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    New mission statement for pharmacists

    David StanleyDavid Stanley

    I'm not exactly a corporate kinda guy, but there was a time in my life when I had a mission statement. Not when I worked for the chains, when my mission was simply to survive the pharmacy chaos until the end of the workday. My mission was in my writing, and it came to me very soon after I got behind the keyboard to tell whoever would listen what those workdays were like.

    The e-mails

    One after another people would write to me saying almost the same thing, some variation of “I thought I was the only one” or “I thought it was just my store.” I was surprised not by the content of these e-mails, but by their sheer number.

    I had assumed that it was common knowledge, at least among those of us behind the counter, what kinds of conditions came with a job in a retail pharmacy. It didn’t take long to learn that those above us on the corporate pyramid had an information advantage; too many of us at the patient level had no idea just how widespread the stress is that comes with ever-expanding workloads coupled with ever-shrinking staff and literally no margin of error.

    I made it my mission to change that. To spread the word that it wasn’t just your store, your district, or your chain. That the entire system of retail pharmacy was on the verge of collapse.

    Now, almost nine years later, I’m ready to declare that mission accomplished. I’ll take only a tiny fraction of the credit, but in the age of blogs and Facebook, text messages, and Twitter, you know that conditions behind the counter are brutal almost without exception.

    And your boss knows you know. The information advantage now resides with you.

    David Stanley, RPh
    David Stanley is a pharmacy owner, blogger, and professional writer in northern California. Contact him at [email protected]


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    • EddieMorales
      I agree with David Stanley. Even though a union may not be all it's cracked up to be, I have come to the conclusion that it is the only way to go after over seventeen years of futile attempts to have corporations do something about the terrible working conditions. I'm talking about CVS, Walgreens, Rite-Aid, Target, and WalMart. I'm licensed in NY, NJ, and CT. Approaching the Boards of Pharmacy has always been a waste of time. The NLRB in each state has also been a waste of time to deal with. When you think that legal avenues can take years to accomplish anything, if anything at all, when you can't trust the corporation, pharmacy supervisors, district managers, or regional managers to do anything to help, when you can't trust your corporation's Ethics Line, HR, or Open Door Policy, when a personal lawyer is too costly, when the NLRBs keep telling you there's not much they can do, the only option left is to unionize. I'm for unionization, and not just in one state, not in one chain, but in all states, and in all chains, all across America. That will get their attention.---Rogue Pharmacist, Eddie Morales, www.cvsworker.com, under Blogs and Venting.
    • Anonymous
      I would seriously consider joining a union or comparable entity. However, after observing the mismanagement of one union in my area, and the ineffective representation of the members of the other union, it would be a requirement, for me, that 1] the members of the union would have reasonable mechanism to replace union leadership or switch unions if necessary; 2] the process is fairly transparent; 3] significant safeguards are in place to protect the funds of the union from theft; 4] union functions are held at times (or multiple times) that allowed optimum participation of its membership (such as voting); 5] an effective mechanism exists to facilitate interaction between members and union management; and 6] union management would need to make it clear that they exist predominantly for the benefit of the membership...and that their personal success is dependent upon the success of the membership they represent.
    • Anonymous
      I worked a couple summers in a warehouse as a Teamster, saw some things that seemed a little like an abuse of the power of the union in various situations, but then again, I was glad for the decent wage I got. Having read this article above, I now wonder if he is correct and that pharmacist-unionization might be one of the few options left to help save retail pharmcy. Nice article Mr. Stanley. You've got me thinking...