AJ I.

January 7th – January 14th (4 hours) – Overall, this past little bit of time in the new semester has been without much change from before. With my previous mentor, Mrs. Hillmeyer, being retired and no longer leading me, I have been looked after by the techs and other pharmacists. This has shown me that working in a place like this is more than just being led by one person. When working with many different people, you become part of a team and you can be led by everyone. This really shows me what it means to be part of a company or even just one small pharmacy. You become part of the team and eventually start to be taught by everyone and be able to teach others, if you are in that position of course.

One major technical skill that I have learned is how to properly catagorize and organize items. The pharmacy is extremely organized for many reasons. We are expected to keep all pills in the correct order for lots of different reasons. The items that will expire first will be at the front at all times. We must ensure that the items are placed in the correct place alphabetically because of the need to ensure that pills are going out correct. This will only get better as I organize and place more and more pills in their rightful places.

I know I will benefit from this organization skill a lot in the future. It will allow me to keep all of my classes’ work in order and done on time. Hopefully I will continue to keep this organization through the rest of the internship as well. I am currently still working on the pieces of organization when it comes to the calendar. I believe that as this second semester goes by that I will become better at this skill due to the fact that I will be improving this skill at the pharmacy. As this skill improves, I will do my best to also improve in the keeping of my dates. Just as I do in the pharmacy, I know I must always be checking dates to ensure that I am up to date on everything.

I haven’t really been learning many new words but I believe that I learned that our boxes of drugs that we get is called a shipment. This is something that we get everyday as a way to keep our shelves stocked with whatever we need. There is usually about 6 to 7 boxes with varying amounts of drugs inside for me to file away on our shelves.

January 15th – January 28th (8 hours) –  In the pharmacy, I have started to take on a couple of new responsibilities. I have started to go through all of the pharmacy and start to put small markers on the drugs that don’t have a label. These labels are called mylars and they are important as they help keep the pharmacy organized. In February, there will be a yearly inventory sweep and it is important that each of the drugs we have has a mylar to go with it. It has become my responsibility to do this as also ensure that the shelves are nice and neat so that it is clear that we keep it organized most of the time. I also have been asked to go through and check each of the bottles to ensure that ones that have been opened have been marked. This is also for the inventory sweep so that they know that the bottle might not contain everything that it says it does.

A new drug that I asked about this week is Fluconazole! This drug is something that people take orally in order to treat certain fungal infections. You can see this in the suffix -zole!

January 29th – February 11th (8.5 hours) – In this past two weeks, I’ve done a few new things. I’ve started to really settle into the pharmacy and I feel like I’ve become even more useful. During one of my days at eh pharmacy, they were extremely short staffed and I arrived just as the shipment for the day had arrived. I was immediately greeted with relieved faces and a request to unload the whole shipment by myself. This would be maybe the second time at most that I had done this task so it was a new experience. I ended up using all of my usual time that I am there just to unload the alpha based drugs and used another half hour in order to put all of the drugs that are on the fast rack away. This helped me towards my first SMART goal which was to become more familiar with all of the drugs that are in the pharmacy.

My first SMART goal that I wanted to try and meet was that of generally becoming more comfortable with the organization of the pharmacy. This would include general comfort navigating the pharmacy, shelving any of the daily shipment, and being able to complete any other organizational items in the shelves of the pharmacy as a whole. I chose this goal because it is something that will help me as I work towards my second of goal of trying to memorize the top 200 drugs for the pharmacy technician test that I hope to eventually take before my first year of college. I also thought that this would help me in classes in college, specifically pharmacology. There are certain spots in the pharmacy that hold certain types of medication which could help me remember names and such that would allow me to memorize drug names in the future. I started with this goal at the very beginning of my internship with my very first round of outdated drugs. I had to go through each and every shelf of drugs in order to find any of them that would be expiring within three months. This exposed me to a whole slew of information that I still am trying to get put in the right order in my head. Each month I still do this process and it is starting to really help as I can remember names better and the general order of things after all these months of this task. More recently, though, I have been helping put away parts of, or even all of, the shipment that comes in daily. All of this has really helped me just start to know exactly where things are, why they are there, and learn specific names of important medications that I otherwise would be clueless about. This process in its whole hasn’t been necessarily difficult but it has been hard work. There are still many times that I have to sing my ABC’s in order to find the exact spot for a certain medication if I haven’t seen it recently. I often have to ask the technicians if the medication goes on the fast-rack (most used drugs) or not. Many times I can assume where things are now, but it wasn’t always this easy. I still get drugs all the time that I have never seen before and haven’t a clue where to put them. It is always fun to do the search, but sometimes it can be discouraging. It always reminds me that we can always learn more and that there are plenty of ways to learn outside of just a classroom or a book, which is how I am studying for my second SMART goal. Sometimes hands-on learning is more beneficial as I know I wouldn’t be able to be this familiar if I had just learned this all in a class or in a book. As I said before, this goal will help me tons when it comes to just knowing names of drugs, and how to pronounce them, in my college level classes that involve the drugs, such as pharmacology. It will also help me gain appreciation for everyone who has to do this type of a thing on a daily, just like I will in the far future.It helps me understand that this is a whole lot of learning, and understanding that it is always okay to ask questions, no matter how small they may seem.

Even though this may not be extremely industry specific, I hear this word used all the time, and it is ‘consult’. Often times drugs are prescribed and given to patients that need to be personally handed off by the pharmacist. This means that whoever is the pharmacist on staff at the moment must go over, ensure the patient knows what they need to know about the drug, and then sign off on it and hand it out. This happens quite often throughout the day and includes the opioids that are given out.

February 12th – February 25th (6 hours) – These past two weeks in the pharmacy went by much faster than many of the others. The technicians that I worked with seemed extremely happy that I was there to help. They told me many times that I was one of the biggest helps when it came to the inventory that they would be having at the end of this two weeks. They were overjoyed for me to be able to put away their orders on both Tuesdays and Fridays which are usually some of their more traffic heavy days. This is helping put me towards my goal of knowing the top 200 drugs for the next narrative. They also are very helpful in my goal. All of the technicians are more than happy to answer my questions and the pharmacists are also happy to answer whenever they have the time to.

One, not as new drug, that I learned these two weeks was Atorvastatin. This medication treats high cholesterol. You can remember this by the fact that it ends in ‘statin’ which generally means that it treats this disease.

February 26th – March 11th (8 hours) – In the past two weeks, they have been similar to my last ones but equally as meaningful. I have been unloading the daily order more often and it has been getting easier each time. I have fully enjoyed each of my days at the pharmacy due to the fact that I do feel useful, and I always have something to do which fills the time with ease. If I’m not immediately doing something with the techs or pharmacist, I am studying for my technician exam, though it is slow going since I am starting from scratch. I feel that even with the slow going to my studying, the hands-on experience of the pharmacy is something that has benefited me when it comes to my learning. The techs at the office also are some of the most helpful people when I have questions which is something that has helped in the past two weeks.

For my second goal, I decided to choose a goal that I felt I would at least have a harder time attaining. I decided to try and memorize the top two hundred most prescribed drugs in order to further my education and work towards the technician test. It has been a trip trying to memorize all of these medications. While two hundred seems like a very large number, it seems like it would be something that could be memorized, which is why I chose this as my task. After getting my prep book, I learned that there is more to memorize than just the names of two hundred drugs. When learning these medications, you must also know what they are prescribed for, what kind of drug they are, and what their generic and brand names are so that you can identify them in any situation and know exactly what they are and what they are used for. My first major hurdle that I ran into was even just learning how to say the names of the medications so that I could then speak them out loud to myself as a way to memorize when studying. I would ask Holly, Toni, and the two Aprils, who are the techs that I work with most often, how to pronounce the names the most. They were always extremely willing to help me with my pronunciation. Holly even would give me tips on how to remember the use of the drugs by using the suffix of the drug. For example, the suffix ‘statin’ usually denotes a drug that is going to be used for high cholesterol. I study in the pharmacy a lot of the time, after I finish my daily tasks such as unloading the daily order and doing a whole shelf of out-dates, both of which also help me become more familiar with the names of the drugs that I will be having to learn. After I finish all of those tasks, I usually go and sit down and start to study my flashcards, or I make them. If any of the technicians need me, they just ask and I always hop up to help, but they consistently ask me if I need any help studying which is nice because it shows me that they want to help me learn. Toni and Holly are the ones who check up on me the most, always wanting to make sure I am learning everything correctly. I haven’t managed to memorize all of the drugs yet, but I am continuing to study and work towards having them all memorized. Overall, I have been working steadily towards my goal and it has been a huge undertaking but I have been enjoying a lot of it because of the help that the technicians have been giving to me throughout my studying that I am excited to continue. Even if I don’t manage to get everything memorized before the end of the year, I know that Holly and Toni’s help will always be appreciated and I will benefit from their help in the future.

This week I learned more about the drug named Atenolol. This medication is generally used to treat high blood pressure. It is one of the top 200 drugs that I have had to memorize in the past few months.

March 12th – March 25th (16 hours) –  Over spring break, I spent a lot of time in the pharmacy. It gave me a huge insight as to what my life in the future would entail when it came to what being a professional pharmacist would be. I also spent a lot of time studying for the technician exam. I unloaded the daily order, or just helped unload it, whenever I was there, which is something that I also was grateful for as it helped me continue to learn drug names. In the time that I spent there, I enjoyed a lot of it. There were times in which I didn’t feel as if I was a huge help but the techs and the pharmacists were adament that me being there gave them a sense of security when it came to simple tasks being done. This helped me understand why they enjoyed having me so much and it made me feel like I had really been making a difference in their work place rather than just taking up space like I had felt I had been.

One drug that I learned more about these past two weeks was Fentanyl. It is an opioid based drug. It is generally used to treat only severe pain and can be extremely addicting.

March 26th – April 8th (9 hours) –  In the past two weeks, I have been doing a few new things. Kris had me do something I had done parts of before but never the whole thing. I went through all the prescriptions that are already in bins and filed away, ready for the patient, and scanned them all. I then was given lists of prescriptions that were there but hadn’t been picked up in time. I went through and found them all. Once I had gotten all of those on the list, I redacted all the patients information on the tags. After that was completed, they were all filed back into the pharmacy in their normal places. These prescriptions are called deletes and they are done every three to six weeks depending on how much free time the techs have.

This internship has shown me that I should have more confidence in my choices. It has shown me that I know what is best for me most of the time and that even though it is good to always have outside opinions, sometimes listening to yourself is the best thing that you’ve got. I also learned that I need to be extremely diligent in keeping up on things. I also know that I am capable of handling more that people have told me I was. This internship was one part of a very busy schedule and I feel as if it helped me learn how to as well as how not to manage my time. I learned that I am someone who is a hard worker, as noted by both people in the pharmacy, and those who I work with at my work place. I also learned that no matter what, there will always be good days and bad days, what truly matters is that you take as much experience out of each day possible, no matter how boring that day may be.

One major thing is ensuring that you have enough time for everything! I found that my schedule was hectic and my time was crunched a lot so always make sure that when you are scheduling things and working around this program that you factor in any transportation time, and arriving early for things into that schedule.

Don’t underestimate yourself, set a schedule, that is time savvy, and stick to it! The more you stick to your schedule that you’ve made, the better you will do. I know that If I had gotten a schedule all down earlier, I would’ve succeeded even more than I have.

And USE YOUR CALENDAR!!! Always have more than one reminder if you are forgetful like me. Try your best to meet every single deadline, and if you don’t follow up as soon as you have realized and don’t try to explain yourself, just apologize for missing it and don’t miss it the next time!

One major drug that I put away each time I intern is Montelukast in 10 mg pills. This medication ebbs and flows with how much it is prescribed. It is used to manage asthma symptoms, seasonal allergy symptoms, and hay fever.

April 9th – April 22nd (8 hours) – In my last few weeks at the pharmacy, there were plenty things that were learned. I learned that there is always more to a workplace than just work. There is a life behind each of those faces that you see at the place. Each of the techs who I saw very often were kind enough to get me a small gift before I left. I was touched by their gift and was happy that I had made such an impression on them. They became a huge part of my life and I enjoyed seeing them everyday. They also proved to me that I can be a very helpful part of a teach even if I can’t do everything in the job description.

One of the medications that I learned about was Ampicillin. It is an antibacterial medication. It is common to treat acne with. 

July 20th – August 13th (11.65 hours) – One major experience I had in the pharmacy was the out-dating of pill bottles. This turned out to be much harder than I had expected because there were more drugs than I had expected. In the pharmacy there are roughly 6 shelves that are full, front and back, of bottles that contain drugs that may be dispensed at any time. I was tasked with going through each and every bottle on those shelves to see if any of the pill bottles were going to expire in 90 days or less. If they were in that range, I put them in a separate box to be scanned and sent back to the companies. This experience really showed me how important it is for the drugs to be up to date. If I hadn’t gone through and outdated the shelves then consumers could be at risk for getting drugs that may expire.

One of the things I hope to learn from my mentor is how to really manage a pharmacy at all. At all times, my mentor is constantly moving and going around to talk with customers. This also leads into what I hope to learn from Mrs. Wahl. I hope to learn more about how to manage a hectic life in general. I know that at the moment I am having trouble doing so. I hope that through this program that Mrs. Wahl will demonstrate how to manage a full day efficiently.

One thing I have learned about myself as a professional is that I am very task oriented. This is something that my mentor appreciates because it means that I get tasks done in a timely and efficient manner. When given a task to do, I immediately get on it and generally work until the task is 100% complete. One thing that I have for sure learned about myself as a student is that I am very unwilling to do work that I see or feel is irrelevant or doesn’t help me in my high school career. This is something that I am striving to fix as it makes me out to be a bad student at times when in reality I want to be a great student for all of my teachers as well as give them my best work

August 14th – August 27th (3.7 hours) – One major thing that I learned in relation to my specific internship is that there is more reading and learning to the job than meets the eye. I spent a couple of hours in this period just reading and completing packets that would help me gain more knowledge about the profession in general. I learned that even though pharmacy seems like it is only about drugs, it is also about ethics. The job is closely related to how people should be treated. This reading time helped me to reflect on how I think I will do in this profession in the future. It encouraged me to try even harder so I can learn more and more. I want to continue to learn about the profession as well as how I can help apply this knowledge in the pharmacy later on.

August 28th – September 10th (6 hours) – One extremely meaningful experience that I had in the past two weeks was that of properly categorizing medicines. In the pharmacy it is crucial that everyone puts everything in the absolute correct spot. Without this attention to detail it can become extremely easy for mistakes to be made. In the pharmacy, while I was learning how to properly put away the daily shipment of drugs, I learned that everything has a place and must be put there. If something is even just in the wrong spot in accordance to milligrams, it can end up in a massive mix up for the pharmacy technicians that are filling the scripts. This really opened my eyes and made me really think about maybe slowing down just a little when doing certain activities to ensure that I am doing them correctly the first time. Hopefully, this experience will grow into a habit and allow me to make even less mistakes in other areas of my life.

In the pharmacy there is a relatively relaxed and friendly atmosphere that I very much appreciate as a young person. Everyone is expected to pull their weight though despite this relaxed atmosphere. If everyone is doing their job correctly then most everyone is content and does their job at a slightly above average pace to ensure everything gets done. If someone doesn’t do their job correctly it can make the relaxed personalities of my coworkers melt away as they have to pick up the slack. We are expected to ask questions when we aren’t sure and be mindful of each others tasks so that we don’t interfere with each other and rather aid each other in getting our jobs done efficiently. None of my coworkers are doing nothing, in the pharmacy there is always something to be put away, filled, or checked. This is also expected of me to a certain extent as some things are barred from me due to legality. This is a very natural fit for my conduct and personality.

I generally conduct myself in a professional way even in my own home. My parents, both of whom were thriving professionals, have drilled this type of conduct into me since I was very young. I feel as if I integrated into the pharmacy quite well and I get along with my coworkers quite well. My personality also seems to fit quite well into such a structured environment as I am a structured person in my day to day life. Overall, I am extremely comfortable in my placement and most of my coworkers have expressed to me that I am a huge help and a fantastic add on to the pharmacy as a whole.

I came across the term ‘Schedule’s’ while reading some packets that Mrs. Hillmeyer gave to me. This term defines the levels of drug regulation with Schedule I’s being illegal drugs and Schedule II’s being highly regulated drugs such as opioids. In the packet that I was given, it discussed how marijuana was being debated on if it should be a Schedule I (illegal) or a Schedule II (highly regulated).

September 11th – September 24th (12.25 hours) – In the pharmacy, I’m starting to pick up on the trend that this industry requires an extremely organized and focused personality. When doing out-dates, I’m required to put the oldest ones (the ones that will expire first) in the front and the newest ones (the ones that will expire last) in the back. This is tedious and is why the pharmacists and the techs appreciate me doing it. It shows me that sometimes, a job can seem to be just the same mundane thing over and over again but it really is helping. They constantly thank me for doing this job because it helps them do their job better. This also shows me that I should make a point to do all of my jobs, both in and out of the pharmacy, with this attitude. By being shown that this small job can make such an impact taught me that no matter how small of a task it may seem to you, it may mean the world to someone else.

While doing this months round of out-dates, I was taught the word ‘recon’ which is short for reconstitute. This is a way to describe a certain type of medication. It denotes that before it can be given to the patient, it must be mixed with a liquid, generally the liquid is just water.

September 25th – October 8th (12 hours) – As I was listening in to what was happening in the pharmacy, I learned that communicating with the pharmacist is very important. The pharmacy techs do a lot of the work when it comes to filling prescriptions which means that they need to ensure they have everything correct. I noticed that whenever a tech would notice something off, they would immediately go to the pharmacist to check. I found this to be important because it shows how the pharmacist needs to be very knowledgeable. This includes knowing exactly what is happening inside of their own pharmacy at any given time. This highlights the need for communication in the work place to ensure everything is done right the first time.

At our pharmacy, we mostly just have in-person conversation. If we aren’t able to see the person we need on one day, there is usually a note left or an email sent. It is most easy to just have a conversation in-person because most everyone works together on a day to day basis. Therefore no one has any reason to email each other because you will just see the person the next day. It is quick and efficient when it comes to explaining problems as well. Generally when there is something to be addressed, they need to do it at the pharmacy anyways because it has something to do with the office space.

I would say that I am very comfortable with choosing the correct method of communication. I usually have most of my questions answered while I’m at the pharmacy through just asking them right then and there. Whenever I have anything I would want to ask someone once I’ve left, I generally have no problem just emailing them. I almost always just ask my questions directly. Most of my questions are ones that can be easily answered while I’m there in the pharmacy. If I ever have a question that can’t be answered right at that moment, there is usually a follow up. Though in general all communication is done in person and directly while I’m in the pharmacy.

One word that I learned is used differently is ‘order’. This word is used in a unique way within the pharmacy. It refers to the boxes that we receive everyday. They hold the medications that must be put away that day that were ordered the night before!

October 9th – October 22nd (6.5 hours) – In the pharmacy, I have been given a lot more responsibilities as of late! I have gotten much better at putting away the order each day which has been a help to everyone there, as they have expressed to me. Overall, the newest thing I have started doing is the mylars. These are the labels that help keep the organization as well as know what drugs we need when there is none left. I put in about 7 or 8 sheets of mylars in throughout the past two weeks. I also started to scan any drugs that don’t have them so that I could print and then place them where they need to go.

I learned of the term mylar! These are the labels for each of the drugs that we have in the pharmacy. I learned this word when one of the pharm techs showed me what to do when placing them as well as when scanning drugs to make more of them.

October 23rd – November 5th (6 hours) – One of the days that I was in the pharmacy, I was immediately assigned to a task I hadn’t done before. One of my coworkers got me started on putting all of the files away. This meant that I had to label each of the boxes that I was using to ensure that the contents inside were known. It was a relatively hard job but I learned that this task usually took the pharmacy about eight or nine hours to complete. I ended up completing it in about three as it was my only task. It helped give me more insight into how the pharmacy handling things without one extra pair of hands.

Many times throughout my time at the pharmacy, I have to ask lots of questions. Usually they are about where things are located due to me still being a little confused with some drugs. Other times its so that I am sure that I’m doing something correctly. One specific time was when I had to ask one of the techs where a certain drug was supposed to go. They ended up having a hard time knowing where it went as well. This is something that we do often because even the people who work there sometimes have a hard time. Whenever I have questions like this though, I immediately ask to ensure that my job is done correctly the first time.

In the pharmacy, we end up interacting socially a lot. I am pretty friendly with all of the techs and they have all told me they enjoying having me there. I am very comfortable in the pharmacy and feel as if they have really accepted my presence there. Many of the techs, as well as my mentor, ask about how my schooling is going. They also are extremely interested in my college search. Whenever these topics come up, I happily share and it usually ends up starting a nice little conversation among everyone who isn’t immediately tending a patient.

One word that I learned recently in the pharmacy is ‘partial’. I had been hearing many of the techs using this word more often and I asked what it meant. They told me that it references prescriptions that are to only be filled partially. Generally, this happens when insurance falls through or the pharmacy doesn’t have enough of the drug in question in stock.

November 6th – November 19th (6 hours) – Overall, I did relatively the same things as always. Though on my second day at the pharmacy, I was under a different pharmacist. This showed me a completely different way to run the pharmacy. This showed me that I would be able to really run a pharmacy in a way that fits me when I finally get there. The freedom that each pharmacist has is immense. I am glad that this profession shows this to me because it shows that I will be able to be an individual while still being part of a team.

I believe that Susan and I found a great schedule that worked very early on. She and I were compatible when it came to timing. She was very understanding of my schedule (due to my sport) and worked very well. In response to her being so understanding, I did everything I could to be punctual. She always commented on how I was always on time. I did my best to never fail at missing a day in which I was supposed to go. The other techs also applauded me in the fact that I always arrives at the same time as the order, allowing me to take that off their shoulders.

I feel that I did pretty well juggling each of my activities. I mostly had trouble with remembering deadlines for things like the reflection logs and the PD meetings (so sorry about this being late, it is an example of my fault of memory). I will be making sure to focus on meeting deadline either more punctually, or early. By writing down more reminders, as well as using my phone, I will do my best to stay very on top of it all. Without diving on top of this, a job, and two AP classes, I believe that I will be able to succeed in these goals. Making things on time is key and I plan on growing that skill to be on par with every other skill needed in the work force.

This is a phrase I use frequently but have forgotten to mention. It is Unit of Use. This describes the section of the pharmacy that holds items that have a whole unit that is supposed to be used when that medication is prescribed. This includes all birth control and creams!