Here is a snippet of a conversation Kate had while we were in
Person: So what do you do, Kate?
Kate: I’m a pharmacist.
Person: Oh. A pill counter.
Kate: Well, actually not.
The conversation continues. Kate explains that pharmacists don’t count pills. The person, obviously a little surprised, listens.
This happens a lot. I’m sick of it, and I’m not even the pharmacist. There really is a swath of people out there that think pharmacists are the ones that count out the pills and fill each and every bottle of prescriptions at the local pharmacy. A lot of people don't even realize there are pharmacists employed at hospitals.
Here’s a little education. Think of it as a little tutorial from the inside of the drug world and my head.
Often the people that count pills at pharmacies are pharmacy technicians. These are people like you and I that could walk into a local pharmacy and apply. We don’t need a degree. We don’t need a background in the medical field. With proper training we could be back there counting some pills, by fives of course (this speeds up the process while maintaining accuracy) in a matter of months, maybe weeks. Sometimes it is the pharmacist counting the pills, but this is not the pharmacist’s primary responsibility at work.
Kate works in a decentralized hospital pharmacy. She actually meets with patients and consults them. She has to talk with doctors and even sometimes let them know that they have prescribed an incorrect dosage. This year she is working 60+ hours a week. Her work is hard and draining. Not to mention, when you are consulting doctors and patients on which drugs to use there is absolutely no room for error.
She didn’t go to school for six years to count pills and, one more thing, Dr. Perica, is not a typo.