Monday, 7 May 2007

The Replacement Pharmacist

I worked as a pharmacist-in-charge at Liverpool on Saturday, my first day practising as a registered pharmacist, all on my own. The night before I was agonising about working alone, and being the one in charge. I suppose with the short notice and all, I wasn't ready to be the 'Head'. The next morning, I woke up at about 6am, and got ready to go. I had to be at Redfern station by 7am. It took me a little more than an hour to get to Liverpool, otherwise, it was a very nice and scenic train trip, I thought I would feel sleepy and doze for the good part of the travel, but I was so anxious that I was very much awake.

I arrived at the shopping centre early, at about 8:30am, half an hour before the pharmacy opens. I didn't get to go in until about 8:45am when the pharmacy manager let me in. From the moment I stepped into the pharmacy, the roller-coaster ride began.

Note: if you think that pharmacy is a good career opportunity, you're most probably right. Be prepared for work-induced ailments, such as urinary incontinence, urinary tract infection, hypoglycaemia (low blood glucose level), and fainting spells. From the time I stepped into the pharmacy, it was worse than serving time. As I was the only pharmacist, there was no lunch break for me. The dispensary technician got me some sushi rolls for lunch at about 1 something, and I only took a few bites at close to 4pm. As for toilet breaks, I drank so little water that I didn't even have an urge to go. Couple these external factors with a sympathetic overdrive.

I was on a fight, flight, and fright response HIGH - bombarded with customer service literally left, right, and centre, running around like a headless chicken trying to locate products to recommend, rushing back to the dispensary (it felt like a 100-m dash - the pharmacy was like a big MAZE) to get scripts checked - there was hardly a quiet moment.

I survived the day, barely. Had I have been much more organised, I would have enjoyed my time there. It was quite an experience, and as one of my pharmacist friend commented, it's fun being a pharmacist-in-charge, on your own. :) I would agree to that, but until I get a bit more experience, every day out on my own results in days of anxiety...


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