February 3, 2008

Certified Nonsense

I am a Certified Pharmacy Technician. To retain my certification, every two years I have to amass twenty units of Continuing Education. I've started working on this--my certification comes due in a couple of months--and so far, this is what I have gathered up.

Newer Insights Into the Prevention of the Common Cold
The Practical and Regulatory Perspective of Bioequivalence
Contact Lens Solutions and Issues for Soft Contact Lenses
The Constipation Conundrum: What Now in Chronic Constipation and IBS-C?
Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Update on Medical Management and the Use of Probiotics

All well and good, and useful for maintaining a slightly higher salary. There's just one problem:


Here's what I will be doing tomorrow when I go to work.

Gather up refill orders and enter them into computer

Deal with complications from said refill orders: reordered too soon; insurance won't pay; insurance won't cover; insurance will make you stand on your head and/or dance a jig for a prior authorization

Hunt down delivery receipts from over the weekend for orders the nurses said didn't arrive, all the while knowing the orders bloody well DID GET THERE and they're brain-dead morons who can't actually be BOTHERED TO LOOK

Try to run someone's obscure insurance through the computer and make it pay; it won't; spend an hour on the telephone attempting to come up with the proper combination of letters and numbers that will make the claim go, all the while the customer is staring at you with beady fuming eyes

(Actually, there's a way out of this. Simply say you don't take their insurance and/or don't carry that drug--this is especially useful when someone calls up wanting 360 tablets of hydromorphone [a narcotic, and a suspicious-sounding number, to say the least]--and send them on their way. They don't know the difference, and you can get them out of your hair.)

Place a daily drug order, some for narcotics, some not. This is complicated by the fact that your parent company wants to save every penny it can--the CEO really needs his $17 million bonus, after all--therefore us peons have to order from the company's own distributor so it can get its kickba--er, rebates.

Price and put away earlier orders, and attempt to write up expired drugs from six months ago (since the cheap-ass parent company wants to keep its hub-and-spoke operations so lean and mean there's no employees to actually do anything).

Now. Does any of this have ANYTHING to do with the "Constipation Conundrum"?

I'm beginning to think the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board is the biggest scam going. Folks, I am NOT A FREAKING PHARMACIST. I do not counsel patients, monitor drug interactions, destroy outdated drugs, make patient-specific compounds, and give presentations to nursing homes. The pharmacists do all that--that's why they make the six-figure salaries. In my everyday working life, I do not need to know all the garbage the PTCB made me study to pass their test.

At the most, I need to read and write well, count to thirty without taking my shoes off, learn a particular company's computer program, know the shapes and colors of popular drugs, and decipher doctors' chicken-scratch handwriting (and usually the pharmacists and I brainstorm to figure out what it really means). Even if I'm one of the few who has to mix IVs, most of the time there are clear instructions on the bottle.

But I paid $120 to pass the PTCB test (and studied on my own for months beforehand--there are classes you can take to pass it, which is nothing more than additional money-wasting uselessness) and I have to pay $40 every two years to keep my certification. Jeez, I needed to get in on that pyramid scheme from the start. There is nothing I can do now that I couldn't have learned on the job, with no test at all.

But as long as state Boards of Pharmacy are blinded by the idea of C*E*R*T*I*F*I*C*A*T*I*O*N, this idiocy will continue.

1 comment:

the bewilderness said...

There are a number of certs and licenses in this state that have been reduced to a revenue gathering process. Follow the money and it becomes obvious what the purpose is.