• linkedin
  • Increase Font
  • Sharebar

    Recollections from a marked pharmacist

    Every now and then when I'm listening to the radio in the car and I hear a female singer lamenting something or other, I think to myself, “That girl is singing my song.” When I read your blog post titled “A dose of pharmacy truth: Report from the front lines,” I almost fell out of my chair, because you were singing my song. I have been that marked pharmacist, except I call it PTFD ([pharmacist targeted for destruction). I didn't coin that term until after I'd already been fired.

    This is my story:

    I started at a critical access hospital in a rural area about five years ago. Three years into my stint at Hospital X, the CEO of 28 years retired and was replaced by a new CEO with a reputation for slashing and burning. The CEO is best described as a hybrid between the store manager and the DM that you describe in your blog post, except that this guy had absolute power.

    Soon into his tenure, he had replaced, fired, or force-retired about 30% of the hospital staff, brought in his own people from his previous job, and required all remaining employees to sign a document stating that they support and agree to comply 100% with the decisions of the organization and to conform to its stipulated standards of behavior.

    The director of pharmacy, a non-PharmD with two kids in college and a long history of doing exactly what she was told, always and without regard to the welfare of patients, immediately signed it and was completely disgusted with me when I balked. My degree is a PharmD. None of the physicians were required to sign this document, which made me the only holder of a clinical doctorate at the hospital who would be required to sign this in order to keep their job. To me, there were approximately 100 reasons not to sign and only one reason to sign (keeping my job).

    I sent the document to my former law professor from pharmacy school for some advice, and he agreed with me that the document was an attempt by my employer to usurp the board of pharmacy's regulations as the employer saw fit, which is illegal.

    Kelly Howard, BS, PharmD, BCPS
    Kelly Howard is a blogger and freelance pharmacist in Southeastern North Carolina. Contact her at [email protected] or ...


    You must be signed in to leave a comment. Registering is fast and free!

    All comments must follow the ModernMedicine Network community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated. ModernMedicine reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part,in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

    • Anonymous
      After a few years working in the same shop, I came to realize the phenomenon of the 'marked pharmacist'. The facility where I worked was in a pharmacy college town, and it seemed, sometimes as if the pharmacy director had been tasked with finding work for pharmacist spouses or other ambitious plan that involved a year-round turnaround, targeting someone to leave, either on their own accord or by something 'made up' under which a pharmacist left under unfortunate circumstances. If no one was pregnant, anticipating a move, graduating, or moving on, then there was the anticipation of who might be found to be out of favor with management in some way and let the encirclement begin with snide remarks from the assistant manager, then the unforeseen schedule changes made by the head technician, private notes that just 'happened' to fall of the mailbox, promotion of the newest hired pharmacist to make decisions for the department without input from the one with the bulls-eye on their back, a few infringements on propriety here and there, significant programs installed without adequate notice, policies implemented without advance warning and the kangaroo court of pharmacists who insisted things could only properly be run their way, etc. etc. Yes, this is an example of "not mature(?) enough to understand the rules in playing the political game while also providing high quality care for patients". We pharmacists do have 'it' good, but why should we expected to play political games in providing for our patients based on our pharmaceutical knowledge. The worst part of dancing around in a political 'game' is that the patient suffers. Games-playing detracts from concentration and focus on the individual needing our full pharmacist attention; not worrying whether we've dotted this 'i' or crossed this 't' in the pharmacy department 'shenanigans'.
    • Anonymous
      Dr. Bombshell, you should not trust other pharmacists. The young ones are quite crafty, and want the elder pharmacists hours. They will underbid your rate, agree to two weeks vacation for ever etc. And watch your initials and the will call basket... tamper time is here.
    • Anonymous
      I am downright sick of reading about these poor souls that get marked by management and complain as if this is unique to pharmacy. As someone who is on their second profession, I attest to the fact that Pharmacists have it quite good compared to other professionals out there. They work reasonable hours and get compensated quite well. If you aren't mature enough to understand how to play the political game while also providing high quality care for your patients, then I do not feel sorry for you. If someone tells you to do something that is either wrong, or illegal, do not make an issue of it. Simply don't do it. This pharmacist grandstanded a known slasher. What did you really expect would happen?
    • Anonymous
      To Anonymous... You must have left pharmacy a long long time ago. If you think its better back in pharmacy, go for it, get back in! Three strikes and you will be out again. And if you are over fifty you already have a target on your back! lol. Get your head out of the sand.
    • Dr. Bombshell
      This is so sad!! We all get frustrated at work and vent with the people we think we can trust!!! I too have learnt the hard way that I cannot and will not ever trust anyone at my job!