Letters July 2011

July 15, 2011

Readers speak out about the moratorium on new pharmacy schools, pharmacist turnover and the POWER program, job satisfaction, and more

Key Points

Edifice complex

I am certainly in agreement that there should definitely be a moratorium on opening any more pharmacy schools in the U.S.A., until we can figure this thing out.

Until there is reimbursement for MTM and adherence, there is no need and there will be no need to double the number of pharmacists in the U.S.A.

Ronald G. Cameron, CEO
CAMERON AND COMPANY, THE PHARMACISTS'S REGISTRY

That "virtually nonexistent" turnover

Regarding David Stanley's Viewpoint commentary in the April 2011 issue, I know that pharmacist turnover at Walgreens is more than "virtually nonexistent." Here in Arizona, the POWER debacle especially triggered a significant wave of turnover (of which I was eventually part).

Particularly galling is the practice of locking departing RPhs out of our StoreNet employee profiles, thus preventing us from completing our Exit Survey. In my opinion, Walgreens does this because it doesn't want any negative feedback about the dismal POWER program. I believe it has been particularly clever in manipulating its internal metrics to synthesize the results it want to see.

"...A central pharmacy environment allows professionals to focus on a singular task matched to their particular strengths."

This is an absolute joke. POWER pharmacists are stuck at a computer terminal situated between the consultation window and 2 to 3 cash registers (plus drive-through). There's absolutely no peace or privacy; the potential distractions are incalculable. RPhs no longer have their own personal terminals; they essentially share the register computer with technicians, interns, cross-trainers, store managers - basically, anyone who wanders through the pharmacy can enter data under the RPh's initials. The lack of professional integrity this imparts is appalling.

Anyone who points these things out to management is met with cold stares and/or blanket denial. "We don't see this, therefore it must not be happening!" is typical (possibly followed up a few weeks later with a series of manufactured disciplinary reports against the complainant).

This unprofessional work environment, coupled with the atmosphere of terror instilled by middle management, is why POWER RPhs are under "the most stress of [their] career[s]."

Ryan X. Loukota, PharmD
TUCSON, ARIZ.

Stick to the point

In Jill Sederstrom's article "The new stability" [April 2011], the section "Job Satisfaction" seems misleading. The first sentence begins a discussion of job security - a far cry from a satisfaction measure. The discussion simply points out that most pharmacists intend to stay put, without attempting to report why. I suspect that most pharmacists will probably stay where they are, not because they are satisfied, but because where they are is better than being out of work and nowhere at all.

I believe that the degree to which our employment satisfies us is a far more important driver of future choice than any other factor. The absence of this discussion leaves the reader wondering about the state of the profession in this important area.

Brett C. Johnson, PhD, MBA
PROVO, UTAH