Day 7: Mentors in Small Spaces

Excellent news!


Nineteen CBTs to knock out today, I could only nail fourteen. Went home fifteen minutes late, back aching…tried again two hours later, no luck.

Hit it again around 8:15p, steadily knocked out all five! Those five were the only things standing in the way of me and regularly scheduled programming. WOO!


Back to Saturday…

Part of the training process involves coaching or mentoring. (I prefer mentoring, because some companies use "coaching" to mean "lecturing you when you've screwed up”.) Since my store is so busy, they sent me to Holt to work under the mentorship of…let's call her "Ebbica". (Just started a potential novel with a lead character named Ebbica, so why not?)

After register training at my home store, working with Ebbica was peaceful; especially since her pharmacist, "Ben" was so welcoming and jovial. (I love the relationships between the stores…Ben said to call my supervisor Hannah "Cameron Diaz"; when I told coworker Belle about this, she said, "Next time you see Ben, ask him about the time I chucked vials at him!") I was there for more register practice–plus drive through and production–and I learned something I didn't know and I got to do something that was a little confusing in a training video, but less so in real life.





Amoxicillin. The pink stuff. No longer given to me as an adult (maybe because I have one parent allergic to the penicillin family?), but would you have guessed that it doesn't arrive at the pharmacy all made up? Not me.

Tara mentioned during training that some meds arrive in powder form, but I only learned on Saturday that amoxicillin was one of them. (Plenty of sick kiddos this time year, you know?) Really simple to make up, I understand–just add water–but a task for pharmacists (and sometimes lead techs) nonetheless. Good thing, though…a hair too close to compounding if you ask me.

As I learned yesterday, the tough compounding isn't something we do (I'd say the sterile compounds are the most difficult); but I'm still thankful that it's something left to pharmacists, as compounding is something I'd rather stay away from. (One word: math. EEP!)



Last weekend was the only time I've done it, but I can already tell drive-up is something I'll have a love-hate relationship with. (Ebbica says she loves drive-up. My response? "I suppose you loved marching band in high school, too." She wasn't in band, though…and she thinks that it's weird that Charlotte makes marching mandatory.)

Holt's drive-up is different from ours, as it uses a "banker's drawer" (the Holt store is also older), so this is how I would do it there. (We have a window that slides open.)

  1. Press the DU button, listen for "connecting" and then you'll hear the outdoors and know you can talk to the customer. (I think most of them pick up the phone when it says "connecting", but I can't balance a receiver and do my thing at the same time, so speaker it is.)
  2. At that point, you can do the regular routine–name, DoB, meds, etc.
  3. The big difference here is when you get to the part where they have to sign for their medication, you print out a register slip, attach it to a clipboard and send it out in the drawer.
  4. Also, when they do their extracare card, they often send in their keys. And that's weird.
  5. When it comes time to process their cash, we would rip open one of the 'scrip bags and dump it inside. (Ebbica said it's a good way to ensure the bills don't blow away…and it was a bit windy. Plus there's the whole "no one has to chase coins around the drawer!" thing.)

I think that's basically it.

It felt really awkward; but before Ebbica let me go around four, I had done several DU arrivals entirely by myself, so I know I can put up with it. I just hope it's a few months before it's my turn to hang out the window and freeze!


Return to Stock

This is the one that seemed confusing in video form, but when I did it, it made more sense.

The first step in the process (after you have the requisite list, of course) is to pull all the old 'scrips from the shelf. Ever wonder what happens to your prescription if you forget to pick it up for two weeks or more? Back to the shelf! (Or, in the case of a refridge-able [DON'T FORGET YOUR INSULIN!], back to the fridge.) After that, you head to a computer and start processing return to stocks.

(There are a few points where you have to type in or scan your daily credentials, but since I forget when that is–and I think it might fall under "confidential"–I'll leave them out.)

Once you get the computer into RTS mode, you scan the thin barcode on the side of the 'scrip bottle and tell it to print an RTS label. From there, you pull it from the printer, detach the label (but don't unpeel!) and use a self-inking stamp with your store info to mark the new label. (I'm sure they explained the reason behind the stamp bit during the training video, but it didn't stick.) Remove the original label, put it in the "special-colored trash", put on the new label and put the bottle into a 'scrip basket to be returned to the shelf. Pretty straightforward; except for the part where I kept getting ink all over my fingers and the fact that Ebbica wanted me to run to the register when there were customers–despite the fact that I had inky fingers. (*sigh/facepalm*)

After that, it was a simple matter of returning each bottle to its appropriate shelf, ensuring that the dosages match what's already there. (It also helps to know which meds are "fast actors" and which are slow; but my store may be organized differently.)



The fancy term for "preparing prescriptions".

Remember how I said last task that you had to detach the labels? When you're preparing a 'scrip in ordinary circumstances, the label prints along the top portion of the information sheet that we fold up and staple to your bag every time. (The one that you automatically chuck out every time, unless it's a new med–if you're me, at least.) To start, Ebbica had me fold the info sheets and put them into 'scrip baskets with the stock bottle, which she'd already pulled for me. Once you've printed out a "family" and gotten the baskets ready (I had to go and come back–probably because I had to wait on someone in the process), you can move on to actually counting the pills.

In training, they recommend counting by fives; but if left to my own devices (and hurrying, I'm sure, when there are a million 'scrips in the queue), I will likely count in a four at some point and accidentally give someone twenty-nine pills instead of thirty. I'd much rather do it in twos (and did do it in twos, at least for one) and be certain I have thirty, rather than making a mistake. (The only time we double count is if it's a controlled substance–like my anti-anxiety meds.) Once they're safely tucked into the compartment, you can tilt the counting tray forward to dump the extras back in and then toward you to pop the pills into the traditional amber bottle. Cover it (being sure to check if they wanted an easy-open), put it into the basket with the info sheet and the stock bottle and leave it for the pharmacist to verify.


I learned a neat little trick from Ebbica; unfortunately, I haven't figured out yet how to replicate it here at home.

If you have a brand new stock bottle of thirty pills and the patient needs thirty, plus she wants an easy open cap, you can actually separate the hard plastic cap from the inner cap and the inner cap is easy open!

Now there were fancy drawer pulls at Holt that Ebbica used to pry the caps apart, but I don't think we have any sort of bottle opener here at home that I could use. (I tried with my wine key from that bartending program I did several years ago, but I couldn't get it in deep enough.) You can do it with over-the-counter meds, though…the bottle just needs to have the push-down-and-turn sort of lid. (That explains why the inner plastic liner has always gone 'round in circles when I messed with it as a youngling!)


(P.S.: The “small spaces”? Holt is an old fashion “step-up” pharm where you can see the whole store, so it was rather narrow–not at all like my home store with its room for a herd of techs!)

My smile of the afternoon came not too long before I left.

I was helping a customer at the register that I thought might be of the Mandarin-speaking sort, so I thought, "I should say 'xièxiè' right before he leaves. Won't he be surprised!" (谢谢, pronounced "sheh sheh", is Chinese for "thank you". 😀 )

It's a bit of a risk, because you never know where they might be from originally (unless you're an expert in Asian faces–I used to be able to tell Chinese, Japanese and Korean apart, for example), but I thought I detected an accent, so I took the leap.

He was surprised! And I was pleasantly surprised when I explained I used to work at House of Hsu and he said, "Their food is great!" (I know people sometimes come from as far away as Jackson, but I rarely saw people of Asian descent–when I looked, anyway. I always wondered if they felt as weird as Raj [from BBT] when he gets Indian food.)


We just had HoH for Christmas Eve dinner (takeout–we've done sit-down in years past), but I want it again for my birthday dinner on Wednesday.

Just like last year.

Because fantastic Chinese. ('nuff said!) ♥

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