Julianna M.

July 20th – August 13th (o hours) – I have not actually had my first day at my internship site yet. I had my interview on Thursday and I was accepted into my pharmacy site. I met all my coworkers and I was given a tour of the location. I was told my duties, which would consist of smaller tasks. I would most likely be doing organizing and simple paperwork. I might even be able to sit in on check-ups or vaccinations if the patients allow.

From Mrs. Wahl, I hope to learn more about the process that goes into getting hired. I want to know about how to write a resume, and the process of an interview. I hope to know more about what questions you get asked in an interview, and what makes a resume better than others. From my time at the pharmacy, I hope to learn more about how a pharmacy works. I want to know what responsibilities a pharmacist has, and if they have a lot of pressure on them to be a pharmacist. I also, most importantly want to learn if I even want to pursue pharmacy as a career after this.

I have learned a lot about how to interview and talk professionally. I am now comfortable about talking to professionals. Whether this be over phone, in person, or through email. I have also learned how to better communicate with my teachers and leaders on time and promptly. Now, even outside the program, I am more upfront about emailing my teachers and asking for what I need. I also email and communicate with enough notice and at more convenient time.

August 14th – August 27th (4 hours) – The most meaningful experience so far in the program was my first day. I went to my internship site, and I got to meet my mentor’s manager first thing. His name is Anthony, and he stayed the whole time while I worked. I was given my first task next, and I was helping the pharmacy with inventory. I had to go through a large shelf of about 150 bottles, and open and mark each one, and also check their expiration date. After that, I discussed and filled out the 1st day paperwork with my mentor. Finally, my last task before I left was to put back a few bottles in the shelves of pills and prescriptions. The names of the prescriptions were very long, and it took a while to differentiate between similar prescriptions. My first day was meaningful because it allowed me to finally see the day to day operations of a pharmacy.

August 28th – September 10th (7 hours) – This last week I went to my internship on Tuesday night. The night before I had gone out to buy more fitting clothes for the jobs I was doing at the pharmacy. I realized in my last two visits that even though there is not much physical labor in my job, it can still be physically exhausting. I bought some new tennis which had more cushion, looser shirts and more mobile pants because I am moving around a lot at my internship. When I went to my internship last Tuesday, I came home still physically exhausted and in pain, and I only worked for 3 hours. This really put into perspective the tiring aspects of any job. I never realized how hard any profession works, and I have learned that I might have to come up with more ways to not be tired by my internship so easily. I will try and start bringing more snacks and water bottles, and also add pads to my shoes so that my feet don’t hurt as much.

Some expectations at my workplace definitely rely on being able to talk to customers. Almost everyday, the majority of the customers at the pharmacy are rude, or they end up getting frustrated when there are issues with their insurance. The pharmacists definitely have to work to keep their cool when working with customers. Another issue with customers is communication barriers caused by language issues, and one skill is being patient with customers who don’t speak very good English. One of my expectations is to greet customers if a pharmacist isn’t available and be presentable and friendly while I do it, no matter what. Pharmacy involves more people skills than I originally thought, however my coworkers work well with this, and therefore set a good example for me.

Overall, I naturally fit in with my workplace. Pharmacy requires an equal amount of people and education skills. While obviously I do not meet the education requirements as of right now, I know that I will be able to meet that expectation. I have relatively good people skills, however I have to work on greeting customers more often and being aware of their presence when I am the only worker at the front of the pharmacy. I have to actively think about whether or not there is customer nearby. I am fine with following directions, and while I am slower than my pharmacy coworkers, I believe I am prompt for my skill level in the tasks I am assigned. One expectation I am worried about in pursuing pharmacy is the ability to give vaccinations. As of right now, I am able to sit in on flu shots and vaccinations in the pharmacy with customer consent, however as of right now I have not because I have a phobia of needles. This will be something I will have to get better with in time, and I need to work on focusing on the career benefits of watching vaccinations rather than my phobia if I want to be a pharmacist in the future.

One new term I learned on my first day was “out-dates”. The pharmacists use this term to refer to expired prescriptions, or prescriptions that are going to expire. They have a system used for when they take inventory, and they remove expired prescriptions and prescriptions that are going to be expired in a month or two from the main shelves. These prescriptions are called out-dates.

September 11th – September 24th (14.5 hours) – I worked a lot this past week on my internship because I am behind on hours. The first day I was just checking out-dates. However, on Saturday I learned a lot of new things. I had to go through their daily miniature inventory just to make sure numbers are correct. They usually check 10 bottles a day, but I had to do 30 because they were behind on working. I had to count all of the pills in every single bottle of a prescription. I had to learn the hard way first by simply dumping the pills, but then my mentor showed me how to use the counting trays and the scale. The scale calibrates the weight of pills and turns it into the amount of pills in a bottle. This helped me learn how to handle and pour the pills better, because pouring them was a lot harder than I anticipated when there is a lot in one bottle. However, I learned to take it slow and then as I got better I was able to pour faster with more accuracy. I also got the have exposure to flu shots and I got to sit in on a few on Saturday. I almost fainted on one of them so I had to stop sitting in. I’ve realized I should not push my limits to help get over my phobia and only expose myself once a day for now.

“Bin-rec.”: Bin-rec. refers to when the pharmacists go through all the filled prescriptions once a week. They use a scanner to scan each prescription so that t matches with the ones they have in their computer. This helps them make sure they have all the right prescriptions, and helped them see if one is missing for various reason so they can deal with it accordingly.

September 25th – October 8th (10.5 hours) – One meaningful experience I’ve had in the program these last weeks was working my longest day so far. I worked for almost 7 hours one of the days I went in, and such a long working day was difficult for me. I’m not used to performing career based tasks for longer than the time of a school day. It took a lot of mental and physical strength to work for so long with no breaks. This experience really put into perspective what is required in a normal job. Most of the time, my mentor works for 8 hours. I could barely last 7. This made me realize how hard I would need to work in an actual career setting, and that there is a lot of hidden aspects that make someone qualified for a job, such as their daily endurance. I was really tired after my long day, so enduring long hours will be something I will need to work on in the future. It will just be something I will have to get used to.

While I am at my internship site, I usually communicate in person. My internship site isn’t very big and I am often within earshot of my mentor. If I need to speak with her, I usually just go up and ask her. Sometimes I have to wait if she is with a customer or giving a flu-shot. However, most of the time, it is most efficient to communicate in person. Every now and then I text my mentor about papers and information so that I won’t forget all of it, and I also text my mentor through her personal phone number as well. This ensures the quickest response because she has a small kid, and it is hard to attend to her work phone at all times. However, most often we communicate through personal conversation because it will ensure the quickest responses. Also a lot of times, the questions I have require an immediate response because I have to go through medications in the right order so I don’t lose track of my work. Therefore, it is best to ask in person so that my progress at the pharmacy won’t be stunted.

I feel very comfortable talking to my mentor in the workplace one on one. My site is very condense so there is a nice closed and comfortable environment. I don’t mind asking my mentor questions, and a lot of times it is absolutely necessary to my work that I ask so that I can get a response as soon as possible. Often times I will have to wait a few minutes before asking if my mentor is with a customer, on the phone, or seems to be busy at the moment. The hard part most of the time is finding a moment where she isn’t super busy, however this sense just comes with time. Now I am better with gauging the better moments to ask my mentor a question than I was before. Once I find the right time to answer a question, I have no problem asking it, and I always get a good response. I always feel that in person is the best way to ask cause it gets an answer as efficiently as possible and allows me to continue my work.

Fast Rack: The Fast Rack is the rack of prescriptions that are used up quickly or used by a lot of patients. These prescriptions are more common, and therefore have a separate rack because they go so quickly. This rack is close to where prescriptions are filled so they are easy to access as well.

October 9th – October 22nd (12 hours) – For one of the days that I worked, my mentor wasn’t there the whole time. So, while I completed my work, I had to be more self-sufficient than I normally am. There were pharmacy techs available, however they are usually very busy filling prescriptions. It is hard to ask the pharmacy techs, so I mostly had to rely on my own experience. Overall, I was very self-sufficient. I was able to do a lot without asking. Some things I did on my own were being able to scan all the deleted prescriptions on my own, and I was able to complete the missed bin-req prescriptions on my own as well. This is when I scan all the prescriptions in the bins, however, sometimes because of human error some prescriptions are missed. I found all the missing ones, even a few that were of the error of the pharmacists. Overall, I learned to be more self-sufficient and I proved to know more about the pharmacy than I thought, so I seem to be learning a lot about how a pharmacy works, and hopefully I get better in the future.

The root word “flu”: I learned that lots of medications containing the word “flu” in the middle will almost always be a variant of the flu vaccine. I was confused about where some medications went. I asked the pharmacy tech she said that they went in a special place in the fridge because they were flu vaccines.

October 23rd – November 5th (6 hours) – This week I learned how to do the second part of bin req, which is where I find all the prescriptions that were not supposed to be filled. This could be for various reasons, one main one being that a prescription was accidentally filled twice. Normally for bin req, I go and cross off prescriptions I may have missed scanning after I look for them again, just to make sure they are still in the bins. The second part of the list requires me to find all the prescriptions listed, and to remove them from the “ready” bins. The ready bins are the bins that hold all the filled and ready to be sold prescriptions. Once I remove all the prescriptions I have to take them apart and out of the bags, and then put away all the prescriptions and drugs into their appropriate shelves. This experience gave me to opportunity to demonstrate how quickly I could pick up on a new skill so quickly, and I was able to learn a new skill that I can now demonstrate at all my future internship visits.

One time I interacted with a co-worker other than my mentor was when my mentor was not working one of the days I went in. Throughout the day, I asked most of my questions to the pharmacy intern Elizabeth. One memorable moment was when I needed help finding a few prescriptions on the bin req list. She informed me that the prescriptions I were looking for were just records of a flu-shot, and that I wouldn’t find them in the “ready” bins. I initiated the communication personally once she was off the phone, and I did so because I needed help completing my job I was assigned to do. I regularly interact with Elizabeth because she acts as a close guide for when my mentor is unavailable, and there have been several more instances where I has asked her for help since then.

This last Saturday, my coworker Kelsey and I had a conversation about Halloween. She initiated the convo when she offered me a piece of candy, and the proceeded to tell me about her kids on Halloween, and all they candy they got. I felt comfortable during this exchange, as it was just a casual conversation about the recent holiday. I regularly interact with my coworkers casually and socially. I usually get questions about how my life in school is, or often times I get asked about my plans after high school. We also have lots of humorous conversations, such as one where I taught my coworkers some slang that high schoolers use nowadays.

Diphenhydramine: This is another name for the generic chemical in most antihistamine or allergy prescriptions. I learned this term when I was having trouble putting away a name brand allergy medication. My coworker told me that for that medicine I had to look at the generic name to put it away.

November 6th – November 19th (10 hours) – These last 2 weeks were my last official working days at my internship. I finished all my hours on time as well. I was excited to go in last Tuesday because our pharmacy was being rewarded with a lunch. The pharmacy manager gave the pharmacy a flu-shot goal, and they had to give out a certain number of flu shots by the beginning of November. My pharmacy made the goal on time, and so they were rewarded with a lunch of their choosing. I was able to participate in the lunch because the manager said that I was contributing to their flu shot goal. I was able to do the menial and basic daily tasks for them some days, and as a result, they were able to focus more on giving out more flu shots. The manager saw it fitting that I should participate in the lunch as well. This experience taught me some more of the importance of working hard and being punctual in my actions. I did hard work that I’m not normally used to at my pharmacy, however I always did it in a timely manner and to the best of my ability. After being rewarded for my work, I was taught that there is pay off in such work. I was also taught the importance of working as a team. All of the people in my pharmacy, including myself, were part of a working group, and each one of us was just as valued as the other. It felt nice to be a part of a group and have us all be rewarded together for our hard work. I was taught the importance of hard work and making sure to work together.

At the beginning of the year, my mentor and I never established an official schedule because I never know when I would be able to come in because of school work, SEP, and car issues. The scheduling at my internship was very laid back, so I was told that this would be alright, as long as I let my mentor know when I would be coming in. Overall, scheduling communication was very clear and easy going for the both of us. I could always simply text my mentor when I would be coming in and we both had no problem working out scheduling issues at my site or through text. Since my mentor is usually busy with working everyday or being with her little kid, she informed me from the start that scheduling would work out best through text message. Overall, there were minimal bumps in the road, and scheduling always went well. Usually if there was a traffic problem and I was not driving I would let her know that I would be late through text message, however if I was driving I would simply explain myself when I got to the pharmacy because I do not want to text her while I am driving myself. One thing I could do better would be letting my mentor know sooner when I would be coming in, instead of the night before or he day of. While my mentor is very laid back about that thing, it would be more courteous of me to let her know about 2 or 3 days in advance. I will most likely stick to my same schedule next semester. While I don’t have an official schedule, I usually go into my site on Tuesdays and Saturdays for at least 4 hours each day.

Managing my internship with school and personal life was harder than I anticipated. I was not sure how to gauge how many hours I would need in a week after I had started late in the program. A lot of times I would have club events on Tuesdays when I would need to go in, and I would have a lot of family events going on during Saturdays. I also suffered a lot with managing SEP with my schedule, because often times our assignments would take more than a few days to complete. While I completed all my hours, I completed them with great difficulty. Now that I have a better idea of how to manage my hours, I anticipate second semester will go better. I will try and keep my consistent schedule by going in on Tuesdays and Saturdays like normal. I will only miss if I absolutely need to miss my days. I will try and do homework on time and more punctual so that I have time to focus on SEP and my hours. I will make sure to keep track of my hours better so that I’m able to calculate them more accurately when it comes to my timesheets and reflection logs.

-uracil: this is a drug suffix commonly used in thyroid medications. I learned this at my last visit to my pharmacy. Most drugs name ending in this suffix involve some sort of thyroid treatment.