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Struggling grad. Intern at major retail chain

Farmgurl20

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I am a 2020 graduate and recently was hired by cvs. I started working one month before graduation but didn’t do much but some counseling and pick up, drop off here and there. Now that I am done with school, I work full time. My actual training just barely started and according to my manager It hasn’t been going well. Her reasoning is that I am not pushing myself hard and i am not being extremely friendly to patients. I do multi task but according to her I don’t. She kinda expect me to know stuff after showing me once. This is the most busiest store with good performance in district. She kept saying how my last store didn’t teach me anything and there is huge learning curve ahead of me. She kept saying that even if I pass my exams now I am not ready for being pharmacist.

I don’t know, I felt that I am trying my best during this learning phase. I work hard and always want to learn new things. She also kept saying that being floater is not good and in order to be staff, you have to know everything. I feel like no matter what I do, it’s not enough for them. The store is always under staff,halftime I am stuck at pick up and drive though. I also think that some stuff you learn by working and comes with experience. I am sure chains have hired pharmacist right after graduation and have trained them and had no issue. But this people make it seems like it’s impossible for new grad to learn and be pharmacist for them. I am not new new to retail, I have worked as tech for grocery Chain and have done rotations there so I am used to pace and environment.

Anyone felt this way when they started as new graduate???
 

lord999

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Welcome to the shared suffering. Not only are you not alone, the only difference between us all is the degrees of new grad suffering. I interned at the busiest and most robbery prone stores in my district at the time (3rd and Bell "Hell", 35th and Dunlap "Damnation") and stayed with the company after graduation and still had teething issues. If you did not intern at CVS, it's going to be pretty hard, and if you did, you have to adjust to the pacing. The manager has metrics to meet as well and if she thinks you are going to bring them down, there is additional pressure involved. Threats only go so far with a new grad though.

And, CVS is a different class than a grocery. It does not matter where you came from, you must adjust in the way CVS wants you to work.

If that is the way you communicate though to customers, you have some work to do.
 
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sfachine

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I am a 2020 graduate and recently was hired by cvs. I started working one month before graduation but didn’t do much but some counseling and pick up, drop off here and there. Now that I am done with school, I work full time. My actual training just barely started and according to my manager It hasn’t been going well. Her reasoning is that I am not pushing myself hard and i am not being extremely friendly to patients. I do multi task but according to her I don’t. She kinda expect me to know stuff after showing me once. This is the most busiest store with good performance in district. She kept saying how my last store didn’t teach me anything and there is huge learning curve ahead of me. She kept saying that even if I pass my exams now I am not ready for being pharmacist.

I don’t know, I felt that I am trying my best during this learning phase. I work hard and always want to learn new things. She also kept saying that being floater is not good and in order to be staff, you have to know everything. I feel like no matter what I do, it’s not enough for them. The store is always under staff,halftime I am stuck at pick up and drive though. I also think that some stuff you learn by working and comes with experience. I am sure chains have hired pharmacist right after graduation and have trained them and had no issue. But this people make it seems like it’s impossible for new grad to learn and be pharmacist for them. I am not new new to retail, I have worked as tech for grocery Chain and have done rotations there so I am used to pace and environment.

Anyone felt this way when they started as new graduate???
Do your best and try not to worry.I had a manager who was Mr Walgreens.You will be OK.
 
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gocubs121

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I think it just takes time to get used to working in retail if you just started working one month before graduation. Just try your best since retail is a crappy situation overall. Also I'm a bit surprised they are having you work full time because you need time to study for your NAPLEX!

Can I ask what city or region you are located in?
 
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D

deleted562805

I think it just takes time to get used to working in retail if you just started working one month before graduation. Just try your best since retail is a crappy situation overall. Also I'm a bit surprised they are having you work full time because you need time to study for your NAPLEX!

Can I ask what city or region you are located in?
I agree with the previous poster. Try your best. In your days off from CVS, keep sending applications to grocery stores- Costco etc.
 
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Chrish

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This might be an unpopular opinion here but if you are salaried and have to stay bit longer after your scheduled shift, do it!

Think of it this way: you are new and probably not efficient. Your store is understaffed and if you don’t pick up your slack, then it falls on the other pharmacist. So stay bit late if you have to and try to get caught up. Once you become more efficient, you can start leaving on the dot. This attitude might help.
 
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Momus

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CVS only cares about speed and only speed. Never mind safety, there is none if you understaffed. If you don't keep up with the manager pace or beating her, you suck. That's all she cares about.
 
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Farmgurl20

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I think it just takes time to get used to working in retail if you just started working one month before graduation. Just try your best since retail is a crappy situation overall. Also I'm a bit surprised they are having you work full time because you need time to study for your NAPLEX!

Can I ask what city or region you are located in?

california
 

Farmgurl20

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Feb 11, 2020
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This might be an unpopular opinion here but if you are salaried and have to stay bit longer after your scheduled shift, do it!

Think of it this way: you are new and probably not efficient. Your store is understaffed and if you don’t pick up your slack, then it falls on the other pharmacist. So stay bit late if you have to and try to get caught up. Once you become more efficient, you can start leaving on the dot. This attitude might help.
I am hourly,I would do it once I am a pharmacist. Thanks for the tip.
 

Deja

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How can she expect brand new Grad has same speed as her , she has been working for company for 11 years.

don't worry just do your best, cvs has a longer learning curve, even seasoned pharmacist can struggle when they first start at cvs, you may just have an manager that's overtly harsh for "no reason", who knows, once you are better, you may look back and realize that manager wasn't even as good as she thought she was lol
also I feel like all new grads should float to 2 or 3 same stores regularly to start out and learn from everyone
 
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Pronounce Doxazosin

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Expecting people to learn the ins and outs of retail (plus the computer system) in a handful of shifts is unrealistic but unfortunately that’s the industry norm now. They don’t want to pay to train you and would rather throw you into the wolves.

If any pre-pharm or pharm students are reading this, this is the exact reason why you want start early with a company. It takes at least a full year to learn all the tricks and you don’t want to learn when you are the one in charge
 
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mentos

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Yup this is why you work while you're in school. I worked at what was considered a busy Target store (LoL) but didn't get hired as a pharmacist. I was one of the best there, just not enough pharmacist positions to go around. Then got an offer from CVS and started interning my last year. I absolutely sucked at first cause RXConnect is so crappy to learn. Took me a good 2-3 months before I became efficient.
 
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Farmgurl20

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I am just curious, Farmgurl...

What were you thinking the profession would be like when you entered pharmacy?

Did you work while an undergrad and in pharmacy school?

I started hating pharmacy 2 semester into it but it was too late so stuck around. I regrets staying in now mainly because of amount of debt and work condition but I know I will be out of this craziness in 3-4 years.
 
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Farmgurl20

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What is your exit strategy? How will you be out in 3-4 years?
lol i want to pay off my loan in 3-4 years. That’s the most important goal, I don’t have any other bills but loans. Once loans are done I want to work in mail order or somewhere better than retail. My SO has asked me to pay off my loans but I didn’t take the offer lol.
 

mentos

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lol i want to pay off my loan in 3-4 years. That’s the most important goal, I don’t have any other bills but loans. Once loans are done I want to work in mail order or somewhere better than retail. My SO has asked me to pay off my loans but I didn’t take the offer lol.

What if you don't find a job outside of retail?

Moral of the story, it is never too late to drop out of pharmacy school and cut your losses.
 

JustFillIt

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lol i want to pay off my loan in 3-4 years. That’s the most important goal, I don’t have any other bills but loans. Once loans are done I want to work in mail order or somewhere better than retail. My SO has asked me to pay off my loans but I didn’t take the offer lol.

It may just be that this plan is as well thought out as your plan to get into pharmacy to begin with.
 

Cleaveland

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OP,

Congratulations on completing your pharmacy school journey. I want to share a few tips that may help.

*Bring a notebook with you and take notes on everything you do and want to remember, so you don't have to ask about it again if you were taught something that day.
*Come in with a positive attitude as you clock in, and clock out.
*Have the mindset of you always want to learn and get better each day
*Refer to your manager that you would like to understand all the reports / metrics / goals. There are a lot of them. It's great to understand them and how each of them connect to one another. This will allow you to be on the same page with your manager.
*Communicate with your team. In a pharmacy, your technicians are the backbone and determine your success. You need to be a team player, regardless of X amount of technician(s).

Best of luck.
 
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mentos

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*Refer to your manager that you would like to understand all the reports / metrics / goals. There are a lot of them. It's great to understand them and how each of them connect to one another. This will allow you to be on the same page with your manager.

LoL I was at CVS for 4 years and still don't know or care what any of those metrics mean. I just didn't let anything turn red and no one bothered me.
 
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Deja

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lol i want to pay off my loan in 3-4 years. That’s the most important goal, I don’t have any other bills but loans. Once loans are done I want to work in mail order or somewhere better than retail. My SO has asked me to pay off my loans but I didn’t take the offer lol.

well sounds like you have a "sugar daddy" lol just work part time and chill lol
 
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tlh908

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To impress the other pharmacist you need to

1) never let anything go red in qv
2) do all qt yourself, let techs count
3) cover drive thru so techs can count
4) do pci calls as soon as they pop up
5) answer most phone calls so techs can count.

This is the minimum expectations today. Not in 3 months but today. If you let your stores metrics drop then watch out.
 

Sine Cura

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To impress the other pharmacist you need to

1) never let anything go red in qv
2) do all qt yourself, let techs count
3) cover drive thru so techs can count
4) do pci calls as soon as they pop up
5) answer most phone calls so techs can count.

This is the minimum expectations today. Not in 3 months but today. If you let your stores metrics drop then watch out.


LMAO imagine a Walmart pharmacist doing any of this
 

wazoodog

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It's been a long while since my retail days but I do remember being on both sides of the fence - being both the one that received the same kind of feedback as yourself, and also on the manager side later on. Between then and now, I've gained a lot more experiences managing people in general.

Basically, when a manager uses those kind of phrases to you they're usually communicating frustration at what they see is inadequate skillset - but they don't necessarily have the managerial experience to adequately plan out your development. They perceive that some growth is needed, but they can't quite put their finger on what and how so they end up feeling frustration at not just you but themselves. Unfortunately, this is the norm - good people developers are relatively hard to find. If you want to progress, a lot falls on you to figure out and plan your own development.

So, from what you tell me it sounds like your manager is looking for you to be more proactive. To do the little things that they would do, but you're not doing unless ASKED to do so. You have to work on not just working harder, but with more "sense". As in, practice noticing the soft skills of staff around you and taking note of the little things your manager values a lot. How do they go about interacting with customers/patients? What's their tone of voice and what are their first few phrases? How observant are they of their surroundings and customers that are waiting nearby trying to catch their eye? How quick is your manager to go approach them? This applies not just to customer experience, but overall pharmacy operations. It's easy to get lost in your own work and just focus on self - but it's very important for a new pharmacist to observe what's going on...and learn to anticipate what needs to be done, at what priority, and how to do it more efficiently and of higher quality.

If you persist in doing this constantly from day to day, week to week, you'll increasingly see patterns of behavior for you to pick up on. It takes getting used to, but start seeing things as if you were in their shoes - what would you want done this moment and the next ...and who would you expect to do it. This simple saying has helped me to this day - it's your job to make your manager's job easier.
 
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Farmgurl20

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To impress the other pharmacist you need to

1) never let anything go red in qv
2) do all qt yourself, let techs count
3) cover drive thru so techs can count
4) do pci calls as soon as they pop up
5) answer most phone calls so techs can count.

This is the minimum expectations today. Not in 3 months but today. If you let your stores metrics drop then watch out.
I have already been doing all that except QV.
 

Farmgurl20

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It's been a long while since my retail days but I do remember being on both sides of the fence - being both the one that received the same kind of feedback as yourself, and also on the manager side later on. Between then and now, I've gained a lot more experiences managing people in general.

Basically, when a manager uses those kind of phrases to you they're usually communicating frustration at what they see is inadequate skillset - but they don't necessarily have the managerial experience to adequately plan out your development. They perceive that some growth is needed, but they can't quite put their finger on what and how so they end up feeling frustration at not just you but themselves. Unfortunately, this is the norm - good people developers are relatively hard to find. If you want to progress, a lot falls on you to figure out and plan your own development.

So, from what you tell me it sounds like your manager is looking for you to be more proactive. To do the little things that they would do, but you're not doing unless ASKED to do so. You have to work on not just working harder, but with more "sense". As in, practice noticing the soft skills of staff around you and taking note of the little things your manager values a lot. How do they go about interacting with customers/patients? What's their tone of voice and what are their first few phrases? How observant are they of their surroundings and customers that are waiting nearby trying to catch their eye? How quick is your manager to go approach them? This applies not just to customer experience, but overall pharmacy operations. It's easy to get lost in your own work and just focus on self - but it's very important for a new pharmacist to observe what's going on...and learn to anticipate what needs to be done, at what priority, and how to do it more efficiently and of higher quality.

If you persist in doing this constantly from day to day, week to week, you'll increasingly see patterns of behavior for you to pick up on. It takes getting used to, but start seeing things as if you were in their shoes - what would you want done this moment and the next ...and who would you expect to do it. This simple saying has helped me to this day - it's your job to make your manager's job easier.
what you said is spot on. It’s exactly what my manager was telling me.
 
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lord999

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CVS back in the day, 35th ave/Glendale, 7th St/Union Hills, I'm sure we talked for transfers or forged Rx warnings

Nope, you weren't open yet. 35th/Glendale was finally opening around the time I had graduated and it was an Eckerd's to begin with. To give you a decent idea, the old man wasn't dead yet and the pantyhose on head thief was not caught by the time I had graduated. Christown had finally closed its in-mall Walgreens location and moved out for Walgreens, and CVS had bought Eckerd's and my class reneged on working for CVS.
 

wazoodog

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what you said is spot on. It’s exactly what my manager was telling me.

My first pharmacy intern experience was at one of the busiest 24 hour CVS stores in a major city, regularly racking up 1000+ scrips daily. It was a chaotic madhouse and there was no training. I don't even remember there being training modules back then.

Looking back, the 3 important skills high performers had were:
1) situational awareness
2) ability to correctly prioritize (and re-prioritize) in a constantly changing environment
3) quick and efficient problem-solving (with people, the process flow, and tech issues)

Becoming better at #2 and #3 is highly dependent on how well you do #1. Some new pharmacists (and interns) just have it - usually they've learned it through other jobs. I wasn't one of them. One of the interns I remember worked at her parents' Chinese takeout shop in a low income inner-city neighborhood since she was young - she had a high level of #1 off the bat and was able to learn #2 and #3 quickly because of that. Another intern worked a 2nd job as an exotic dancer at a gentleman's club two nights a week after her shift at the pharmacy ended - she also was a high performer with good situational awareness. On the contrary, it took me a while to even recognize that situational awareness was a thing I had to get better at. This goes for just about every workplace. Even now in the industry, I see rotation students that come in with varying levels of situational awareness. I think most people eventually develop the skill but it's always noticeable (and impressive) when an intern or fresh grad has already developed it to a high enough level.

It sounds like working on improving your level of situational awareness will get you started on the path to meeting your manager's expectations.
 
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johnpharm01

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I am a 2020 graduate and recently was hired by cvs. I started working one month before graduation but didn’t do much but some counseling and pick up, drop off here and there. Now that I am done with school, I work full time. My actual training just barely started and according to my manager It hasn’t been going well. Her reasoning is that I am not pushing myself hard and i am not being extremely friendly to patients. I do multi task but according to her I don’t. She kinda expect me to know stuff after showing me once. This is the most busiest store with good performance in district. She kept saying how my last store didn’t teach me anything and there is huge learning curve ahead of me. She kept saying that even if I pass my exams now I am not ready for being pharmacist.

I don’t know, I felt that I am trying my best during this learning phase. I work hard and always want to learn new things. She also kept saying that being floater is not good and in order to be staff, you have to know everything. I feel like no matter what I do, it’s not enough for them. The store is always under staff,halftime I am stuck at pick up and drive though. I also think that some stuff you learn by working and comes with experience. I am sure chains have hired pharmacist right after graduation and have trained them and had no issue. But this people make it seems like it’s impossible for new grad to learn and be pharmacist for them. I am not new new to retail, I have worked as tech for grocery Chain and have done rotations there so I am used to pace and environment.

Anyone felt this way when they started as new graduate???

No. I am fortunate to have graduated in a better pharmacist market when employers were happy to have you. The suggestions that others have provided make me laugh because they would work if CVS was a serious and fair employer. If they don't like you personally, it wouldn't matter if you ran the pharmacy by yourself (keeping up), administered life saving CPR to a customer, and helped ring people out at the front register after your shift is over- all in one shift. Your best bet is to find a new job.
 
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DH1987

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She also kept saying that being floater is not good and in order to be staff, you have to know everything.

If CVS is anything like Walgreens, this is a lie. Company politics and favoritism are more often than not the deciding factor for who gets staff positions.

I say this as someone who floated for several years and now has a staff position.
 
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mentos

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If CVS is anything like Walgreens, this is a lie. Company politics and favoritism are more often than not the deciding factor for who gets staff positions.

I say this as someone who floated for several years and now has a staff position.

Yup my old DM had a thing for hot young blondes. They always got their own stores immediately. Everyone else had to float for months.
 
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Farmgurl20

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If CVS is anything like Walgreens, this is a lie. Company politics and favoritism are more often than not the deciding factor for who gets staff positions.

I say this as someone who floated for several years and now has a staff position.

My district hired only 2 grads including me and we both are hired as floaters. I also met 2016 and 2019 graduate, both hired as floaters barely got hours in 2 months. so they didn’t work for 2 months, crazy!
 
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