My Final Reflection on Community Placement

I have now come to the end of 4 weeks of a full-time placement at Loblaw Pharmacy. The pharmacy team, and especially my supervisor, have been great to accommodate having me there, asking many questions, and learning new skills. Loblaw Pharmacy is extremely busy, and I got to witness how a pharmacy truly has to work together as a team. This opportunity has taught me that everyone in the pharmacy must do what is needed at that moment, and not just do their assigned roles, as it’s easy to have overwhelming days, and a lot of customers to satisfy.

I have had time to practice processing prescriptions, from entering, to packaging and labelling. I also got quite comfortable with making blister packs, and have come to realize how important they are as many patients require them. I have learned a lot more about what certain medications are used for, which are most commonly used, and I am better at recognizing drug names, and generic versus brand name. I’ve learned the importance to become familiar not just with medication names, but with how medication looks, as I have overheard many patients wanting their medication refill, but all they know is what it looks like, and not the name.

I saw the theory taught in class put into practice, especially with regards to the many legal requirements for running a pharmacy, such as the rules for receiving narcotic orders, storing narcotics, transferring narcotics, and filing narcotic prescription hardcopies. I also saw or heard of situations taught in class, such as when to seek the pharmacist for a recommendation, when to fax the doctor over refills or discrepancies, and how to properly dispose of old medication returned by patients. As well, I had more real life experience with Kroll, and saw how third party billing works.

My 4 weeks of community placement at Loblaw Pharmacy definitely taught me what working in a retail pharmacy is like, all the various duties to be done everyday, and how fast-paced a busy pharmacy can be. It has helped me expand the skills I was taught in the classroom. I appreciate the time spent with the Loblaw Pharmacy team, and the guidance of their Registered Pharmacy Technician, who gave me a glimpse into my future career.

My Last Two Weeks on Community Placement

My last two weeks on placement at Loblaw Pharmacy have been busy. I continued to gain experience entering prescriptions into Kroll, verifying the data of entered prescriptions, billing and packaging prescriptions, and creating blister packs (NAPRA 3.1; 3.2; 3.5.1). One of the prescriptions that I entered was for another pharmacy needing to purchase a medication from us (NAPRA 1.1.1; 8.1.1). I was able to prepare a vacation supply of blister packs for a husband and wife, which required me to make a total of 44 blisters for them (NAPRA 3.1; 3.2; 3.4; 3.5.1). I also practiced mock independent double checks on prescriptions, both on blister packs and on packaged prescriptions in baskets (NAPRA 1.1; 1.2; 3.4). The pharmacy uses PharmaClick, so I was shown how it works, and how Kroll can communicate with it to place orders on low inventory (NAPRA 4.2.1; 4.2.2). The pharmacy team was also treated to pizza for meeting the flu shot quota which was a very nice surprise!

While on placement I witnessed the pharmacy ordering a narcotic from another pharmacy for an emergency supply for a blister pack I was creating (NAPRA 1.1.1; 4.2.3). I saw the pharmacist need to fax a doctor to clarify if there was a dosing error on a patient’s medication (NAPRA 1.2; 9.1.1; 9.2.2; 9.2.3). I heard a lot of patients requesting vacation supplies of their medications as it’s the time of year for many to travel. I heard the pharmacist explain to a patient that certain prescriptions expire so they can’t authorize refills without a visit to the doctor (NAPRA 1.1.1). There were a couple of patients who returned sharps to the pharmacy in special sharps containers as well (NAPRA 5.3; 9.1.1; 9.4.4). Also, patients continued to come in for flu shots from the pharmacists (NAPRA 5.2.2).

Overall, I kept very busy in the pharmacy, continued to learn and refine my skills (NAPRA 1.4.1; 1.4.2; 1.4.4; 1.4.5), seek guidance (NAPRA 1.4.3), and had the chance to see much of the theory taught in class come to life. I have gained some valuable experience!

My First Two Weeks on Community Placement

As a Pharmacy Technician student at Fleming College, I have now completed my first two weeks of placement at Loblaw Pharmacy, the busiest pharmacy in my hometown of Lindsay. The staff which consists of many pharmacy assistants, a Registered Pharmacy Technician (RPhT), who is also my supervisor, and several pharmacists, all work together to keep up with the busy demand of the pharmacy and to serve patients (NAPRA 8.1, 8.2, 8.3).

I have been able to witness the role of a pharmacist, through examples such as therapeutic counseling for patients picking up medications they haven’t used before, giving recommendations for over-the-counter products (NAPRA 8.4.1; 6.1.1), and adjusting a dose which seemed too high for a child’s weight (NAPRA 1.2; 9.2.2, 9.2.3). As well, the pharmacists at Loblaw Pharmacy have embraced their expanded scope of practice and are trained to administer flu shots (NAPRA 5.2.2). I have also seen the role of a RPhT, through my supervisor, who has been an excellent teacher to show me the various aspects of retail pharmacy. She juggles her responsibility of technically checking the many blister packs made each day, with teaching me, handling customers, filling prescriptions and blisters, and problem solving (NAPRA 8).

Upon my introduction to Loblaw Pharmacy, I was familiarized with how the drugs are organized by helping put away an order from McKesson (NAPRA 4.1.1), which also helped refresh my memory on drug names learned in my first year in the Pharmacy Technician program. I was able to see how some drugs are very similar in name which reminded me of sound-alike-look-alike drugs (SALADS) (NAPRA 9.2.2), and I became familiar with drugs that are placed on a fast-movers shelf near the filling work station for easy retrieval, both which were taught in class (NAPRA 4.1.1). I also put away drugs that arrived in coolers and needed to be refrigerated, as part of the cold chain (NAPRA 1.1;9.3.2). With the arrival of narcotics and controlled substances, I was able to see how they are shipped in a separately marked parcel with their own purchase order which must be carefully checked to see if all the ordered drugs were received (NAPRA 9.3.2;9.3.3). I was able to put narcotics away in the safe, and separately file the purchase order for them (NAPRA 4.3). Later, I further saw more laws practiced in regards to narcotics, such as narcotic prescription hardcopies being filed separately from regular prescription hardcopies, narcotics needing a double count and being filed with the Narcotics Monitoring System when being filled, and a customer being informed why they couldn’t transfer narcotics to the pharmacy (NAPRA 1.1).

I was able to select drugs and fill prescriptions using Kroll, however was introduced to a slightly different and updated version of Kroll than used in class, which uses barcode technology to scan in the drug selected before filling, to minimize errors in selecting the wrong drug (NAPRA 4.1.3). By filling prescriptions, I practiced verifying data (NAPRA 3.1.1; 3.1.5), selecting drugs off of the shelf (NAPRA 3.2.3), counting medications (NAPRA 3.2.4), owing patients, splitting labels, and selecting the right sized vial and snap caps if necessary (NAPRA 3.2.5; 3.2.6; 3.2.7). I also was introduced to a scale that barcode scans the drug selected, and determines how many pills are being weighed so there’s no need to count large quantities of pills (NAPRA 3.2.4). I was able to see how billing works (NAPRA 3.1.7), and the use of various drug plans including Ontario Drug Benefit (ODB).

I got to practice entering prescriptions (3.1.1; 3.1.2; 3.1.6), scanning hardcopies (NAPRA 4.3), choosing the generic in stock (NAPRA 3.2.1; 3.2.2), typing in the appropriate days supply with refills (NAPRA 3.1.5), and typing in the correct sig. I got to see that many prescriptions are faxed in (NAPRA 1.5.3), and how difficult some hand written ones can be to decipher (3.1.4).

Another important service Loblaw Pharmacy offers is blister packs, and I was taught how to make them, from selection of appropriate drugs to finished, packaged product to be checked, and I gained an appreciation for the time and effort that goes into meticulously creating blister packs for patients (NAPRA 3.2.).

Overall, I had a great first two weeks on placement, and have gotten to know a friendly pharmacy team who have accepted me and are open to teaching me and answering my questions so I can learn how to have a successful future career in pharmacy.