Hoverboard

Allison Dellinger

Pharmacist-At-Large

"It's all about communication," I tell my husband. He's not a pharmacist, but very patiently listens to my grandiose visions of how health care should be. "People think that how they're living their lives works for them. Unless they really understand what's going on with their health and medicine, they're not going to want to make any changes. They really need somebody who's willing to communicate with them on their level, and who can take a few minutes to listen to them.

"And it's important on the other side of the prescription pad too. Pharmacists can be a resource for prescribers and really help them to tailor drug therapy to their patients, and make sure everyone is on the same page about the medication. It's been so rewarding to work with doctors who capitalize on what the pharmacists can offer, but so frustrating to see pharmacists who have met with too much resistance from prescribers to even make suggestions."

My husband nods. He's been my open ear during my rotations, and has heard the good stories - where the pharmacists intervened in an important way for the patients - and the bad - where memos to doctors remained taped, unread, to the front of a patient's chart the whole five weeks I was on rotation.

While I was a student, I respected the way things operated in the pharmacies I spent time in. I learned a lot, both about drugs and about how I want to practice pharmacy. Now that I am a pharmacist, I am eager to put my ideas into action.

I am passionate about creating a pharmacy environment that handles patients with respect and dignity. This is why I approach patient conflict with a constructive attitude. An angry patient at my counter or in my office will find me willing to say, "I recognize that something is wrong with your care and you are upset. Let's work together to try to solve the problem."

I also recognize that while efficient performance is vital in the high-volume worlds of pharmacy, whether hospital, community or clinical, pharmacists must take the necessary time for patients to understand their care. While teaching a patient-oriented class on cardiac medicine for the elderly at a rehabilitation hospital, I realized that it's hard for many providers to communicate with this age group. Some elderly patients are very well-informed, but others are less informed and more resistant to learning, or simply hard of hearing. It takes patience, and sometimes just plain persistent stubbornness, to communicate with these patients. When I'd finish my class and answer the patients' questions, and they'd thank me for explaining things so clearly, I felt a lot of pride and satisfaction. I knew that this was something I was good at.

Interpersonal communication with my coworkers in the pharmacy was a weak point of mine when I first became a pharmacy technician. I tried to be distant and professional at work, and came across as cold. As I gained more experience, I learned how to open up to people at work and maintain friendly working relationships, while still trying to remain distant from the drama and gossip that sometimes poison a work environment. Pharmacy staff are generally tight-knit families, and I have learned to be a contributing and valuable member of them.

I recently graduated from MCV/VCU School of Pharmacy, am currently seeking a job as a pharmacist around Grove City, PA, just north of Pittsburgh. Meanwhile, I'm studying for the NAPLEX/MPJE and designing a pharmacy-based computer game. I enjoy going for walks in the park, reading (especially science fiction/fantasy,) and doing creative writing. We are moving to Grove City from Richmond soon, and I'm looking forward to exploring the opportunities available to me as a pharmacist there! I can be contacted at klingam@vcu.edu for a resume, CV, and references.

Latest Post

Life (6/17/13)

A family member passed away this past week, so life, including pharmacy, has been put on hold for the past bit. We are also packing up our apartment for the move to Pennsylvania, and I am studying in anticipation of receiving my ATT (authorization to test) for the boards.

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Projects

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Endorsements

Timeline

Pharmacy Intern

Wal-Mart Pharmacy, Warrenton, VA

I worked with the pharmacy technicians and intern to help our high-volume pharmacy run smoothly. I helped counsel patients with OTC medication selection. I worked with patients and insurance company representatives to resolve issues and make sure patients' medications were covered when possible. I assisted patients at Drop Off and Pick Up counters.

I contacted the Board of Pharmacy to clarify legal issues, and spoke with a local doctor's office about our electronic prescription reception. I contacted doctor's offices over the phone to resolve prescription problems, clarifying written prescription, confirming controlled prescriptions and asking for prescription changes.

At Wal-Mart, I learned more about the various pressures on a pharmacist at a high-volume store. I saw how different pharmacists dealt differently with "problem" patients, and how the best pharmacists resolved issues and provided excellent patient care while still working quickly and safely.

November 2008 - May 2013

Pharmacy Technician

CVS Pharmacy, Warrenton, VA

CVS was my first real exposure to a high-volume chain pharmacy. I helped patients at the Drop Off and Pick Up counters, assisted in locating OTC products, and counted and labeled prescriptions. I liked CVS's focus on meeting the customer's needs, but saw that only having one pharmacist on duty caused some tension during busy periods. Conflicts with my college classes meant that my time there was short.

July 2008 - November 2008

Receptionist

Marshall Manor Assisted Living Facility, Marshall, VA

At first just working as a night receptionist, answering phones, directing visitors and preventing patients with dementia from leaving through the front doors, I became more involved in the facility over time. I used Microsoft Office to edit and assemble new resident application packets, and organized and purged employee files. I had many positive interactions with the elderly residents and staff, as well as several challenges in dealing with patients with dementia in an understaffed facility.

November 2007 - July 2008

Pharmacy Technician

Marshall Pharmacy, Marshall, VA

At this small independent pharmacy, I started as a weekend cashier and underwent training to become a pharmacy technician. I helped customers find OTC products, took phone-in refill orders, counted tablets, and helped people to check out their orders. Here I learned that a pharmacist can be an important part of a community, and form a real relationship with the patients he or she sees.

June 2001 - July 2008