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Pharmacists Abusing Intern Usages?

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by Pianopooh, May 26, 2008.

  1. Pianopooh

    Pianopooh 10+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    So what I have noticed is it seems interns are taken for granted because they are ... interns. Interns can pretty much do everything a pharmacist can do, under the supervision of a pharmacist. Because of this definition of the intern role, I find that the pharmacist abuses this privilege. This is an observation from several of my pharmacy intern classmates as well, as comparing their intern roles to mine. The IPPE in NYS started last week and with only a week into my internship, I want to call it quits already.

    My case: I have the urge to call it quits because I am not learning much, and I am counting pills into a bottle (oh the stereotype is true!). The pharmacist is also unwilling to really teach me how to use the computer, which is fine I don't mind. But how am I supposed to see drug-drug interactions, or any other form of problems that comes up with the patient? I have brought this up, my pharmacist told me I don't need to learn the system since I won't be here for the long term and I'm not going to use it much (actually, I find myself using it now only from observing how others type into the computer, and playing around with it during my lunch break). And, I do use the computer when people ask me for refills and price checks. Which is another thing, refills -- when I get a phone call about refills I can't check right away since I'm not supposed to know how to use the computer. So I write down the refill #, and then I give it to the tech. Tech says, "Oh they don't have refills." Makes me call the patient back. This process could have been avoided if I was just simply taught how to do simple things on the computer, and the patient wouldn't have been upset at me on the phone.

    Friend #1: My other friend interning upstate is stuck on the phone all day, from patient phone calls to doctor phone calls. Whenever the pharmacist has a phone call, my friend gets it. And when I say all phone calls, I mean even phone calls from people asking about if a certain shampoo is in stock.

    Friend #2: This friend worked at the same chain, but is interning in a different store. Because of my friend's knowledge of the store already, they stick #2 at the register. And uh.. that's not part of what we're paying for to intern and learn.

    Friend #3: This friend has the worst of all. #3 has to sweep, wipe the counters, all for a good review from the pharmacist. Pharmacist says, "This is what I had to do...." as the reasoning. Poor friend!

    We're not allowed to switch sites once we have a site given by the school. If we want to switch, or fail the IPPE to go somewhere else, there is a fee of $250 (or just about).

    What happened to the respect of the profession? The teaching, the learning, the willingness to guide other pharmacy students into the profession? It's so difficult to love the profession now after seeing this kind of intern usage abuse. So it seems the interns are part of the bottom barrel and worst than anyone else already working in the store; as our role is part pharmacist and part everything else, we get to do both.

    Does anyone else have any good or bad intern experiences? Please share.
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  3. njac

    njac Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    it depends on the people you work with. I have some pharmacists who barely use me beyond a tech at all (other than that I can answer questions on the phone) and others who treat me as a full fledged pharmacist -- I spent 9 hours on Friday and Saturday doing all of the clinical duties for our 4 adult medicine floors. I ran all of my recommendations by a pharmacist or a resident before I put notes in the patient's charts, but other than that and them having to double check any orders I entered, I was treated as an equal.

    I find younger, more recently graduated pharmacists tend to be much more open and willing to teach. There are exceptions to the rule.

    I would address this with your experiential coordinator at school - ours want to hear about crappy preceptors!
  4. Aznfarmerboi

    Aznfarmerboi Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 18, 2005
    I think you are being fustrated with two different things. 1. Teaching you how to use the system is not teaching you the profession and 2. It would be hard to teach you if you are a p2 (assuming you are really graduating in 2011).

    I think a lot of factors go into what your pharmacist might teach or not teach you. If you are there for the summer only, there is no point in investing time on you. However if you are there for the long term, it is the pharmacist's best interest to work on you whenever he/she can.
  5. Pianopooh

    Pianopooh 10+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    Wow, I love your ability to make recommendations! I can't wait until I get to do clinical rotations where I use more of my knowledge versus to summer IPPE rotation. But even though it's a lot of hours you seem to be managing, and enjoying it too right? :)

    I do not mind that they do not teach me the system. I mind that I cannot read what interactions that pops up on the system, which otherwise I would not be able to see any other way. I would never know a drug-drug interaction popped up since I do not see it, nor would I learn how to fix the problem.

    Yes, I agree with the whole non-long term issue. This is true for seeking work and other pharmacy positions as well.. the only reason why I have an internship is because of IPPE. Otherwise I wouldn't have had the chance to be in a pharmacy this summer. A lot of pharmacies doesn't seem to want to invest the time into out of area students. I can't help it if I do not live in the same area I attend school. The workings of the realistic, corporate world!
  6. twester

    twester Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    I've had some great experiences as an intern with pharmacists who trusted me to do a part of their job. I've had some experiences with pharmacists where I was basically fed to the techs.

    As an intern, I have to be aware that I am not a privilege for the pharmacist to abuse. I'm actually a weight around his or her waist unless I am able to contribute something. I learned pretty quickly that the role of intern is pretty much sink-or-swim.
  7. firefighter9015

    firefighter9015 It's not THAT kind of study hour... 2+ Year Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    I would def. mention these experience to the experitential coordinator at our school. They should not be putting students in a situation where the students feel like they are not learning what they should. I know we had a situation like this at our school, and the coordinator pulled the student out of that location and moved them to another site. The orginal site still is not allowed to have students.

    Our state associations are working on a "Preceptor training" program, because right now in Kentucky to be a preceptor all you have to do is pay a few extra dollars when you renew your liscense and you get an extra sticker on it that says "preceptor" when you get you new liscense.

    As far as my experiences as an intern I have loved them. I have had 2 paid positions and one school experience. I have been able to handle many clinical situations and actually put the knowledge that I have gained at school to good use.

    As far as the poster who said they could not find a paid position b/c they are from outside of the area, maybe you would have more luck if employers thought that you may stay in the area you are in for the long term?
  8. Jbuprepharm

    Jbuprepharm The Poopsmith 10+ Year Member

    Apr 8, 2006
    this makes me happy that internships here are essentially summer jobs and unrelated to school work. However, I have had great experiences for two summers now (well 1.2 summers I guess) with the pharmacists teaching me a lot about pharmacy (I've worked with the company for 2 years, so I know the computers and all that already) and letting me do "intern duties" rather than having me count pills (unless needed, I don't mind).

    I'm sorry to hear about your bad experiences, and I think your preceptors are just lazy if they're truly treating you that way. You could both be getting so much more if they'd put in a little time to teach you.
  9. genesis09

    genesis09 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Feb 27, 2006
    For our community IPPEs/APPEs, the college actually as a condition of the program that we cannot work the register.
  10. Aznfarmerboi

    Aznfarmerboi Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    May 18, 2005
    Sorry to hear about that. I am in NYS too. I thought you meant that you were hired as a worker.

    In any case, I totally agree with you that if you were part of a program (assuming it is with your school), you should be doing a lot more. However pill counting might be the best way to start as a learning experience if you have never worked in a pharmacy before (I am assuming this). This allows you to familiarize yourself with a lot of drugs (brand/generics), double checking for accuracy, etc. I would not expect any intern (who havent done their clinical classes yet, and i am assuming you havent based on the year you are gradauting but I might be wrong) to go into the computer and work with drug-drug interaction (although it would be nice if the pharmacist can throw you one once in a while).

    I have never heard about IPPE. Can you tell me more into it? I know that for me when I started, I have to attend three sites in different settings in my freshman year. I did not do anything except observed what was going on in the practice of each setting. If the IPPE is something your school offers and what I described, I think the pharmacist is abusing your friends definitely (I dont think they were per se in your case based on what I said above if it was just pill counting. . . ). If the IPPE is mandatory, I think it is a serious thing and they should be reported to your school. You guys are paying too much for that kind of bs. . .
  11. UTPharm

    UTPharm 2+ Year Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    If this interening is just for IPPE's then shut the hell up and get your IPPEs outta the way as quick as possible. I do my IPPE's in addition to what i do for work. I dont really learn much doing IPPEs ( esp retail)

  12. gaba101

    gaba101 Doctor 2+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2006
    commenting specifically on your "interactions" issue--what do you mean interactions that pop up?????? if you're about drug-drug interactions (not the "do you mean amoxicillin, NOT amoxicillin/clavulanic acid?" notice that pops up on ANY pharmacy employee's computer, including techs and interns), then i've got news for you--i've worked for TWO major retail chains and those drug-drug-interactions that you so desire to see show up on the pharmacist's computer! so be patient--your chance will come. seeing that you're graduating in 2011, you wouldn't know a whole lot about drug drug interactions as a P1 anyway so chill.
  13. Pharmcdc

    Pharmcdc Troches & lollipops 7+ Year Member

    Aug 18, 2005
    San Antonio, Tx
    This thread is ridiculous. :barf:
    Just let it go away.
  14. RxWildcat

    RxWildcat Julius Randle BEASTMODE! Moderator Emeritus 5+ Year Member

    Mar 25, 2008

    hmm.. I'm gonna have to disagree with you here. I understand the point of this thread, however the fact is if you are being made into a tech who is not being taught anything, you should report that location to your school because the whole purpose of EPPEs IPPEs etc is to teach you new things and gain practical knowledge.
  15. Allure

    Allure 2+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2008
    I spend most of my time doing tech work also because it is a very busy store, but on spare time, my preceptor also shows me the business aspect of the pharmacy/store and I thought that was very interesting. I've learned so much about the company itself, so when I make my decision, it will be somewhat an informed decision instead of how much they'll pay me. I also have projects to do, so I get days off to do them. I'm doing more tech work than I would like to, but that's just retail. Overall, I think I'm pretty lucky to have this site.

    I don't know why they stick your friend at the register cause I'm not even allow to work in that area. This is what I've noticed at my school, even when you complain to them, they don't really do anything. So try to pick your APPE sites carefully.
  16. Pianopooh

    Pianopooh 10+ Year Member

    Jan 23, 2006
    IPPE stands for "introductory pharmacy practice experience." It is mandatory, and for my school we pay for the tuition for this 4 credit summer course over the 6 years of pharmacy school (instead of one lump sum, each semester we pay a little of the cost for this IPPE). Maybe your school has something similiar but they don't tell you that you're paying for it? In any case, it's required by NYS, and you have to complete 200 hours of it. You have to find a preceptor by January, and usually your school has a list of sites and will help to assign you. When you complete 3rd year successfully (end of finals, with transcript in), your school contacts the NYS Pharmacy Board and you will receive your pharmacy intern license.

    Yes I completely agree! There are reviews that each student complete for their site at the end of their rotation, but we're not allowed to read what the students write, so only the coordinators can see them. I guess the coordinators didn't feel that some sites were bad enough to be taken off the IPPE list.


    Lastly -- what's with the hostility on these threads? Seriously, if you do not want to read it or it upsets you, then don't click into the thread or bother to respond. Geez. It seems even some students are no longer professional or polite about speaking to one another. So I am a P1 and I may not have the knowledge of upper level students; but it doesn't mean you have to look down on me because of my grade level -- or look down on anyone for that matter.

    As for the d-d interaction that I apparently want to read so much that some posters feel are not important -- 1) I need to find d-d interactions so I can write about them for my school IPPE reports, even if these interactions are dumbfounded or they are beyond my knowledge, I have to write them down to know that they exist. 2) Even if these interactions are not important, as a pharmacy student I want to be well-rounded in knowledge; so I will make a point to learn as much as I can, including small details such as how to label a vial properly. It is part of the profession to conduct self-learning, and if you're not agreeing with my motivation to learn as much as I can at my IPPE, then that's your problem and your poor attitude as a pharmacy student.
  17. twester

    twester Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    It's good to hear that you guys get to actually work in pharmacies for your IPPEs. We get stuck in the OTC aisles. The experience goes something like:

    Me: Hi, I'm a pharmacy student can I assist you in picking out some ear plugs?

    "Patient": No, I found the ones I want. Say, where's the roach spray?

    I then get to write a page and a half about how I counseled my "patient" to keep the pesticide of of the reach of his kids, complete with how I could have done it better and what I learned from the experience. My "competency" statement is rejected because I did not embellish enough (and because it's the second competency statement submitted) and I get to add to it so that it's now a three page statement about less than nothing.

    Not only that, but I include this "patient" contact in statistics that measure the "impact" my presence in grocery store aisles has on my community - and I suspect somebody's writing a paper with those stats in it. It's my understanding this situation does not improve until the semester before I start rotations.

    If it weren't for my paid internship experience, I'd have dropped out two years ago. So be grateful you actually get to work in the pharmacy during your IPPEs. I get to work in a grocery store.
  18. Allure

    Allure 2+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2008
    I hate all this IPPE crap. I feel like I'm taking up space in the pharmacy. On top of that, the school wants me to write about how I counsel at least 3 patients. My preceptor already told me the first day that it's not gonna happen. No customer is gonna stand around for me to ask them a bunch of useless questions.

    And this tops it all, the other day, this guy walked to the pharmacy counter and asked me where the mustard was since he saw the mayo and ketchup, but couldn't find the mustard!!!
  19. twester

    twester Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    Is that three patients per week or three patients per semester? Either way, it sounds like you've got it kind of easy.
  20. rxlynn

    rxlynn Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    More than that, the IPPE hours are now required by ACPE, which is the accrediting body for all pharmacy schools. This changed in their 2007 Standards document, and schools are now in the process of reformating their introductory hours to conform to the standards so that their schools can stay accredited. So, all current pharmacy students are sharing some or all of the OP's same frustrations. This is more than likely creating a bigger demand for preceptors, so I'm not surprised that schools are having a harder time finding good preceptors.

    For the OP, I'm sorry that you are stuck with a bad preceptor. I don't know how many hours you have to do, but my advice is to just do what you need to do to fulfill the requirements and learn as best you can. If the preceptor is truly not providing you the opportunities you need to complete your written requirements, then I would definitely talk with your school about the problem. I do think it would be fairly unusual to do a community IPPE and not have to spend some time doing technician type work.
  21. Caverject

    Caverject Try Some Schnitzel! 10+ Year Member

    Aug 19, 2003
    49°43′N 11°54′E
    What do you think an independent pharmacist does at the end of the night?
  22. Pharmavixen

    Pharmavixen foxy pharmacist 7+ Year Member

    Jan 20, 2008
    Hey, you could have counselled him on what OTCs to take for GERD.
  23. Allure

    Allure 2+ Year Member

    Feb 17, 2008
  24. Twins fan

    Twins fan Aspiring Rock Star 2+ Year Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    You know, counsel him on what to do in case he tries to eat the ketchup, mustard, and mayo on something at the same time and it gives him a bad case of heartburn....sounds like a missed opportunity:laugh:

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