Ten Things Nobody Told You About the Pharmacy

Pharmacists do much more than count pills...
(Pixabay photo)

Pharmacists are quite often overshadowed by doctors. So much so that many do not even realize how vital they truly are. It is true, pharmacists do so much more than just count pills.

We wanted to get an insight into some of what they have to deal with on a day to day basis, so we did a little research. It turns out they can do much more than just fill your prescription. There are times they are so busy they do not get a lunch break. They even have to deal with the near impossible task of deciphering your doctor's abstract handwriting. The facts we found were eye opening to say the very least.

1. Doctor's Handwriting is a Challenge to Read

Certainly almost everyone has looked at the prescription written by their doctor and thought "what does that even say?" It is no secret that terrible handwriting goes hand in hand with being a doctor in most cases. Pharmacists have a high number of prescriptions coming in at all times, and according to most pharmacists each doctor has their own writing habits. It is even necessary to phone the office at times, to decipher the handwriting in question. This causes longer wait times, and quite often grumpy patients.

2. What More can They Do For You?

Obviously your pharmacy can dispense your prescriptions, but what else can they do. Pharmacists also administer immunizations to the public. They can provide you with advice on over the counter products as well as things to aid in quitting smoking, and even blood pressure monitors. Most can also provide medication counseling and medication therapy management. They do this to help patients understand the medicines they are taking, and how to use them properly.

3. How Long Must One Go To School to Be a Pharmacist?

Everyone knows that doctors go to school for years and years to work in the profession that they do. I really do not think that many even consider that pharmacists go to school for an average of six to eight years. Some may even have to go to school longer if they plan to specialize in any aspect. AbsoluteRX has a staff of specialized pharmacist who probably had to undergo extra schooling to qualify. They go through all that schooling to be considered much more second rate in comparison to the doctors they work so closely with.

4. Employees in Your Pharmacy Work Hard

Most people work hard to earn their living. That much is expected by most, but usually break is required during the day, regardless of how busy you get. This is not that case for most pharmacies. According to one source they had so many prescriptions coming in all day long that they usually did not get lunch, and many workers had to eat meals on the go, and even standing at their stations. They do all this just to provide you with the medicine you need to stay healthy.

5. Pharmacists Can Actually Save Your Life

When waiting in line at a pharmacy, it is easy to become impatient, blaming the employees for being slow, or even being inadequate at their job. Many do not even consider that an average of 10 to 15 percent of doctor's orders come in with errors. These errors made by your doctor could potentially be life threatening and it is your pharmacy's job to find and correct these errors before the medicine gets distributed to you. This often calls for a phone call to your primary care provider to straighten out any issues that there may be. Quite often this is why there is a long wait in a pharmacy line. Keep this in mind next time you are the one waiting, it may be a little easier to be patient.

6. They Have to Work Fast

Deadlines are common in the workplace, but most jobs don't have other individuals lives on the line. The average employee at a pharmacy has 15 minutes to review an order, check it for errors and correct any found, get the order counted and packaged and into the hands of the patient. They are required to be fast and efficient.

7. Pharmacists Hate Dirty Prescriptions

One thing most people probably pay no mind to is the cleanliness of their prescriptions when they take them in to be refilled. Well, according to research this is a huge pet peeve of most workers in this industry. So take special care not to spill things such as food or sticky soda on your medications. It would be greatly appreciated by the entire office. No one likes touching someone else's mess, especially not in a medical profession.

8. You Need to Read the Pamphlets

After picking up your pills and heading home you always take them out of the bag and detach the little informative pamphlet from the bag. It is not uncommon to just throw those pamphlets in the trash, thinking they are just worthless information, or even something you are already aware of. Many don't realize that it is actually very important to read those pieces of paper. They can keep you aware of what may pop up as a negative side effect or even an allergic reaction. Just don't allow the information to scare you, because even while the worst case scenario may seem bad, it is not very likely anything that severs would happen to you, or your doctor wouldn't have suggested that medication in the first place. It is always better to be well educated when it comes to your health.

9. The Five Second Rule?

The five second rule is common is most family households, but it is not something one expects to hear of in a medical profession of any sort. It has been told that some employees will drop a pill or two on the floor while counting and still put them in the bottle. This, of course, is not how it is supposed to be done, but it does happen on occasion. A little dirt never hurt anyone, right?

10. Flu Shot Quotas are a Thing

Everyone knows that pharmacies promote flu shots. What you probably didn't know is that they are required to do so much to keep getting the benefits they do. Most chains are required to sell a certain amount of flu shot in a time period or they risk losing a percentage of their funding for the year. No wonder they push them so hard.


Hopefully these few little insights opened your eyes to what it is like to be a pharmacist. They have a lot of weight on their shoulders every day. Whether it be from worrying about selling flu shots, or preventing a life threatening mistake that a doctor has made. It is quite obvious now that there is much more to a pharmacy than meets the eye.


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