Written by Kylie Lucas, Pharmacist.
Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes at your local pharmacy? Pharmacies are hives of activity and what you see at the front counter is just the beginning! Here is a typical day for me, a pharmacist in a country town.
8.45 am - Turn the computers on for the day and then it’s time for a quick team meeting before the shop opens.
9.00 am - Open the doors, greet the first customers and start processing prescriptions, including those ordered online by customers who use the MedAdvisor app to “Tap-To-Refill” their scripts from their smartphone, PC or tablet.
9.30 am - Help a customer who is confused over changes to her husband’s medication schedule after he was discharged from hospital over the weekend.
10.15 am - Field a call from a doctor inquiring about the availability of the meningococcal vaccine.
10.40 am - Support a gentleman commencing insulin for the first time – he is worried and I reassure him that it won’t take long to become comfortable managing his new regime, and I am here to help when he needs support.
11.15 am - Help a lady whose dog has itchy skin – the vet is only in town once a week so I look up a safe dose of antihistamines for her kelpie to get her by until their appointment.
11.35 am - Assist a customer who wants a multivitamin but has a gluten allergy – I find a suitable product for his needs.
12.30 pm - Order medications from our wholesaler – we are 400km from the nearest capital city so it’s important to make sure we don’t place the order late or the medications won’t arrive tomorrow!
1.15 pm – Check a regular customer’s blood pressure as the dose of their medication was changed last week and it’s a while until they see their GP again.
1.30 pm – Take a quick lunch break and read an article about hayfever management in my latest pharmacy journal. As a pharmacist it is important to keep my knowledge up-to-date and there are always new drugs and new studies to read up about.
2.10 pm – A lady comes in asking for cold and flu tablets for herself. After having a chat to her, I find out she is on several heart medications which can interact with most cold preparations, so we discuss her symptoms and find a safer alternative for her to take. She is grateful for my advice and for taking the time to find a solution for her.
2.30 pm – Go through some training with a pharmacy assistant who is new to our store. Assistants are an invaluable part of the pharmacy team and we help them work through their training as there is so much to learn.
3.15 pm – Help a mum who has just picked her son up from school. He is reluctant to use a spacer with his asthma puffer, but after making him feel special and giving him some stickers to put on the spacer we cheer him up and he is happy to have a go. He leaves the store with a smile on his face.
3.30 pm – Check some medication packs which we prepare each week to help customers with their daily medication doses. Many people in our community find this service invaluable as it helps them remember to take their tablets and saves them from the stress of managing it themselves.
4.15 pm – Help a couple of travelers who have come in with bad sunburn after a day out windsurfing – they have been caught out by the strength of the Australian sun! I also suggest a broad spectrum, SPF 50+ sunscreen to use next time, so that they don’t get burnt again next time.
4.30 pm – Finish preparing a first aid kit for a local fisherman and his crew.
4.50 pm – Speak to a mother who is worried about her 8 week old baby’s dry skin – I reassure her that it is quite common and I suggest a suitable moisturiser and a cleanser to use in the bath. I also give her the contact details for the local child health nurse, as this family has just moved to town and they have a lot on their plate with a new baby.
5.00 pm – Close the store, tidy up and do a couple of medication deliveries to elderly clients on my way home.
I love my job and no two days are the same. The various challenges which arise every day always motivate me to continue improving my knowledge with the aim of helping my customers to the very best of my ability. Pop into your local pharmacy and discover the wealth of knowledge of your local pharmacist!
This post was written by Kylie Lucas. Kylie has been a pharmacist for over 10 years and works in a country town pharmacy in the south west of Western Australia. She lives on a farm with her husband, daughter and lots of pet animals.