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Walgreens Interns: Where Are You?

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by beachsaki101, Sep 30, 2006.

  1. beachsaki101

    beachsaki101 Member 10+ Year Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    I am being recruited into Walgreens internship program. The District Supervisor made me feel like she is my best friend. She even offered me upfront a position after graduation. The pay is in the 6 figure. I am flattered but not sure whether it's the right place for me and willing to give it a try. I am in northern CA.

    Please share with me your Walgreens internship experience: what you do, what you like and do not like, whether you see yourself working for Walgreens after graduation. Thank you very much!

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  3. GatorRxGirl

    GatorRxGirl 5+ Year Member

    Sep 23, 2005
    Somewhere on the beach.
    Remember that line in Harold and Kumar go to Whitecastle about "sometimes...I just wanna burn this motherf***er down"??? That's how I feel about Walgreens. Glad I got out of there while I did.

    NOTE: this is only MY opinion so go ahead and say how wonderful Walgreens is. The computer system is awesome. The politics is...not so much.
  4. eddie269

    eddie269 Still in shock... 10+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2003
    haha, at least someone said it first. I just want to start out by saying I loved my pharmacists (most of them at least) and LOVED my tech's. I was a clerk/typist.

    But my specific WAGS (and most in my area) is one of those chains that are under-staffed, have crazy waiting times, and add to the reputation that retail SUCKS! All of those horror stories about missing lunches, eating your food while standing in a corner, or taking your last break in the small bathroom are all true here. Especially when it gets hectic and wait time is well over 45 minutes, nobody has time to breath!

    Let me give you a summary of how they run things:

    In a med. sized WAGs (250-300 scripts/day),they have 2 shifts for pharmacists. Pharmacist #1 works 8-4:30pm and #2 works 12:30pm-9pm. They have 2-3 techs working with them. At my store, an intern was interchangeable with the techs and were scheduled the same. As you can see, the pharmacy is opened 13 hours, BUT there is only double coverage for 3 hours. Within that 3 hrs, 1 hr is for lunch, so it's really only 2 hrs with double coverage. What does this mean? Pharmacists get treated like crap! Their 1 hr lunch is their only time they can SIT and breath throughout the whole day. 15 minute breaks DO NOT EXIST unless you are closing (if it's slow). Then they get to eat their cookies and coffee in the corner of the pharmacy over the sink.

    TO put it in perspective, places like Target and Savon's (CVS now I think) who also does ~250-300 scripts/day) have 3-4 pharmacists work everyday with 4-5 techs. My gf works at a CVS and says there are ALWAYS 2 pharmacists on hand. This way, everyone gets their lunches and 15 minute breaks. The pharmacists never feel rushed during their breaks and are not over worked.

    A list of "bad" retail pharmacies to work in (I or my gf has experienced):
    -Rite Aid

    "Good retail pharmacies to work in:

    However, I heard CVS's are hectic also but the one my gf currently interns at in really "chill." She LOVES it and plans to work there after she graduates.

    And as usual, EVERY pharmacy is different. I've had floaters come in at WAGs who work in the East Bay and says it's sooo slow and boring. They enjoyed coming to the "jungle" to work every once in a while.

    ok, I'm sure I typed way too much and need to get back to studying. Again, this is MY opinion, so please don't get mad at me. :)
  5. alwaystired

    alwaystired 5+ Year Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Las Vegas
    Your opinion is fine, but I do not work at one of those CVS/Savons that you mention. My area is very short on pharmacists. We have 2 pharmacist to cover the entire week! We fill over 300 Rx every day and are open 13 hours M-F. We even do at least 150 in 7 hours on the weekendd. The RPh works all by herself all day and fills/counsels/takes new rx/does copies...everything herself. No lunchs, no breaks. nada. The store does have a giant staff of techs, but the RPh is still the only one to handle the pharmacist workload. When I come in as an intern, they finally get to go to the bathroom or eat thier cold lunch that they ordered hoping for a break.

    This thread is just going to show you the differences the exact location makes. There are retail stores out there where the pharmacist reads an entire book in one day and then there are the hell stores. The only way we are going to even out the retail field is if pharmacists and students make a stand for what is right and the conditions you want to work in. Unfortunately, many of us (probably even I someday) eventually throw in the towel and switch companies or move to slower stores without fighting for change and a new pharmacist takes over the battle....repeat.
  6. dgroulx

    dgroulx Night Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    It really varies by location. Where I live, Walgreens is the only place with any extra pharmacist coverage. CVS/Target/Publix/Winn Dixie/Sweetbay all have a single pharmacist working a 12-hour day without a break.

    Last summer I interned for Walgreens. This was the pharmacist schedule for any weekday:

    Pharmacist #1 - 8am - 5pm
    Pharmacist #2 - 10am - 7pm
    Pharmacist #3 - 3pm - 11pm
    Pharmacist #4 - 11pm - 8am

    As you can see, the pharmacists only work 8 hour days. Walgreens believes that more errors occur after a long shift. They also provide overlap during the busiest times of the day, like during lunch or after 4pm when people start getting off from work & pick up their meds on the way home. We had 4-5 techs scheduled at the same time. plus the intern. Everyone had time to take their break and their 1/2 hour for lunch.

    I thought the the internship program was great. We had several days where we met at the corporate offices and learned to read the financial reports, etc. We got paid for these and reimbursed for our mileage. There were several projects that we had to complete, so we weren't just being a tech. We also took a field trip to see their mail order facility in Orlando. It was a fun trip and we stopped for lunch on Walgreens tab.

    If I decide to work for a retail chain store, it will most likely be Walgreens. I have bad knees and appreciate the shorter work day. They also have the best benefit package in the area.
  7. rxlynn

    rxlynn Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Nov 16, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    Well, I don't know if it varies from market to market, but I can tell you that in the Atlanta market there aren't any CVS's that I know of that get pharmacist overlap if they are only doing 200-300 Rxs per day - that would be considered a moderately busy store, and it certainly wouldn't be staffed the way you are describing above. The only way any pharmacists get a lunch break is if they are in a super busy store (450 per day and up during the week) - then they get some overlap so they can take a break. Maybe since you are in the Sav-on conversions, they haven't cut back hours yet. They will, I can guarantee it.
  8. eddie269

    eddie269 Still in shock... 10+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2003
    I think the only "fact" you can get out of all this is ask the recruiter how the district manager handles the scheduling. Some districts will be understaffed while other areas will have more than enough pharmacists to cover.

    Just to avoid any discrepencies, my pharmacists at my WAGs took 1 hr lunches (vs 30 min) b/c they can't leave the pharmacy for their 15 min breaks, if they even have it. This is b/c they're the only pharmacist working. so they combine all their breaks into 1 hr lunch. However, the techs, interns, and clerks all did their regular 15 min/30min/15min break schedule.

    Also, the interns I worked with did the usual tech work. Consisted mostly of filling scripts and consultations. They also handles new scripts being called in by doctors and compound certain med's. They will also handle cashier duties when the clerk goes to break. However, many WAGs don't have clerks/typists anymore so the intern can handle the in-window all day also.

    EDIT: RxLynn, you are correct. The Savon's my gf currently works at and loves recently switched to CVS. I read that CVS was horrible here and warned my gf about the chaotic stories I've read here. But so far, at least for her Savon's/CVS, it's doing fine.
  9. pharm23pharm

    pharm23pharm Junior Member

    Nov 27, 2005
    I remember my 1st day of employment as an intern with WAGS. I called one of the managers by their first name because that was how he introduced himself to me. . So I left and said bye "Jim" Then the next thing I knew, the executive assistant (aka EXA aka THE ASSSSSS-istant) pulled me to the side and said something to the point that I should call ALL MANAGERS that I see at the store by MR. or MRS. She also said "You can call the pharmacists anything you want!" From that day I knew that WAGS was not for me. I left a short time after and found myself a better place and better company to work for!
  10. UTCPharm

    UTCPharm Member 5+ Year Member

    Oct 27, 2005
    Knoxville, TN
    I noticed the same thing when I interviewed at a Walgreens. The managers and pharmacists were referring to each other using Mr./Mrs. It seemed like such an uptight environment. I just don't see why you wouldn't be on a first name basis with your colleagues.
  11. GatorRxGirl

    GatorRxGirl 5+ Year Member

    Sep 23, 2005
    Somewhere on the beach.

    A store manager there only needs a high school diploma (no MBA, no business bachelors, anything) and you HAVE to say Mr. Or Mrs. so and so or you get called into the office and get scolded about professionalism. But it's ok to call the pharmacists by their first name, even the PharmD's. I've never liked that policy.
  12. eddie269

    eddie269 Still in shock... 10+ Year Member

    Dec 19, 2003
    Wow, that explains why we always called out store manager Mr. blah. I never knew why b/c he addressed everyone by their first names, and also b/c he was so nice with everyone. I never knew it was an actual policy. haha. that explains it.
  13. crossurfingers

    crossurfingers Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Mar 15, 2004
    Wow, that's why they call certain people Mr./Mrs. so-and-so! Learn something new everyday. If this was such a big part of the protocol, why didn't anyone bother telling me? Luckily I was just following what everyone else was doing.

    Is there anything stating what we're supposed to call our Pharmacy district manager (Mr. or Mrs.)? He always introduced himself by his first name, but I don't want to assume that's what I should call him.
  14. ZpackSux

    ZpackSux Retired Banned

    Feb 25, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    When I talk to students or interview fresh grads...they call me Dr. Zpacksux..

    Then I'm quick to remind them..that friends call me John.

    Aint no Mr and my pharmacy.
  15. All4MyDaughter

    All4MyDaughter SDN Mommystrator Pharmacist Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    May 7, 2005
    Ivory Tower
    At Walgreens and at Kroger, store management is Ms, Miss, Mrs, Mr, etc.
    Pharmacists (at least the ones I've met) go by their first names. Pharmacy district manager (again both chains) - seemed to use their first name. General district management and higher used Mr, Ms, whatever, just like store management.
  16. gpucci


    Sep 23, 2006
    I worked for Rite-Aid and was making a 6 figure income before moving along. Sure the work sucks, and you put in a very BUSY shift while skipping breaks....

    But you have to look at the income. We make great money for what we do. If you ever get a chance to work for a mail order pharmacy though I would take it. I love my work now (used to just 'deal with it'). Plus I make a better 6 figure income! Pharmacists are really well paid people. Quit complaining.
  17. Doctor M

    Doctor M 10+ Year Member

    Aug 22, 2006
    Pharmacist hours will be cut. A 24 hour store that does 2000+ a week will have around 180-190 pharmacist hours. A store that is open 8-10 pm will have pharmacist hours equal to the hours that the pharmacy is open. We do around 2100-2400 rx's per week and we are alotted 190 pharmacist hours:
    Rph 1:44 hours
    Rph 2:40 hours
    Rph 3 overnite:44 hours
    Rph 4 overnite:32 hours
    Floaters to cover shifts:24 hours

    Overlap for a store that does 300/day will be a thing of the past. Retail is demanding. lunches and bathroom breaks are seldom.
  18. DHG

    DHG Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    This is bull****. I was a manager in a retail store (not pharmacy but home furnishings) and yes retail (no matter what business) can be hectic. But I still got lunch breaks and bathroom breaks. And I was only selling furniture, not potentially life-threatening substances.

    Yes pharmacists get paid well, but this does NOT mean you should sacrifice your health. Yes, "holding it" until you are about to pop, and inhaling your lunch while standing in a corner can both be bad for your health--mental and physical. As a healthcare professional you should know this. Remember that these conditions speak of a corporate culture more concerned with higher proffits than with patient safety. Stressed-out pharmacists do not do good (read: safe) work.

    Expect better. It is NOT a sign of weakness to point out these problems. It is NOT a sign of strength to "grin and bear it." You are doing the profession no favors by "sucking it up" and being your own epic hero.

    I'm not directing this at you specifically, DrM, just to the general comments I keep hearing to the tune of "stop complainig we don't need lunch breaks." etc.

    alwaystired made some good comments about this (a few posts above). I agree.
  19. coolpill


    Mar 7, 2008
    who pays more ritesaid, walgreens or cvs
  20. PumpkinSmasher

    PumpkinSmasher Pharmacist 10+ Year Member

    Jul 11, 2007
  21. dangerdog

    dangerdog 2+ Year Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Ohio State University
    here in columbus OHIO:

    Kroger pays the MOST by FAR: P1, $13; P2, $15; P3 $18; P4 $21.

    Walgreen/CVS pay: P1 $12, P2 $13, P3 $14, P4 $15. What a rip-off.

    The funny thing is, once you graduate, Walgreen/CVS pays pharmacist more than Kroger. Go figure.

    P.S Most of my classmates hate working for CVS/Walgreen. One of my internship is with walgreen, and it's busy + understaffed. No lunch for interns or techs in reality. That's why I only work there 2 days a month, just to look like a ton of experience on my resume.
  22. PinoyRNRPh

    PinoyRNRPh semper fit

    Dec 13, 2008
    I did my internship at Walgreens central Florida. I got paid $33 per hour that time since I already graduated from Pharmacy and completing the internship hours. With no exaggeration, 4 in 5 pharmacists I worked with did not have a decent lunch break/break at all but yea, WAG's computer system is way ahead of CVS. If you consider yourself more of a clinician, retail pharmacy is not for you. True, the Walgreens store managers, (non-pharmacy) supervisors have delusions of grandeur. they feel they are high in the heirarchy than the pharmacists.

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