Opening Eyes

       A funny thing happened to me the other day at work.  I think one person was finally educated about what pharmacists really do for a living. 

      One of my common complaints is that people just don’t know our work.  Of course, one could also argue that the general public just doesn’t care.   But in general, there is a lack of understanding or appreciation for the art of pharmacy. 

      That may have changed recently for one individual.  I think a pair of eyes was finally opened to what retail pharmacists do everyday. 

      It happened while I was working an all-day shift at a store that apparently had some kind of security system malfunction.  A service technician showed up at the store a couple of hours after we opened to inspect the system and hopefully fix whatever was causing the problem. 

      This service technician spent 3-4 hours in the pharmacy that day trouble shooting and making some repairs.  Apparently, what was initially thought to be a routine problem turned into more of a challenge. 

      At various times during the day, this service technician pulled me from my work to ask me to assist him.  I’d show him where something was located or type in the security code as a test and then go back to my work. 

      The entire time during this 3-4 hour service call,  this technician was in the pharmacy watching myself and my co-worker interact with customers.  He saw first hand how hectic things can get. 

      At the end of his visit he had me sign some invoice papers. While I signed the paperwork he smiled and made a comment.  “I had no idea what you guys did back here!”

      He continued to comment on what he had seen.  “I have a new respect for pharmacists.  You were really busy back here today.”

      I got the impression that he was really impressed with our work.  He saw a lot of what we do and he wondered out loud how we had the time for it all. 

      What is interesting to point out about this day is that it wasn’t an excessively busy day.  We had what I’d call a typical volume day with the requisite amount of problems and issues.  I’ve had many days worse that the one witnessed by this service technician.   

      I guess my job has become routine enough that I really don’t step back and think about all the demands or stresses involved in my work.  It can be hectic and busy.  But that is what doing this job entails. 

      For one day though, a person not affiliated with the profession of pharmacy got to shadow me in a way and see what really happens behind the counter at the pharmacy.  And based on his reaction, two eyes were possibly opened to our sometimes chaotic world!

      Before he left, he shook my hand and thanked me for my efforts.  Keep in mind this was a service technician on a call to the pharmacy and not a customer or patient.  It didn’t matter.  He figured it out. 

      Pharmacists and pharmacy technicians do thousands of tasks everyday for people that go largely un-noticed.  But occasionally you can reach someone and open their eyes to what community pharmacy is really about. 

     And when that happens it can be an educational experience.   Who knows, more people might begin to understand the importance of our work?  Even if you can open just one pair of eyes, it’s still a step in the right direction for our profession. 

The Redheaded Pharmacist

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