I had now worked a full three weeks in the hospital pharmacy and till now it had been a tiring but rewarding experience.
However, for now, I sure will not want to be going to the hospital to see a doctor because it was swamped with more people than I think it can manage. As a consequence, for a lot of patients, the trip to the hospital is a stressful and harrowing experience. Sometimes I chatted with random people while waiting for the lifts and in the hallway, and the topic will always be how it is so hard to find a parking space at all in the hospital compound, and how long they had to wait, first to see the doctor, and then to get their meds from the pharmacy.
In the outpatient pharmacy, the patients lining up were so long that I think they need to wait at least 1 hour to get their meds from the time they put the script in, even though our client charter stipulated that everyone will be serve within 30 minutes. The situation was so bad that pharmacists from other departments were deployed here for the whole week and there were a few instances of bad-tempered people letting off their steam with loud verbal abuses. I quite emphasize with their predicament, but there is simply nothing much that I can do. I can increase the speed I assemble the meds, but that will simply increase the chance of mistakes. In terms of meds, I do think accuracy is more important.
What can be hoped now is that the economic recession will go away as soon as possible. Everyone said that the best job now is in the government sector because of its stability, but we do feel the pinch in terms of increased workload. One of the accident and emergency hospital told me that the number of patients she saw this year easily tripled the number last year as more and more people can’t afford to go to private clinics now.
Anyway, on the bright side of things, my speed of assembling meds had gone up a notch. I can do around 100 scripts per day now, instead of the 50ish when I first started (yeah we need to record how many we did). mistakes were kept down to 1-2 per day. I also spend some time at the front counters everyday, telling patients how adn when to take their meds and give them some reminders, especially for dangerous drugs like warfarin. There is simply no time to talk about side effects, and probably the culture here is still what you don’t know wouldn’t kill you.
I did three patient counselling in the hospital counselling room last week. The first one was using an insulin pen and a pharmacist was observing me, so it was kind of a nervy experience. But the next two were all done by myself (I guessed I passed lol) and the very first person I counselled by myself turned up to be one of a past director of the hospital, a Datuk and Doctor nonetheless. I taught him how to use a Turbohaler. The pharmacist assistant was like: do you know who that is? when I came out of the room. The main problem I think is my Bahasa Malaysia fluency. Still need some brush-ups.
Anyway, next week will be my final week in outpatient for now. My next posting will be in the Radiotherapy Unit. No idea what I will do there, but I heard that it is far more relaxing than out-patient..