Day 6: Sink or Swim

When I arrived Friday morning, "B" (one of the other techs) told me she didn't know if they'd be able to do register training with me, given that they were so backed up from being closed on Christmas.

Why on Goddess's green Earth I thought that meant I might get a long(ish) weekend (certainly, they'd put off training me 'til Monday?), I’ll never know, but I had visions of calling "T" (the training coordinator), telling her what was going on and–after picking up a few things–heading on my merry way for another day off.

Not quite.

Once they convinced "S" (the general manager) to appear (of whom I'd heard much, but had never seen or talked to), he said I could go up front and train with "T2" for a while, until things calmed down enough to take me back to the pharmacy.

Oh. *facepalm*

I was happy to discover that the register software was the same as Michael's uses–with noticeable differences, of course. (Lotto, for one; ExtraCare card, that sort of thing.) It's easier to jump in when you recognize the program you're using; even though I was a bit stumbly to start, given that it had been almost a year since my last day of work at Michael's. T2 showed me briefly how to do lottery; but since I won't be encountering it in the pharmacy, it's not an issue. (Now that I think about it, I was shown how to do lotto tickets at Quality Dairy, but that's been years and it doesn't seem like I did much with instant tickets.)

After a few hours in the front, S took me back to the pharmacy and put me on a register. That's where the real "fun" begins–especially since he left me after a few minutes.

(To be fair, there must have been an issue he needed to look at; because at one point, I glanced back and he was standing beside H's computer.)


When she went over the job with me, H said our store does approximately four thousand prescriptions a week–indeed, it's one of the busiest stores in the company. (Or maybe just the region, I don't remember.) Since the true number is confidential–and probably difficult to pin down–let's go with 4,100 prescriptions a week.


It's time for Dayanara's Famous Stats!

  • 852,800 prescriptions a year
  • 16,400 prescriptions a month
  • 4,100 prescriptions a week
  • 586 prescriptions per day (an approximation on top of another approximation, as the hours are variable)
  • 42 prescriptions an hour (based on the average 8a-10p day)
  • Just under one prescription a minute (0.7, to be exact)

Sit still? Who, us? (*giggle*)


It wasn't daunting, but it certainly wasn't easy, either.

(I can go into detail here, because you watch us do it, so it's certainly not proprietary information.)

For generations, people have given their full names at the pharmacy, but it's not actually necessary with us. (Well, it is if you have sort of a common name.) Our computer runs on a three-letter system, so typing in "Rye,Day" will find me just as easily as if I'd said "Dayanara Ryelle". After that, we pick the customer out of the list, verify the birthday and then I usually say, "You're looking for X prescriptions?" (I guess I've started that just in case someone thinks they're going to get four 'scrips, let's say, but there are only three on my screen.) Then it's off to the Wall of Prescriptions. (*ominous music*)

Every location organizes their waiting bins differently. For example, the location I went to for mentoring yesterday looked something like this:

XX | X X X X X
XX | X X X X X
XX | X X X X X

(Where the | indicates a corner)

The XX might represent a small subsection of letters, like guests whose names start with "Ab" and "Ae", then the row wraps around the corner and you would have B, C, D, E and F and their subsets. But ours, thankfully, is along one flat wall, so I don't have to think, "Why am I not finding this letter?!" and eventually realize it's because the letter combination is on the short rack. (Well, we have a short rack, but I think it starts with the Ts or something, so it’s a bit easier.)

It's amazing how many prompts the screen gives me. Once I hit "continue with Rx order", it can tell me any number of things: does the patient want to go on auto-refill (or stay on it), do they want text messages, something about a consultation (I usually just sum that up with a "Do you have any questions for the pharmacist?"), etcetera. After that, the patient signs on the credit card machine and I can ring up anything else they might have picked up along the way.


Oh and did I mention that the orders aren't always in the Wall of Prescriptions? Sometimes they're in the big parcel bin (a separate shelving unit at my store), sometimes they're in the baskets of 'scrips waiting to be put up, sometimes they have to be reconstituted (more about that in my next entry), sometimes they have to be pulled from the fridge (like if they're insulin or certain forms of birth control)…WHEW!

Sidebar: I had a customer yesterday who commented on our over-reliance on computers and that made me think of when I was younger and how we had to sign paper prescription logs. You can criticize technology all you want, but I imagine someone stealing paper logs would be just as disastrous as someone hacking into a computer.

You would think that with that many 'scrips per day (and maybe something like…I'm not sure…85% of people picking them up on time), the techs at the registers would get no peace. But there are times where you get two or three minutes with no one waiting (which feels miraculous if you've just had a run) and there are always, always 'scrips to be put up. No one actually told me to do it…I just stood there for a minute or two and it occurred to me. On Friday, I actually tried to put them in some semblance of order in their respective bins; but on Saturday, I realized that they were basically chucked into each bin by the two letter code on the top of the info sheet and it made everything go much quicker. Sometimes, someone will even get assigned to pull old 'scrips for return to stock (usually fourteen days and older), so you might have one or two people putting in with another taking out. Crazy!

One good thing about working for a busy pharmacy is watching time fly. At one point, I looked at the system clock and it was 1:30. A dozen more customers and several put-ups later, it was two and time to punch out!

Nothing too terribly exciting on Friday, I must confess. But on Saturday, I worked the drive-up, pulled old prescriptions (and went through the RTS procedure) and even did a little production.

Stay tuned for:

Day 7: Mentors in Small Spaces!

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