blueclassring

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here is ca, they don't allow it. and very few hospitals will allow you in to their pharmacies now because the hipaa act.

see if you can work the register if you can't volunteer.

WalkingThunder said:
Who has done some volunteer work in the retail pharmacy sector...and what was your experience like....thanks
 

DrEaMeRcHiCk

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blueclassring said:
here is ca, they don't allow it. and very few hospitals will allow you in to their pharmacies now because the hipaa act.

see if you can work the register if you can't volunteer.
What is the hipaa act??? What happened?
 

b*rizzle

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DrEaMeRcHiCk said:
What is the hipaa act??? What happened?

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. Basically guarantees to pts that you will do everything in your power to protect their private health information. It also means that in the workplace you operate on a "need to know" basis so you're less likely to disclose private health information about somebody. Hospitals and the like are only allowed to use PHI for what they call "TPO" (treatment, payment, and health care operations). In pharmacy, you pretty much need to verify that any time you're about to talk to someone about specific health-related information, that the person is either the patient himself or someone directly related to the patient's care. There are general guidelines, but each pharmacy chain (or independent) may have some specific operating procedures related to HIPAA. The exception is of course if you know the person on sight, but I still always ask who they're picking up Rx's for in those cases.

A pharmacy can get into a lot of trouble for violating HIPAA laws. If you work in a pharmacy, make sure the HIPAA stuff is the first thing you understand. We have a technician (an older lady) who was once talking to a regular customer as she rang her up. Because she didn't verify who she was picking up for (herself, not her husband), the lady picking up Rx's found out her husband was taking Viagra (something he didn't want her to know). Needless to say, lawyers were involved. It's really all common sense stuff, and a lot of people get annoyed when you ask them mundane crap to verify their identity, but you're saving yourself, your pharmacy, and the pt a headache in the long run.
 

b*rizzle

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blueclassring said:
here is ca, they don't allow it. and very few hospitals will allow you in to their pharmacies now because the hipaa act.

see if you can work the register if you can't volunteer.

Most retail places won't even bother taking on volunteers. You may have some luck with an independent pharmacy, but I wouldn't bother with a chain -- trust me, you wouldn't want to start out volunteering in a retail pharmacy anyway :p

In those chain pharmacies, there's just too much to learn, and they'd rather just hire you and ensure you're trained properly, according to how they want. Hospitals are very selective about volunteers nowadays, you have to submit to background checks and credit checks, and hospitals (at least around me) offer extensive HIPAA training to volunteers. Rest assured that no matter where you are, HIPAA will get beaten into your head, like it or not.
 

b*rizzle

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WalkingThunder said:
Who has done some volunteer work in the retail pharmacy sector...and what was your experience like....thanks
As a final thought on this topic, if I had to go back and do it again, I would not start out in retail. I jumped at the chance to do retail because I needed a paying job, and tech jobs are so hard to come by, but that's neither here nor there. Hospital is a lot more low-key, in terms of the stress level (it's still some hard work at times) but you're not dealing with fussy customers and their insurance companies, or messed-up inventory systems (if you're at Eckerd :p ). It's a better learning environment, and the pharmacists/other techs are more likely to be more patient because they're not trying to do a thousand other things, like they are in retail. My advice is to try hospital first.

When you feel ready, try retail. If you can handle the high-stress, high-energy workplace, then I daresay you could handle anything else in pharmacy. Retail is good experience when you're applying to schools, b/c a lot of people going into pharmacy often have no idea what they're getting into -- you can say that you've seen the worst of it but know that you still want to do pharmacy!
 

CSzGirl

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See if your school or local community college has any kind of internship/job experience programs. I was able to "volunteer" in a retail pharmacy through my school's Cooperative Education program (I earned credits and the school covered liability and workers comp).

I actually had a good experience with the program - my pharmacy manager was awesome and let me everything I legally could. I even got to do some of the weekly and monthly paperwork.

In other threads, people are saying how awful retail is, but as a pharmacist you can make it better for yourself. I love retail for the opportunities to build relationships with patients and the ability to do community outreach programs. Plus, with the state of our health care system, the most exciting changes in the pharmacy field are really going to be happening in the reatail sector over the next 10 to 15 years.

Even if you can't get a volunteer position in a retail pharmacy, try to set up a job shadow/informational interview. Try for at least two sessions, one when the pharmacy is typically not busy - lets you ask a lot of questions, then once when the pharmacy is usually busy - so you can see the "real" deal.