That Is Not Your Job, Just Fill the Order!
Beth Lofgren, PharmD, BCPS, received her PharmD degree from the University of Tennessee at Memphis in 1999, after completing a BS at the University of Tennessee at Martin. She started her pharmacy career in retail and has practiced in home health, long-term care, and hospital pharmacy. She has also been blogging as the Blonde Pharmacist since 2004, focusing on education for peers and provider status for pharmacists.
Pharmacists do more than just filling orders. They are the second check and sometimes the ones to find issues overlooked.
How many times have we heard: “that is not your job to question me, just fill the order,” while we are questioning an order? Whether we are questioning an order based on unclear aspects or questioning an order based on just the order itself, there can be times where the prescriber is a little bit frustrated with questions. Why do prescribers act this way?
- Understand that the physician may not know the answer to your question. In order to not show that weakness, the prescriber may just unleash verbal insults to distract from the lack of knowledge. Rudeness is sometimes used to cover up vulnerability of lack of knowledge.
- The prescriber feels overwhelmed and distracted with all of the issues that come their way. They make the final decision in the orders given, and if you approach them with one more thing they may have missed, it may be the final straw to send them into a tailspin.
- Physicians are tired.
The bigger question is how in the world are we supposed to handle this type of behavior?
- Remaining calm and professional is the best advice in these situations. Do not resort to the same behavior.
- Ask the physician what is going on with the way he/she is treating you. Ask them is there something you can do different?
- Talk to your manager about it.
At the end of the day, the health of the patient is the driving force. If you are calling on behalf of a patient for their care, it makes sense to continue to ask. Even if the physician does not agree, keeping the patient’s health first is the top priority.
Verifying an order for correctness, clarity, and indications is actually our job as pharmacists, and learning how to do these functions with confidence is part of improving our value outside of traditional pharmacist roles.