Saturday, February 24, 2007

Retail pharmacy 07 season

In the S.W. Florida retail world, it is presently season, and everyone, by now, is enjoying the trench warfare-like process of seeing a cascade of medical doctors, nurses, and pharmacists for their various ailments. Medical professionals look forward to this time of year about as much as the boys eying the beaches of Normandy just before the boat ramps lowered. It is also the time of year when we should be at the top of our game, and at our most efficient. Sadly, this is never the case. After 15 years in this business, I have to say how disheartening the total lack of human progress in this regard has been. Following are some suggestions for desperately needed improvement, followed by major whining.

Doctors need to take the extra 2.3 seconds it takes, and write just a tad more legibly. I could put a pen in a parakeet’s claw, and get scratchings more closely resembling letters and words. Often times, after staring at a prescription for 8 solid minutes, I begin to feel like Russell Crow in a Beautiful Mind and am convinced that there is some hidden message on the paper before me, and am determined to decipher it. Now, nurses write a little clearer, but it is in this regard only that they excel over the parakeet.

For now, let’s focus on the calling in of prescriptions to our automated answering service. Most nurses, ostensibly because they are very busy, speak faster than a tobacco auctioneer on his 6th cappa-frappa-latte-whatever when calling in a prescription. Ladies, please, slow it down to about 125 rpms, okay? Secondly, I beg you, for the love of almighty God, spell the doctor’s name. You spell the patient’s name about 50% of the time, but with eerie consistency, almost never spell the doctor’s name. You see, we do not work with this person all day long as you do, and so their name is not as familiar to us. All we ask is a little common sense. If the M.D.’s name is “Doctor Supercalifragilistics”, then you may want to spell it for us, all right? The bizarre and amazing consistency with which this is not done makes me think that there is a massive conspiracy here just waiting to be exposed. Forget Lochness, Big Foot, J.F.K., the moon landing, etc., this nurse-non-spelling-the-doctor’s-name thing could be just about the largest scandal in all of history! - certainly medical history. I could go on and on about nurses, but there are only so many pages in a newspaper.

Lastly, patients- please be patient. We realize that you are not feeling particularly well, otherwise you would not be coming to visit us. We will fill your prescription as quickly as we can, but try to remember...all of those other people that you see standing all around you glaring at us, as you are, are also waiting for their prescription. If you are standing behind them, then that means that they were there first. Are you beginning to get the picture now? Also, please be civil. “Why are you yelling at me?” is a question I ought not have to ask. Now, if we do not seem to be as sunny and cheerful as you require, then we apologize, but try to keep in mind that we have been stuck in this tiny room for over 12 hours with barely a bathroom break, with no food break, and with people literally screaming at us all day long. It tends to wear a person down, know what I mean? Oh yes, and welcome back to Florida!

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