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Monday, March 23, 2020

Close The Pharmacy - Updated

You did not misread that. You misinterpreted it. Pharmacies used to be hidden. Pharmacists were accessible if they walked out to you. Which we often did. And we were more valued as a result. You could no more stare at us over the tops of the shelves than you could hear us whispering on the phone in a corner. Times have changed. While the whole open floor plan concept works great in building a house, it does not suit the pharmacy. I say close it.
We are truly a few metal bars and a coin-operated food dispenser away from being animals in a zoo. People stare at us. They yell at us from anywhere in the store. They throw stuff at us. They put their kids on our counters. I swear someone took my picture at my last store too. Seriously. What other profession allows its professionals to be treated as such?
I say close it. If the "centralized pharmacist" concept is going to work, make the rest of it happen behind the scenes. This way, when I have 3 techs each on a phone line and I am checking something, no one can smart off saying "there's 4 people back there not helping me". Piss off. Now you see me, now you don't.
I want the pharmacist to be the focal point. I want to perform my professional duties. You just don't need to know what else goes on. "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain." I don't really want or need to see how my food is prepared in the kitchen (Hibachi is exempted from this) nor how my friends' colonoscopies are performed. I don't care. All I want is for my profession to be taken seriously again.
Close the pharmacy. Put up a wall. Slow down the whole process. Focus on the professional aspect of our jobs. Focus on our knowledge. Focus on why we spent so much time and money at school. If we stop trying to squeeze blood from a desiccated idea (profit margin on pills?) then we can look at new ways of highlighting our place in the health care world and getting paid for it.
Doctors live an insular experience, hiding behind layers of staff and walls. They visit with patients, one-on-one, privately going over medical history, diagnoses, and treatments. Pharmacy needs to examine this concept. I have an outline for this model.

ME: Feels as if this needs updated today.
MYSELF: Agreed.
CP: Has anyone attempted to close their pharmacy during this crisis?
ME: Yes. People have sent me pictures of their pharmacies with gates mostly closed, plastic sheeting on the backs of the gates or directly hanging in front of the counter. Some have cut out slots at the bottom through which they transfer the prescriptions.
MYSELF: I had someone send me a note that their staff brought masks from home and were told that they weren't necessary and they are for essential healthcare workers and pharmacy staff were not essential.
CP: Ouch. We have always been, and now it's more apparent that we are, considered the bastard stepchildren of healthcare.
ME: I'd say the Rodney Dangerfield of healthcare.
MYSELF: No respect.
CP: I wonder if doctors are getting yelled at as much as we are. We need to Close The Pharmacy and focus on staying healthy ourselves so we can continue to serve our patients with the least amount of direct contact possible.
ME: Imagine if people had listened to you 7 years ago when you first wrote this. We need isolation so we can focus on the important tasks without constant interruptions and distractions from patients yelling at us, multiple phone lines ringing, and just doing our jobs.
MYSELF: We would be better able now to close it had we taken these steps and removed the 40 linear feet of counter space open to the public.
CP: But at least we have a steel door with a window that'll keep out the robbers and the COVID.
ME: Yeah. I wonder whatever happened to our last boss who complained when we left the door ajar to help patients find items.
MYSELF: She's locked in an ivory tower now. Safer than we are.
CP: In case I wasn't clear enough earlier. Close. The. Damn. Pharmacy! Imagine the scientists working with this and other highly contagious diseases operating in a lab in the middle of a store with no PPE and only a rope line to keep them out of your airspace. They have precautions in place for a reason. We have that problem right now. Instead of worrying about patients' views/perceptions of us operating in a closed environment, let's make employee safety priority number one!
ME: Well said.
MYSELF: No one is listening.
CP: I know. But I feel better.

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