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Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Death of Professional Judgement

In the immortal words of Korben Dallas, "I am a meat popsicle". This answer shall suffice in response to any question concerning a pharmacist's job responsibilities.
Why?
Pharmacy schools (apparently) no longer teach "professional judgement" or companies have basically policied it out of existence. The new mantra is: "Don't Think For Yourself!".

CP: Why can't I just use my professional judgement, that with which I was naturally blessed as well as professionally paid to have attuned, to make a decision?
ME: Because you're not allowed anymore.
CP: Why am I not?
ME: Policies. You are a meat popsicle. You are a button pusher. You do not get paid to think.
CP: In what dystopian novel did I just awake?
ME: None. It is the era of Big Brother. It is the era of micromanaging. It is the era of fear of lawsuits. It is a direct result of ISIS and terror threats.
CP: Huh? How can you associate my using my collegiately enhanced brain and years of experience to make a professional decision to that of terror threats?
ME: What are you trying to accomplish?
CP: I wish to change an e-script from Proair to Ventolin because this patient's State Medicaid plan changed and they have a new formulary.
ME: Not allowed. They are totally different.
CP: Okay. How about Amoxicillin or Doxycycline? The insurance only cover tablets as opposed to the capsules, or vice versa. I simply wish to change the dosage form and provide service to my patients.
ME: No can do. That's practising medicine. Prescribers are infallible and there must be a reason they selected the exact option they did on their e-script software.
CP: You mean the software that doesn't make them choose Doxy Mono or Doxy Hyclate?
ME: The same.
CP: You mean the prescribers that have become so irritated with whiny pharmacists wasting their time over the last 5 years that they have changed their prescribing habits on their electronic devices?
ME: How so?
CP: Now we receive what would pass as passive-aggressive threats on any social media.
"Doxycycline 100mg, don't care what salt form or if it's tabs or caps. I just want the patient to have what's covered. Don't call me unless all forms of Doxy are not covered and rather expensive. Again, I. Don't. Care! Stop calling me."

or . . .

"Albuterol inhaler. They're all the same. I don't care what the package inserts say. So the patient switched insurance. Fine. Then they can switch inhalers. Albuterol is Albuterol. I. Don't. Care! Just stop calling me!"

or . . .

"Amoxicillin 500mg tabs to take 1 capsule 3 times a day. Look, if I were to hand write this prescription, I'd not put tabs or caps anywhere on it. It's not my phault the software makes me pick one and for some reason the sig does not match. Unless the patient has a gelatin allergy, I don't care. And you'd probably know more about that than I."

or . . .

"Prednisone tapers. Look, I tried to quickly figure out how many I would need to prescribe but my math skills suck and they make us use the computers for everything. Just give the patients what they need and we can all be happy. I Love You! You are the most helpful, underrated profession and we need to thank you more for saving our asses."

ME: So what's the real problem?
CP: New(er) pharmacists are so worried about everything that they cannot think for themselves. (I had an e-rx for a cream with directions to "apply 1 tube twice a day" and another for FeSO4 325mg with directions to "take 1 milligram once a day". A real life pharmacist refused to approve them when I corrected them to "apply twice a day" and "take 1 tablet once a day", respectively.) I have offsite pharmacists, that's PHARMACISTS (people with licenses like mine), that refuse to check or approve prescriptions like this. I see comments from pharmacists on my posts every day that echo the fear factor present in our profession. Too many times have I read "I have to call" or "I'd call on that" instead of "My alma mater and past preceptors trained me to use my brain and make this decision all on my own. It's my license and I earned it and I am damn well going to use it".
(Obviously, there are instances where we HAVE to call. Our educated brains tell us to do so. But not for many of the more trifling, petty situations I see all too often.)
ME: So ...?
CP: So we bitch and moan about being treated as equals; as peers; as knowledgeable professionals all the while calling and asking stupid questions.
ME: But won't your stupid questions cause the prescribers to change their habits?
CP: Yes. They now write notes telling us not to call. Rather than solving the serious problems, we annoyed them with petty grievances and now they don't take us seriously.
ME: What do you want?
CP: I want my profession to grow back its spine. Document your actions and thoughts and calculations on the hard copy then fill it accordingly. We are so afraid of an error, an inspection, a policy violation, an audit that we forget how to actually do our job. You didn't go to college to live in fear. You went to be a respected professional. Now grow up and be one.
ME: Tough words.
CP: Tough Profession. We fight everyone else; it makes no sense to fight ourselves.
ME: I think I love you CP.
CP: I know.


1 comment:

  1. This. Exactly this. As a prescriber, I don't know about patient medicine insurance and big pharma drug cards and what salt forms antibiotics comes in. I know that a generic is equivalent to brand. I know what drug I want my patient to get, and I trust the pharmacist to make decisions. I rely on you to catch errors. Pharmacists matter. So so much. But if all they're allowed to do is issue exactly what I've written down...why not just have some anybody do that? Why do you need to have someone especially trained? It doesn't make sense!

    I work in state. Sometimes we have one brand available, sometimes another depending which company had the contract. I write generic names. And the pharmacy only calls with important questions. It's always scary when that happens because I know it's something serious and I take as such (except when the TB patient had a dvt and required 12mg warfarin daily to have an INR above 1.5). It's how. It should be. Mutual respect and practicing what we train for.

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