or dosage form.

Hope it helps and hang in there!
 

lessotto

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Hey, I understand you.... I think I started working at CVS about a month ago too!!! Had the same feelings 2 weeks ago or so!!!

You are still learning and do not know everything => that is why you need to run twice as fast and ask people for help. Obviously, as you spend more time working you become familiar with situation; soon you will know how to take care of a problem before the patient is done explaining "how insurance should be covering this med now".;)

I have a feeling that you only have doubts in yourself (and your speed!!!) because of manager's comments and you will forget about it tomorrow. Just take you time while you are learning and remember you will become "faster" with time/experience.:luck::luck:
 

SPharmN

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Yes! Yes! I know exactly what you're talking about! Those are my doubts and grunts too. So many idiotic and/or rude customers out there! And the god damned Walgreens just won't hire more staff! I had my interviews and got into some, but I still doubt whether pharmacy is right for me. I will never work in retail for my entire life.
 

luckyphooey

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I understand how you feel. I felt this way at first and I felt so strongly about it I decided I didn't want to be a pharmacist anymore. However, I stuck it out and now I really enjoy it, it gets easy as time progresses. I made alot of dumb mistake so don't feel so badly, you live and you learn and that's how you grow. I hope it gets better.
 

Farmxer

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Don't worry too much, man. Just be relax. you will get use to it. Just becareful to make sure the right drug goes to the right patience. If you rush, you might hand a medication to wrong people because they have simular last name. Take you time.

If they ask you that "how come I have to pay that much copay or how come my insurance does not cover my medication?" you just need to tell them : If you want to know why you have to pay that much, please call you insurance and they will explain to you.

If they ask you the stuff that not belong to pharmacy, you say: you should ask people work on the floor because their product and they know or you can page customer service for them (ask some one to help them)

There are many pharmacy settings, not only the retail so don't let the retail pharm scare you away.

Hope it help!
 

Avelox

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Everyone feels as you do when they first start in retail trust me. I agree with what most of the people said above. Realize that a career in pharmacy doesn't equal a career in retail necessarily, and that if you do choose retail, it really will get a lot easier as you learn more. When I first started I probably knew less then you when I was there for a month -- I didn't even learn how to type prescriptions till a couple months into it and I was crap at it for ages. The advise about working weekends was good, thats what helped me learn a lot more about processing prescriptions as well as giving me time to talk to pharmacists.

However, I disagree with what people are saying about always refering to people to call their insurances. Sometimes you have to learn to pick your battles and when you can do what in context of time. If a patient comes in whos 67 and barely understands you let alone her insurance plan, you can't just ask her to "call her insurance". Sometimes you have to realize you have to make that call for that patient especially if there is no line or it isn't busy. Also, as you learn more and more about insurances and drugs, you'll learn to have easy answers to "why this isn't this covered" or "why is my copay so high". Most of those questions have simple answers like "you have a deductable due to the new year" or "med Part D doesn't cover benzo's". These things just take time. Also, any career in health care will require you to accept that you WILL get yelled at (particularly at a retail setting where "customers" think they are exactly that- customers rather then patients). Nurses and MDs get yelled at not as much perhaps but still do. Just learn that you have to take a beating at times and remain calm -- eventually you'll get numb to it.
 

Pharm OU

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However, I disagree with what people are saying about always refering to people to call their insurances. Sometimes you have to learn to pick your battles and when you can do what in context of time. If a patient comes in whos 67 and barely understands you let alone her insurance plan, you can't just ask her to "call her insurance". Sometimes you have to realize you have to make that call for that patient especially if there is no line or it isn't busy.

I wasn't referring to the times where you have a 67 year old lady...I definitely try to make time to help these people out but sometimes (especially when you work for CVS) the only people who are working is me and a pharmacist. When in the middle of after work slam time someone decides to argue with me about their copay and how last year it was lower, I honestly wish I had the time to call their insurance company and ask why it's higher...but I don't and sometimes the insurance companies don't even like to give that info to us (it's happened). Like you said...pick your battles. Sadly CVS won't hire any help so the patients suffer and don't get that extra help that we could give if there were no lines or patients waiting.
 

Avelox

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Ya I know I wasn't trying to take a shoot at you ... just wanted to emphasize that there is not one type of response or guideline to each situation. Sometimes you'll have the time to go the extra mile and sometimes you won't depending on the context, and the more you work the more you'll learn what to do given each situation.
 

beancow

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Awesome rant. As a pharmacy clerk, I can definitely relate to this situation. Although, when it gets busy like that, the technicians/interns/(sometimes the pharmacist) come to the front and help bring down the line.

I totally agree with the high blood pressure observation. When I'm working, I feel like my BP is elevated for the whole time.
 

SaveThisLabRat

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Hey, buddy, don't feel down. Sheesh, I was a pharmacy clerk for two months back in 2005 at CVS, and let me tell you it was the worst job experience. I mean, so bad, I can't believe two years later I still want to be a pharmacist.

My main issue was with my boss. He was extremely miserable about having to work there (older guy), and I once overheard him telling a pharm tech how much he hated his job. Now if he hated his job, how could I expect him to show me a good time? Well, turns out he hated me too. At the time, I was taking over for a friend who was on vacation, so they had nobody to train me about how to use the register or speak to doctors or anything, so I had to learn it all on my own... and I failed miserably!

He would yell at me infront of customers, and the customers would actual tell me they feel bad for me (embarrassing!). Instead of doing normal clerk duties, he had me wiping up the counter and organizing the prescriptions so they faced outward on the shelf, taking out the trash, and basically being the maid. Sometimes on my lunch break, I would sit in my car and cry. You know I quit that sh** as soon as she came back from vacation. And I swore I would never do retail again.

Now, a little older and understanding that my boss was just a complete jerk, I can imagine going into retail again. You just have to have a backbone when it comes to customers wanting to take advantage of your time and kind demeanor. You have to learn when to say "no, I can't do that". Like one time an older lady came up to me to buy some glasses (which I should not have allowed because she wasn't picking up a prescription). After purchasing them, she needed help removing them from the container. This took a little bit of effort, and there was one lady standing in line behind her. So after I helped the old lady, the next lady GOT ON MY CASE for helping this lady. I kept saying, "I'm very sorry" and she would say, "No you aren't" and I would say, "Yes, I am" and she would say, "No, you aren't". UGGHHH. This isn't a fastfod joint lady, I'm in healthcare!
 

fiorio

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after six months u will get used to it, after you are store-certified, transfer to another store if you really hate it there. You are experiencing every new tech have experienced.
I had a horrible PIC before, ironically, the people i disliked were leaving the store sooner or later (weird) but good for me.
 
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AngelaCL

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Like everybody else said, you will get better. The first month is hard because there is lots to learn, but you'll catch on soon. You'll get used to doctors' handwriting and get more familiar with the drugs and dosages so you'll be able to decipher more. You'll learn shortcuts in dealing with insurance and typing prescriptions. You'll learn to not take grumpy patients personally and how to tell them when their demands are unreasonable.

My first week in the pharmacy was miserable and I wanted to quit. It seemed like there was an insane amount to learn and I would never catch on. Now I've been there 13 months and I love it.
 

PinkAerie

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Everyone has bad experiences, no matter what the job is. At my store, it's 24 hours and we've got a drive-through. Yikes. I've been working for about a year at CVS and I know my way around pretty well, but I got CHEWED out by a customer a few weeks ago that shook me up! I'm the only one who knows how to do drop off when I work and the other clerks just stand around and read magazines when there's Rx's to be filled, phones ringing off the hook, etc.

Since my co-worker didn't know how to change insurance (though she's been here the same amount of time as me and her dad works as a pharmacist at the store...), I had to do it. I told the lady that her insurance ended. Long story short: She gave me the wrong card, wouldn't give me the real insurance card, kept screaming that I was "unable to understand anything" and demanded that I give the insurance to the pharmacist to deal with- then 5 seconds later starts screaming at me for ignoring her. Keep in mind that people have been waiting 15 min. at the drop off for me to come back while my co-worker is standing around enjoying the fact that she got off the hook. Ah well! Life is life is life. Retail is retail is retail. She complained to the manager about me, but he pretty much knew that she was more upset about paying a lot of money than at me. (Although she kept saying, "This tech is trying to MAKE me pay a hundred bucks!") Don't take criticism to heart! In the end, hard work pays off and you'll have more experience to back up what you learn working in the pharmacy. Hope that helps!
 

mrblah

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gotta love retail pharmacy.......

get out while you can...
 

BillLy120

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Its true the first month is harsh....I work at a 24 hour cvs but no drive thru which is awesome. Honestly when i started working I got yelled at constantly by customers but once u know the system u get better. My manager was pretty good...first 2 to 3 days all i had to do was sit in the back and pull up past prescriptions and try to read them...The way to learn is to ask questions and work on WEEKENDS. Take advantage of your techs cause honestly they are the backbone...my techs were great all helpful....As for typing make sure ur next to a tech so u can ask them something wen u cant read it...itll get better...I love retail but I would work night shift since im a night person anywayz. Good luck and dont let bitchy customers get u down or the manager. We all have bad days even managers....stay positive its a good career and there are so many options for pharmacists besides retail
 

kismet

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The "incompetent" feeling will pass - I promise! Don't let yourself get down about the fact that you didn't know something, because you can't learn it until you learn it.. Retail pharmacy IS stressful. Your patients are tired, cranky, have been pushed around by ERs and insurance and what not, are worried about their sick kids or sick themselves... it takes a lot of heart but you've got to take a step back, take a deep breath, and keep on trucking. They don't hate YOU... they're just having a bad day (doesn't mean YOU have to have a bad day though).

Multitasking in any pharmacy is going to be a way of life. You can't avoid it. If you have a hard time remembering what you're doing, keep a notepad and jot things down. This also allows you to triage. Be realistic with wait times.. a patient will never complain if their prescription is ready when they show up but they WILL complain like crazy if it's NOT ready when you said it would be. Also I have learned that if it's not ready when you said it would be and it's going to take another 10 minutes to get it done, don't say 5 minutes just because you feel bad. Most patients will understand (especially if you explain there was an insurance problem, or the pharmacy is really backed up, sorry) but they get upset very quickly when they are not told the truth.

Refer people to the front of the store when they start asking if stuff is on sale. Don't offer to find out. Politely explain, "I'm behind the counter here and I don't know about sales/items on the floor, but the cashiers in the front of the store will quickly be able to answer your question." At most you can offer to page a courtesy clerk to the pharmacy.. but that's it. You might want to learn where the pharmacy-related things are, like OTCs, first aid, etc., but that's not your priority right now. Plus, you can always ask the tech.

Also yelling/snapping/criticism is going to happen, but when I started working in retail pharmacy, I was told: "if the patient gets too nasty to handle, get the pharmacist. You don't get paid enough to get yelled at... they do." Now, you can't run to the pharmacist for every. little. thing. (and really, you are the "first line" to handle everything else so the pharmacist can focus on the drugs) but if a patient is just flying off the handle there is no reason for you to take that abuse (and once they figure out you're "just a clerk" they will not believe a thing you say anyway..) You will probably develop a tough skin after a while and you will learn how the pharmacist deals with these people and be able to do it yourself. Of course, remember that once you are a pharmacist... it is your job to step up and take this abuse for your support staff! :)

As a clerk, it's not really your job to understand the MD's chicken scratch. You will receive training to become a technician and definitely to become a pharmacist. It is scary, but you actually get used to the way your usual doctors write, and once you actually KNOW all the drugs in the world, you can actually see what those funky letters are supposed to be. But don't feel bad right now that you can't understand it, it's okay.

I think you will get faster as things go on. I'd say ignore the store manager. They don't understand what goes on behind the counter and their rear isn't on the line when there's a medication error.. your pharmacist already told you to go slow! Patient safety is the most important thing, always. Sorry, this post got really long.. but we've all been in your shoes.. it will get better.
 

confettiflyer

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Suggestion for future threads: line breaks/paragraphs.
 

Hels2007

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Well, part of the problem is that you are new, and don't know a lot of little details that will make your life easier. Another thing is - you are the employee, you are in control, not the customers. Yes, they do come first, but it is your responsibility to organize the environment. You tell them "there is only one line" and ignore those who try to cut in (unless it is something you can answer without taking your eyes off whatever you are doing). Be 100% polite, but firm. Also, stop trying to do the best for everyone. It never works. Do the best for ALL your patients (and what's best for the group is not necessarily what's best for each individual member of the said group). And don't let customers pull you into an argument. If you are unsure - tell them to step aside and call the experienced tech/intern/pharmacist for help. If you are absolutely sure - tell them, if they don't get it - repeat, then repeat again if necessary - after which you explain that there is nothing you can do and ask for the next customer to come up. They will huff and puff and glare but will have no choice but either to accept one of the options you offer or go away.

It helps to have supportive managers, though. I have trained three or four new techs/interns in the last few months, and I always try to give them tips on every little thing, and if I feel they are being overwhelmed I will come up and tell the customers to play nice.
 

inquirer89

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I'll be applying to become a clerk this summer at either CVS or Riteaid, and this thread has helped me see what I should expect....and I'm kind of scared lol
 

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I remember reading the first few posts on this thread a little while back and not continuing because I couldn’t relate. Well I got a job at Walgreens recently and wow do I understand this or what. I have been in the pharmacy for about four days and I feel like a *****. I love filling though. At the store I work at there is no specific rotations for the techs or anything. You sort of see what needs to be done and get on it. So when its really slow and a label prints out, in my mind I am fighting with the other tech to fill it. Lol. I really enjoy filling and the majority of my time the last four days have been spent filling. But other than that I feel totally stupid. I also started at the register and got to ring up a few customers. I am not really receiving any formal training. I just ask questions and they will answer them. I heard some stores have special cash register training. I wish Walgreens did that. I had some trouble with it. I can do simple things like ring up a customer who is paying by credit card and cash. But if they ask me questions on insurance and tell me to cancel an item after I have totaled it, I am lost. I have answered a handful o f phone calls and scanned one or two prescriptions. I haven’t really got to enter a whole prescription by myself. I got to do part of one but not the whole thing by myself. I hope I become more comfortable soon and learn everything. It doesn’t feel all that great not knowing anything. I hate asking them questions only because I have been getting a feeling that they get annoyed. This is just my store I am talking about. I have no problem asking for help outside of work or anything just at my store I see them looking at me annoyed when I ask questions. Am I learning too slow for someone who has been there for four days?
 

Sparda29

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#1 - Paragraphs are your friends. :)

#2 - Do not rush. Don't think of them as customers, think of them as patients. When I'm working drop off, I take my sweet time in finding out if we have stuff in stock, if the address, phone number, and insurance is up to date, if they have any allergies. If I don't understand something, I'll ask the pharmacist or I'll call the doctor. If they are closed, I will call the emergency line.

#3 - The store manager doesn't know anything, ignore him/her. This is why the Front Store and the Pharmacy should be two separate entities. I'm not gonna listen to a Business major about how to do my job, I'll listen to the guy with the Pharm D.

#4 - Prices. Tell the patients that you have no control over the prices and if they want to find out why it costs that much, call up their insurance's customer service line.

#5 - Non-Pharmacy Items. I just tell them that if its not a drug, I don't know where it is.

The funniest thing ever. I'm helping a guy out with medication, some fat lady barges over to the counter:

Fat Lady: "Where is the soda?"
Me: "...In the refrigerator..."
Fat Lady: "But I don't want cold soda..."
 

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Hi DoctorRX1986,

Wow, sorry you are having such a rough intro to retail pharmacy. That's crazy. Are you working fulltime hours?
I also work for CVS and started last September but I work less than 10 hours a week due to school and mostly weekends. So we've taken it slow, but no matter what you do, retail pharm is pretty much a baptism by fire for sure! The worst feeling is not being able to answer a question or know what to do!

One thing I am wondering though is if you are being trained using the CVS training program? Fortunately I was never put in a position that I wasn't qualified to handle like you seem to be and if I couldn't answer a question, the techs on duty were more than helpful in problem solving. I started with production filling and cash register pickup only. Only after working with the CVS trainer who signed off on my training as did the pharmacist, did I get to start learning more. Because I don't work alot of hours, I am just learning drop off & doctor sig codes and all the insurance stuff now and like I said I started in September !!

If I were you I would talk to your supervisoring pharmacist and area trainer about receiving better training and see if that helps. Best of luck to you.
 

pharmgrl5

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Wow, I really hope that things have improved for you since you wrote this post! I notice it's been a short while.

I got hired as a pharm tech to Hy-Vee (it's a grocery store), I was hired on April 4th and began training on April 10th. It's a brand new store, isn't open yet and there are around 400 employees currently being trained. 4 of which are in the pharmacy. Obviously the 2 pharmacists they hired don't require all the training the others do. :laugh: Right now I'm in the middle of 20 hours of customer service training, which is how to handle customers, rules and regulations, how to climb the ladder in the your job and be recognized, etc. I'm also in the middle of 7 hours of cash register training. I completed computer based cash register training and will be doing 4 hours of actual at the register training in a few days. I'll also be hearing from the pharm manager on likely either Monday (tomorrow) or Tuesday about when the pharmacy training will be starting. I'm feeling like I'll be at least fairly prepared for my job when the store opens. I mean really, at first I thought "how in the world can you spend 20 hours teaching us how to handle customers?!" but now I appreciate it and realize that I need to take what's being taught and really use it to my advantage. And it's a wonderful sign that they are willing to spend this much time on training (paid training I might add!), it shows they value their employees.

I am nervous about starting but do find some comfort in the fact that I'm not going to be only new person there. All 4 of us techs will be brand new, and as far as I'm aware there is only 1 tech with prior experience. At the same time that's horribly scary and also great. Great because we'll be on level playing ground and no one can act like a know it all. On the other hand it's scary because I feel like in the first bit of time after the store opens we'll all be running around like chickens with our heads cut off. We shall survive though and I think it'll be fine.

I am going to have to come back and update this later once I've actually started work. Right now I'm trying to treat my training as real work, with the same kind of attention and respect, but frankly it's not real work. I'm sitting in a big room with like 20 other people for 3-4 hours/day watching videos and having discussions on stuff.

Also, I'm going to be working approx. 30 hrs/week so hopefully should be able to catch on fast, at least I can hope.
 

DoctorRx1986

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I remember reading the first few posts on this thread a little while back and not continuing because I couldn't relate. Well I got a job at Walgreens recently and wow do I understand this or what. I have been in the pharmacy for about four days and I feel like a *****. I love filling though. At the store I work at there is no specific rotations for the techs or anything. You sort of see what needs to be done and get on it. So when its really slow and a label prints out, in my mind I am fighting with the other tech to fill it. Lol. I really enjoy filling and the majority of my time the last four days have been spent filling. But other than that I feel totally stupid. I also started at the register and got to ring up a few customers. I am not really receiving any formal training. I just ask questions and they will answer them. I heard some stores have special cash register training. I wish Walgreens did that. I had some trouble with it. I can do simple things like ring up a customer who is paying by credit card and cash. But if they ask me questions on insurance and tell me to cancel an item after I have totaled it, I am lost. I have answered a handful o f phone calls and scanned one or two prescriptions. I haven't really got to enter a whole prescription by myself. I got to do part of one but not the whole thing by myself. I hope I become more comfortable soon and learn everything. It doesn't feel all that great not knowing anything. I hate asking them questions only because I have been getting a feeling that they get annoyed. This is just my store I am talking about. I have no problem asking for help outside of work or anything just at my store I see them looking at me annoyed when I ask questions. Am I learning too slow for someone who has been there for four days?

Hey, Serene. I've been working in retail pharmacy for almost three months by now (started in late January) and I posted about my experience about a month into my job. I can tell you that what you're going through now is normal. It's ok not to know everything because you've only been there four days. Four days is honestly not enough to know everything. As a matter of fact, despite the almost 3 months or so i've been working, I still don't know everything either. There's always something new to learn. I get the most important duties of my job done, but there's always something new to learn in one way or another. So, don't feel stupid or *****ic. At drop off, whenever the patient hands you a prescription, try to decipher the hieroglyphics the doctor has written for a medication. If you do not know where that medication is stocked, if it has a generic, or if it's a cream, ointment, gel, tablet, liquid, or eye drops, ask the tech or the pharmacist to see if it's available. It is absolutely normal, for example, not to know where something is. I know where most medications are, but not all...sometimes it comes as a generic or it's a lotion and i don't exactly know. Just ask away regardless of your perception of how the pharmacist/tech feels. By the way, you might be mistaken in your perception of how the pharmacist or tech feels when you ask questions. Considering how you feel incompetent, you might be misled into believing the other employees feel you're incompetent and get annoyed with you. Get over that and you'll start learning with time. I am confident you'll do well. By the way, the fact that you're working in a retail pharmacy before you even start pharmacy school this fall will give you an edge because just think about the other students who have never stepped foot inside a pharmacy...imagine how incompetent, foolish, and stupid they're going to feel at first when pharmacy school starts. Those of us, like you and me, who obtain experience will not know everything surely, but we will have the benefit of experience and having an idea of how things work in a pharmacy. Think of that.
 

pharmgrl5

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I wanted to ask someone and thought I'd put it here... does anyone use a small pocket sized drug guide during work? I read somewhere a suggestion to get a small pocket sized book to keep in your pocket of your lab coat so that in the event you need to know something real quick and either can't or don't want to ask the pharmacist you can just look it up. Such as a generic name or something. Would that be something worth getting, at least to use for awhile? Or would it take up too much time? I'll be working in a non-24 hour/day store that does have a drive through and we'll have 1 pharmacist and 2 techs per shift working.

Also, how much would a small pocket sized notebook help and what kinds of things should be written down in it? Obviously you can't write everything down so I'd like to know what is important and not. :D
 

Srah

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I got hired into my present pharmacy job with no previous experince so I went through that same as you did. I felt rushed at times, didnt know answers to lot of customers questions like why copay so high etc. We have all made mistakes. I did too. But I think thats the learning process, and especially in the pharmacy there is so much stuff to learn. So after a little experience you will feel less rushed and stressed since you will know how to answer the questions and more practice reading the chicken scratch :). Confidence comes with time so just stay in there. I know those distracting questions you talking about, today at work this older guy asked me if a particular men's shaving cream was good. I am girl and clearly I dont shave so I said lets ask our pharmacist , and my pharmacist whos a really young guy (` 26 yrs) said he just shaves with soap in the shower so he dont know:D
 

RxChick

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Thanks for the input everyone. Definitely makes me feel better about the situation. I guess I was just a bit worried that I wouldn't be able to learn things as quickly as the rest of the techs. Oh and I started using a small pocket sized book to jot down notes and things. One of the pharmacists told me to get one. She herself used one when she started out and still has it. She actually took a really old looking little notebook from her pocket and showed me. I thought that was a good idea.
 

choylifut

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I wanted to ask someone and thought I'd put it here... does anyone use a small pocket sized drug guide during work? I read somewhere a suggestion to get a small pocket sized book to keep in your pocket of your lab coat so that in the event you need to know something real quick and either can't or don't want to ask the pharmacist you can just look it up. Such as a generic name or something. Would that be something worth getting, at least to use for awhile? Or would it take up too much time? I'll be working in a non-24 hour/day store that does have a drive through and we'll have 1 pharmacist and 2 techs per shift working.

I'd suggest Mylan's GBR (Generic Brand Reference) pocket guide. It's a quick reference to all/most common Brand->Generic conversion and vice versa. With experience under belt, you won't need it.
 

sando

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I wasn't referring to the times where you have a 67 year old lady...I definitely try to make time to help these people out but sometimes (especially when you work for CVS) the only people who are working is me and a pharmacist. When in the middle of after work slam time someone decides to argue with me about their copay and how last year it was lower, I honestly wish I had the time to call their insurance company and ask why it's higher...but I don't and sometimes the insurance companies don't even like to give that info to us (it's happened). Like you said...pick your battles. Sadly CVS won't hire any help so the patients suffer and don't get that extra help that we could give if there were no lines or patients waiting.


hey hang on thr...... if patient is fighting for a few dollar higher copay and doesnt understand tht it increases every yr and also if you change yr insurance... best answer is INSURANCE WILL NOT TELL US ANYTHING THEY WILL ONLY TALK TO THE PATIENT ABOUT THIS... WHICH IS TRUE
 

sando

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I wanted to ask someone and thought I'd put it here... does anyone use a small pocket sized drug guide during work? I read somewhere a suggestion to get a small pocket sized book to keep in your pocket of your lab coat so that in the event you need to know something real quick and either can't or don't want to ask the pharmacist you can just look it up. Such as a generic name or something. Would that be something worth getting, at least to use for awhile? Or would it take up too much time? I'll be working in a non-24 hour/day store that does have a drive through and we'll have 1 pharmacist and 2 techs per shift working.

I'd suggest Mylan's GBR (Generic Brand Reference) pocket guide. It's a quick reference to all/most common Brand->Generic conversion and vice versa. With experience under belt, you won't need it.

I HAVE IT AND IT HELPS TO LEARN BRAND AND ENERIC DRUGS... SANDOZ GIVES THT EVERY YR
 
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