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Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Results Are In!!

  After many responses to my last post, the results are unanimous: Certified Pharmacy Technicians are healthcare professionals. Everyone pretty much has the same opinion that if the job requires specialized training, education and licensing then it qualifies as a profession. I was not surprised by the results. That being said, I have to denounce Walgreens for making their technicians work as cashiers on Thanksgiving and Christmas. They would not have gotten away with asking the pharmacists to do the same. I have also seen a marked change in attitude toward my technicians ever since. The rest of the front-end staff is treating them like "hey, if you can do my job I'm sure that I could do yours just as easily". This practice devalued my staff in the eyes of other employees and store management. I'm not saying that the techs are personally better than the front-end help but I am saying that they are professionally better and should be treated as such. I know it's a mute point because starting this year all Walgreens pharmacies will be open so the techs will have to work the holidays, but at least they will be doing "techy" things instead of selling cigarettes. And at least they will have more than 2 weeks notice that they will have to work..unlike last year.
  I want to extend a huge thank you to all the technicians out there who acted as team players and did their best in the position they were placed in. This in itself proves that you are consummate professionals! You make me proud every day that I work with you. I know that this blog is anonymous but my "thank you" goes out to not only my own staff but all the hard working technicians across the country (and elsewhere). We cannot do our jobs without you nor do we want to try!
  My state is implementing a law this year that will require all technicians to be certified. That tells me that even the state board recognizes that the job requires special training and dedication which is the hallmark of a professional!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Update and Question For The Masses

  I know I haven't posted much recently. With the onset of colder weather, I am struggling with worsening rheumatoid arthritis. Typing is difficult. Working is difficult. Being patient with my patients is difficult. Being patient with my employer is most difficult. In an industry where speed is valued over anything else, there isn't much room for someone who has difficulty moving quickly or needs help getting lids off bottles. Luckily, I'm a good manager and my store is doing well enough that some of my short-comings are over looked.
  The question I wanted to pose to the masses is this: Are certified pharmacy technicians considered healthcare professionals? I want to state right away that my answer to this is a resounding "YES"! However, I think there are some employers who do not agree. My company made the decision several weeks ago that if a technician worked in a store that had the pharmacy closed on Thanksgiving or Christmas, that the technicians had to work one of the holidays as a front-end cashier. What kind of message did that decision send to these valued employees? It said, "We don't think of you as healthcare providers. We don't care that you already had plans made for your holidays (the decision was passed down a mere 2 weeks prior to Thanksgiving). We don't care that you had to study and pass a certification exam. On these days you are no different than the unskilled, minimum wage cashiers that we employ." Now the next question is: What message did this decision send to the customers of the store? Many of these customers were regulars to the store. They saw their pharmacy technician behind the front counter selling cigarettes. That, in my eyes, was the wrong message to send. The techs had no choice in this but yet their reputation as a caring healthcare professional was tainted by this decision made by some out-of -touch corporate flunky who was probably trying to impress someone. And who didn't have to work the holiday himself.  Not to mention the fact that because it was a holiday everyone that worked was getting paid double-time. I don't know, I'm not a business major, but that math doesn't add up to me. Minimum was vs. CPhT wage? Hmmmm!
  Anyway, I would like to hear some thoughts on this subject.  I actually had one of my best technicians quit over it. She went to work for a PBM where she has a cubical, a desk and an hour lunch break. She evaluates prior authorization requests. It sounds to me like she made the right decision, don't ya think? Let me hear from you on this. I would like to know if any other companies made such a stupid decision to try and alienate some of their most valued professionals.