The first pharmacist job I ever held was at the VA Pharmacy. I had a highly entertaining first day on the job as I was introduced to the staff of the drugstore, three pharmacists and technicians respectively who introduced me to the rudimental duties that we perform at the store. They helped me get my feet wet so to speak while I got to know them and their job descriptions throughout the day. It occurred me by the end of the day that everyone working there worked at a different job that, although seemingly unrelated, helped the store run like a well oiled machine.
The trainer pharmacist was the person in charge of introducing to the various store personnel and orienting me about my job. After doing the rounds of the employees, she then took me on a brief tour of the clinic and introduced me to everyone there as well. While we were there, I had the chance to talk to them and ask them what job it was that they did there. Due to all the questions I had, my trainer thought it best to show me how to order supplies online. Later on, she also explained to me the differing jobs that each individual pharmacist did. My job orientation also required me to learn about the 10 most important and needed drugs that is usually kept close to the technician just in case there was an emergency need for the medicine.
Later on, she showed me where the controlled substance medicines were kept in a locked cabinet that required two keys just to unlock it. That is how safe from theft and pilferage that particular cabinet was. She went on to explain to me that the there were no exceptions to the rule requiring a doctor’s written and verified prescription before selling any of the listed controlled substances to clients. At this point, I was finally introduced to the prescription system in the pharmacy. Since a survey showed that our clients would rather have a paper free pharmacy, all orders were placed electronically and we would ship the prescriptions to the patients or have the medicines picked up in store by the client or duly authorized representative.
Later on in the day, my trainer decided to give me a simple test, just to find out if I was listening during orientation and to see if I could be trusted to work with minimal supervision that early. My task was to fill out a small prescription. Something that I found to be so much fun to do because the pharmacy was so highly organized and efficient that everybody already knew their jobs so well that the job performance level was only of the highest possible standards.
The next day was the continuation of my orientation. My trainer went over some points that were unintentionally omitted the day before. Things such as introducing me to the Formulary Type of medication which needed the pharmacists approval before it could be dispensed to any patient. Formulary medications are even much cheaper than the generic drugs and will not be approved for reimbursement by the insurance company unless there is a special approval from a specialist. Due to the paperless was of receiving prescriptions, the pharmacist would most often have to over to the formulary and review a patient’s case before allowing the dispensing of the medication. Thanks to the electronic data collating of the pharmacy, the local doctors and our pharmacists could easily communicate and verify prescriptions. There were even times when doctors themselves would use our system on behalf of a patient, who would then pick it up from the nearest VA Pharmacy.
Finally, on the third day, I learned how to arrange the medications and find expirations dates. I was shocked to see that the pharmacy orders tons of medications everyday only to have a batch expiring everyday as well. Part of my job description was also to make sure that all the drugs were stored in its proper places. For example, Insulin was kept in the refrigerator together with other vaccines. I was also taught how to calculate for the inhalers or eye drops. She warned me that doctors often made a mistake when it came to proper dosage quantity an that is why we have the responsibility to make sure that the patient has the proper information and dosage before we hand over the medications.
Basically, my first three days on the job was a blast. I found the days spent familiarizing myself with the company policies and procedures to be the most informative and fun filled first week on the job experience. I found it to be a highly enjoyable job that opened my eyes to the unknown world of pharmacists. Now I know why and how a pharmacy manages to work so smoothly. Everything that I learned on and off the job became the key factors for me to considering a career in Pharmacy. At least, with the solid foundation and background I have in the real goings on of pharmacies, I know that I will be able to handle myself very well while in class.