On the job.
Linda C. Rock
Shattuck Pharmacy, Northboro
Native of: Southboro
Family: Married, son and daughter
Time in job: Pharmacist for 35 years, 21 years at Shattuck Pharmacy.
Why did you become a pharmacist?
"Back in high school, I had a disfiguring pimple just before the big dance. My mother got a prescription from Mel (family's pharmacist at the time) who said, `This would take care of it.' It was like magic - you could actually help someone and change their life."
What did your parents think when you told them you wanted to be a pharmacist?
"I think they were surprised I wanted to go to college."
What does a pharmacist do as part of the job description?
"Fill prescriptions. I input the prescription on our computer. I check for missing information, and still have to double-check. I call the doctor's office to see if the doctor changed the patient's dose. I enter the insurance information on the computer, and send information to third-party payers who send back the payment. I enter and dispense the right drug after I check for any potential interactions with other drugs the customer might be taking. I still hand count, and narcotics, I always count at least twice. Another important part of our jobs is all of us talk to people all the time - whether it is about their prescriptions or about their personal lives."
There are not too many independent pharmacies still doing business. How does Shattuck survive?
"I think it's because of the service, and there's always a pharmacist they know here. The price of a prescription is comparable to a chain. A lot of people have found we're less expensive and that's why they come here. Some drugs do cost more here, but generally people do not like to wait in line, and they don't have to here."
What surprises you the most about your job?
"People tend to call us when they don't know who else to call. Once I had a call to see if they could get food poisoning from a turkey meatloaf - they weren't sure if it was cooked. Sometimes we get people who are suicidal. Most often, we get calls from people who are afraid they might have a drug interaction going on or they're worried about a side effect from a drug. We wear a lot of hats."
How do you stay up to date with all the new drugs coming onto the market?
"I have to renew my license every two years, and every year I need to take 15 credits. And I attend conferences and belong to a number of professional associations."
What are some of the trends you see in the pharmacy business?
"The costs of drugs have gone out of sight. Sometimes it's just stunning the costs of the newer medications. The most expensive are the anti-psychotic drugs. I don't know how some people do it: The co-pays keep going higher and higher."
What type of responsibility does your job carry?
"There are a lot of lawsuits against pharmacists in this litigious society. They go after everyone: The doctor may have written the prescription wrong; why didn't the pharmacist question it. The big part is making sure drugs are safe."
"What is the worst part of your job?
"The worst part is dealing with insurance companies because there are just so many of them. I get frustrated with the new registration regulations and the paperwork is just brutal. Another difficult thing is when someone young and vibrant becomes terminal. Especially when we knew them when they were a kid. There are an awful lot of those people. Sometimes though, I get to know the person even better when they are terminal. It is interesting how a serious disease can change someone totally. They kind of let me into their lives - I feel it's an honor - but also a drain. I'm pulling for them every minute, but if the outcome is bad, that's devastating to me."
How do you stay healthy?
"I got the flu shots myself, and I use a lot of hand sanitizer. The flu season has not been bad. I think we dodged the H1N1 here."
What is the best part of your job?
"The people who come in and the people I work with. I really enjoy working here; Paul (Shattuck) is really good to us. There are about 10 employees, and three of us are pharmacists.
"Our clientele is mostly from town, but people come from all over: Westboro, Shrewsbury, Holden, West Boylston, Grafton. ...
"We used to have a lovely couple who even came down from Methuen. They used to live here."
Compiled by reporter Linda Bock
To be featured in or to suggest a job profile, send information to Dave Greenslit, Telegram & Gazette, Box 15012, Worcester, MA 01615-0012, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
CUTLINE: Pharmacist Linda C. Rock likes the customers who come into the Shattuck Pharmacy, Northboro - and also the people she works with.
PHOTOG: T&G Staff/DAN GOULD
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|Publication:||Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)|
|Date:||Mar 29, 2010|
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