Block 4: The Story of How Faced I My Fears

I finished block 4! Yes, I am halfway done with rotations! I cannot even believe it! Today’s post as you probably already guessed is a story of facing my fears and perseverance.

Actually, all my blocks are but, this block made me face one of my most irrational fears: the telephone. Yes, tease me now but just the thought of calling someone made my heart race. And not in excitement.

I never knew what to say. And then there were the awkward silences. I’m not that talkative in person. But put me on the phone and things start to snowball downhill even faster.

My phone conversations normally go a little something like this…

Me: Hello?

Some person on the phone: Hello.

Me: Hi…umm…how are you?

Some Person: I’m doing well and you?

Me: I’m fine. Umm… *more silence* so…

I know cringy. That’s why I’ve avoided phone for the past two and a half decades of my life. However, I wouldn’t be able to run for long. Especially at this new rotation and I knew that when I chose this rotation.

I spent my entire rotation on the phone. WHAT?!? Yes, my entire rotation with the exception of my bathroom breaks and lunch, of course. It was a whole new experience for me in block 4.

And not only was I on the phone, I was cold-calling! I know! Crazy! From day 2, I was calling patients. Just thrown into the fire because what better way to learn than experience, right? I was nervous. My heart was pounding. I checked my armpits to make sure I put on deodorant. I was in luck. I did not forget today. My apocrine glands were going to be working overtime.

I called my first patient with the lines I had rehearsed in my head 10 times. And they didn’t answer. I was disappointed and relieved at the same time. Then, I realized I had to leave a message. What was I going to say? What did I hear the other pharmacists say on their messages?

“Hi, I’m Shika calling from Best Pharmacy about your prescription from Dr. Amazing. Please give us a call back at 111-111-1111. Thank you. Have a good one!”

Wooh! I survived that one. Eventually, some one answered my call and I had to speak. There was the challenge of multi-tasking through multiple different windows and talking at the same time. I trying to get drug interactions, allergies, counsel, ask questions about disease states, etc. It was a lot for day 2. But eventually, I became somewhat of a pro (okay, competent).

And when I became competent, the pharmacy migrated to a new system. I had to learn something different. It was intimidating and there was way more clicking to do. But the system was a little more straight-forward. I survived.

And I’m here today with a new confidence in talking on the phone. I even called my bank representative to talk on the phone the other day to talk instead of googling.

I’ve entered a whole new world. I’m a brand new Shika. I can cold call people now. I’ve had a lot of experience counseling people now, especially on injectable medications.

Yes, I still had some awkward moments on the phone. There were times where phone signals was absolutely horrible. I could tell both the patient and I were frustrated with repeating ourselves.

Yes, there were times I got hung up on because people thought I was spamming them. But, every call where the patients were truly grateful for the information that they got made it worth it.

I was definitely able to grow during block 4. And for that I’m grateful. Today, I started block 5. I’ll let you all know how that goes later.

Thanks for reading my rant,

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Shika Tamaklo is a pharmacist who graduated from Mercer University (2020). She is a college lifestyle blogger who writes on fitness, health, life struggles, creative side hustles and, occasionally dabbles in creative writing.

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