Letters: April 2012

April 15, 2012

Readers speak out about the need for pharmacists to change their work environment, job satisfaction in the hospital pharmacy setting, and obesity drugs.

Our own fault

Re: "Now. Hear. This." [View from the Zoo, November 2011]

I'm sitting here in my apartment eating breakfast and reading David Stanley's article from November (shows how well I keep up!). I made a New Year's resolution to read journal articles (which I had abandoned due to a growing general disinterest in pharmacy over my 30-year career – correction – job, not career).

The fault is ours. We "take it." If we don't and quit, we just have to go find the same job somewhere else. If we don't and get fired, that looks bad on our resume, and just makes it harder to go find that same job somewhere else.

Pharmacists are one of the wussiest groups of professionals. Take nurses. Their pay has increased dramatically compared to ours. With a graduate degree, they can prescribe. My good friend, an oncology nurse, sees patients, prescribes, and makes more money than I (she was one of my students when I taught pharmacology at the University of Hawaii). Nurses have moved themselves forward. So have optometrists. Yes, we now immunize and do MTM. Big deal – more paperwork and a backlog of prescriptions.

Pharmacists complain. We need to actually DO something about the disrespect and injustice. Will it take unionization? That I don't know.

I work in a supermarket pharmacy in Honolulu and the longest shift I have is 9 hours. I get 30 minutes for lunch and all the bathroom breaks I need. Yes, we're understaffed (I opened the pharmacy yesterday with a 2-hour wait due to backlog from the day before), with pressure on my pharmacy manager from above to cut more hours.

I let the stress get to me in December when we were extra busy and learning a "new and improved" software and almost quit. Now, I meditate every day before work and count the days until retirement (too many) and try to be thankful for a job in this economy.

Will it have to get worse before we all DO something? I think so.

Anne Wheelock, RPh