I work as a coverage pharmacist for an oncology clinic here in Texas. We have sites all over the state. This week, I’m working in Paris. Yes, there is a Paris, Texas. Actually, there are a lot of towns in Texas named after European cities. If you cannot afford to go to Europe, just come to Texas and buy a bus ticket.
It will be 2 years next month that I have been working as a coverage pharmacist. Many people first ask me what it is like to be a traveler, and then tell me that they can’t do my job. The truth is, I’m starting to think like them. Each site that I cover has its own personality, and its own way of doing things. I hate that I have to know so many different ways of doing the same tasks that is mandated throughout the entire company. I also have to deal with many different types of personalities from the staff, and with that, comes drama. I have not dealt with so many petty people before. Finally, the last minute schedule changes make it hard to make and keep plans, and have somewhat of a social life.
With that said, I DO love my job. I have met so many amazing people throughout the company. Like this week, the technician I’m working with took me around town and showed me the Eiffel Tower. I learn about different regimens used in different populations, and spread ideas that other sites have implemented successfully. For example, when I have my own site, I want to put cartoon stickers on the chemo infusion bags, so the adult patients can smile when they see the stickers. Getting chemotherapy is tough enough; such a small gesture makes a BIG difference. And yes, for the most part, I am appreciated for covering the site. Most of the pharmacists that I have covered know that their site is in good hands when I am there.
It is hard to be appreciated, and find joy in your job, especially in pharmacy. There are so many negative aspects that just beat a pharmacist down: irate customers/patients, phone ringing off the hook, impolite representatives from the physicians’ offices, insurance companies and reimbursement cuts, mountains and mountains of paperwork, being compliant with state and federal rules and regulations, mounting tasks from management (who are not pharmacists and really have no clue how the pharmacy is run), drug shortages, rising costs of medications, and so forth. So why are we in pharmacy in the first place?
Just remember WHY you got into your field, whether it be pharmacy or something else. Did you make someone smile today? Did you utilize your skills and make an important intervention? Did you pop some bubble wrap next to a nurse’s ear? Oh wait, I did that today. Remind yourself that it was YOU that did that: brought a smile to someone’s face, made a huge intervention, pop some bubble wrap, etc. Because of YOU, someone’s life got a little better and brighter. For that, you should be really proud of yourself.
I wonder if I can find some Texas style crepes …..