by Reynald Marx, pharmacist, pharmacy manager, BSPharm.
Working during the time of COVID-19 was very interesting and presented multiple phases to myself and the rest of the London Drugs pharmacy team.
The initial three weeks we saw an increase in patient volume creating long work hours for many of us amidst the expectations of patients and the challenge of keeping up with demand. In addition to this, I, and everyone in the pharmacy, had our own personal concerns regarding exposure to COVID-19 and the effect on our loved ones at home. For us, during this time we wanted to do things as efficiently as possible while working through a challenging three-week period.
Our pharmacy staff worked as best as possible to match the increase in volume. At our stores there were longer wait times than many of our customers were used to, however we were able to communicate with our patients and staff regarding this. Our staff also saw an increase in phone calls and questions coming in related to COVID-19 and seeking specific products including masks and hand sanitizers. Many pharmacy staff, not just at my location, all worked overtime to keep wait times as low as possible which lasted approximately three weeks.
The second phase brought a decrease in patients coming into the store, but this is where we started to see a larger percentage having prescriptions called in to stores by doctors and the use of the London Drugs pharmacy app. Our staff continued to meet the demand of our patients and maintained an open dialogue among our pharmacies and staff.
What remained the same is that people depended on pharmacists to get their medications even without a pandemic. The busy phase was the initial fear and worry of the pandemic where people were concerned about medication shortages. Once people settled into the new normal, we continued to be a resource for our patients and were available to them.
Once the pandemic is over we will still be needed by patients.
For the most part people were very understanding of what was happening and could recognize the workload of what we were going through during this time. There were patients who thanked us for being open and for working for them. It assisted with our staff being able to feel they were able to handle the stress and volume during this time and provided a morale booster that our staff needed.
There were a number of my regular patients who gave me a pep talk while we were in the middle of filling out their prescriptions. Having them tell me that we will get through this, it made me feel like this would not be forever and that what we are doing is important and matters. And for that I would like to thank those individuals for being supportive and understanding. It helped to make our jobs easier.
Reynald Marx BSc.Phm. is the London Drugs pharmacy manager at the Quadra-McKenzie location.