Today’s theme was definitely patience…or rather, a lack thereof.

It seemed like everyone’s mood matched the weather here:  gloomy and dreary. The workflow was pretty steady for a good chunk of the day. My techs and I were bustling around like busy bees. Most people just wanted to get in and out and were pretty upset when the slightest thing went wrong. Two stories stood out from the crowd.

The first of the two happened early on in the day. A man called shortly after we opened and asked my tech to have me call another pharmacy out of state to transfer some prescriptions. This is usually not a big deal, but he didn’t know how many things he needed transferred or what they were even used to treat. He also refused to give us any information over the phone other than his name and date of birth. My tech informed him it would take until mid-afternoon, which was a fair amount of time considering the circumstances surrounding it. He agreed to the time, begrudgingly, and hung up.

About 45 minutes later, I pick up the ringing phone. The man was calling back to see if his prescriptions were ready. I hadn’t had time to call at this point, as I had had doctors to call, voice mails to check, and people in the store to help. I politely apologized to the man and reminded him that he had agreed to them being ready in the afternoon. I asked him if he could give us more specific information over the phone to aid in the transferring process, and when he refused to give us any other info, I told him again they would be ready later in the afternoon. He told me he’d come by tomorrow.

Another 45 minutes pass, and I can hear another technician on the phone with him. From where I was standing, I could hear his yelling voice through the phone. He couldn’t understand why his order was not completed yet. He told us he had to leave our city for a neighboring one for the rest of the day and overnight. My tech suggested he use the pharmacy in that town (I work in a retail chain store). He agreed to that but refused to call that pharmacy to request the transfers. Because I was fed up with his impatience and yelling, I called the store in the other town just to get him out of our pharmacy’s hair.

The second story happened a bit later, and the problem was not a special one. The reaction of the patient was, though. We had a woman come through our drive-thru and drop off a prescription. We asked if there were any address or insurance changes, and she told us there weren’t. She said she would be back in about an hour. An hour goes by, and lo and behold, the insurance card we have is out of date. We fill the prescription and have it ready to resubmit to the insurance.

She comes back through the drive-thru, and we inform her of the news. She asks us why we didn’t ask her for a new insurance card beforehand. We tell her we asked if there were any changes, and she denied it. She grumbles a bit and hands over her card. Because there were two people in line behind her, we ask her to kindly pull around and tell her by the time she loops around the building, her prescription should be ready. She becomes very loud and angry. Curse words fly from mouth at top volume. We continue to apologize, and she speeds off with her tires squealing. When the noise dies, both the people at the register and the next person in line at the drive-thru are laughing at her.

These are just two of several similar stories. It seemed like we had a lot of transfers and insurance changes today, which forced people to have to wait longer than normal. I feel bad when things aren’t ready for our patients, but when they act like either of the two people above, my sympathy seems to fly away. Five year olds are more patient than some of those who pick up medication at the pharmacy.


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