As a Unit Dose sales rep with AvKARE, I have relationships with hundreds of pharmacy buyers across the southeastern US. Building relationships and getting to know my buyers is what I love most about my job! I love the ability to solve problems for my buyers, I love making their life easier, and I just love getting to know my buyers. Annette Griffin is one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met! She has worked at Atrium Health Union, a 157-bed acute care facility in Monroe, North Carolina, for 30 years! She enjoys going to the beach with her family and spending time with her granddaughter! Annette was kind enough to let me interview her to understand what a day in the life was like. Understanding what Annette does and what her workflow consists of helps me to understand how AvKARE can best serve the frontline staff that provides care to our community, our family and our friends. See our conversation below:

Leigh Ann: Hi, Annette, thanks for joining me today! To help our readers get to know you a little better, I have told them a little about you.. To dive into your daily life, what kind of hours/shifts do you work?

Annette: I work 1st shift 7:30 to 4:00 Monday through Friday and I put the order in from home on Sundays. I also work some holidays if I need to put an order in for the next day.

Leigh Ann: Wow, that’s a pretty busy schedule. What job title/certification do you hold?

Annette: I am a Certified Pharmacy Tech. (CPhT) and my title is Pharmacy Buyer.

Leigh Ann: Okay, great! Tell me what your typical day/week looks like? 

Annette: I start my morning off with the arrival of the daily order, ordering anything direct or from 503Bs that we need and working on Macro helix (340B software) and EPIC. I manage the drug info for ordering in the MedCarousel. I work on invoices that need to be paid, narcotic paperwork that needs to be reconciled, employee time cards, ConsortiEx (DSCSA compliance), drug recalls, drug returns and the daily order from McKesson and follow up on anything we might need before the order arrives the next day.

Leigh Ann: That sounds like a lot! Kudos for keeping it all straight! What systems/software/equipment do you use? 

Annette: I use McKesson Connect, CSOS, EPIC, Cerner, QS1, Emerald, Kronos, Omni Cell, ConsortiEx and Macro Helix daily. I also order drugs directly and use their ordering portals.

Leigh Ann: What do you love MOST about your job/hospital/team?

Annette: I love that my job is different every day. It is NEVER boring. I feel like I help make a difference in the health and wellbeing of our patients, maybe not directly, but I make sure they have the medication that they need. My teammates are part of my family. We all work together to get things done and take care of one another. I have been at Atrium for 30 years and have seen A LOT of changes. When I started working at this hospital we were very small but have grown exponentially in the last several years. The bigger we grow the more diverse we become and that means different drugs we have to keep on hand. It changes daily.

Leigh Ann: That is so amazing! I can imagine the pharmacy is never boring with the responsibilities you hold!! And I love what you said about your team! That is one thing I love about AvKARE.. We are one big family and though we are spread all across the US, we work in small groups and teams to make things easier for one another.  What is the most difficult/challenging part of your job? 

Annette: The most difficult would be keeping up with drug shortages and the ever changing 340B rules and regulations.

Leigh Ann: Believe me, we know about the headaches that come with drug shortages. We are working on several programs, like our Target Supply Program through R&S Northeast to reserve inventory as a back-up in case of a backorder situation.. We want to be the solution! And 340B is a beast of its own! We just recently had an educational Teams meeting on 340B.  What requirements for continuing education do you have each year? 

Annette: I have to have 20 hours of education a year to keep my certification. The hospital also requires yearly education on different topics.

Leigh Ann: Do you have a favorite continuing education? 

Annette: I have been fortunate enough to go to NPPA several times and love that I can talk with other buyers and trade secrets plus I get to see all the different companies and drug reps in one place. Atrium also has a Buyers Call every week and we talk over shortages and other hot topics. 

Leigh Ann: NPPA is such a great opportunity to connect with peers in the field! We swapped the in-person conference for a virtual one this year, but hopefully we’ll get back in a year or two. Are there any nuances about your hospital/health system I should take note of?

Annette: We are a 340B facility and that is a lot of my job now. 

Leigh Ann: And most importantly, what improvements can the pharmaceutical industry make to be more efficient/effective?

Annette: Less drug shortages and more drugs with Unit Dose packaging

Leigh Ann: AvKARE brought over 35 new unit dose drugs to market this year and we have many more coming in the pipeline! Be on the lookout! We’ll talk more about the Target Supply Program in the coming weeks! I want to thank you so much for your time today!! I am honored to get to know you better and to try and be the solution for your pharmacy!! Thank you for all your hard work, day in and day out, and thank you for letting our readers get to know you better!