Friday, August 10, 2012

This Community is full of Love & Other Drugs

Posted by Tony Lin at Friday, August 10, 2012

No Anne Hathaway. No steamy movie scenes. No ridiculous plots.
It's just an indepenent pharmacy that's led by a seasoned pharmacist that truly cares about everyone that ever walks up to the counter.
The 5 weeks I spent at Village Pharmacy II with Mr. Al Knaak in Ann Arbor was career-changing and eye-opening. Having interned at a major pharmacy chain previously and rotated at another community pharmacy just 7 months ago, I thought I've seen the best (and the worst) of community pharmacy. Boy was I wrong.
To start off, I would like to brag that students on this rotation never have to deal with insurance, count pills, or be a cashier! The emphasis of this rotation is to learn (or refresh) the over-the-counter (OTC) medication knowledge, top prescription medications, patient counselling skills, and hopefully find interest in community pharmacy. Al was a great pharmacist and a even better mentor. He assigns OTC patient cases frequently and would come in early before his shift everyday to discuss them with the students.
Having been a preceptor for 37 years, the knowledge and experiences he provides to students are invaluable. Who knew people could possibly be addicted to Lasix (a blood pressure medication), using a horse (yes, horse) shampoo and complaining she's going bald, insisting that ONLY brand name (not generic) medications work for them and more. Al has been a pharmacist here for decades and majority of his patients trust him more than their own physicians. Thanks to him, I've seen my share of interesting individuals and patients out in the real world.
 In addition to get my OTC knowledge down pat, I learned the most important thing in patient care is to LISTEN TO YOUR PATIENTS. This should always be your #1 choice to find out more about your patient and gain their trust. It sounds like a clinche--and it is--but it works.
Throughout the 5 weeks, I have never once witnessed a moment that Al lost his cool regardless how crazy the day might be. The pharmacy is always well staffed with 8-11 people between pharmacist(s), technicians, cashiers, interns and pharmacy students. The same amount of scripts at a large chain would staff 4-5 people at the most. This simple comparison effectively illustrates why Village Pharmacy II have patients returning decades after decades. Generation after generation.

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