The Birth of Relief Buddy

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In my last post, I told you about my post-graduation experience and the difficulties I faced landing a full-time job. Today, the situation continues to worsen for pharmacists, particularly with the large influx of internationally trained pharmacists, which has supersaturated the market. Finding a job is still difficult, but finding a job that has a half-decent pay is even more challenging.

As a new grad, I worked part-time at a pharmacy where I completed my internship placement. I supplemented my hours by working relief shifts with various agencies, but my interactions with these relief agencies were as much an eye-opening as they were mind boggling. My first impression of the pharmacy workforce was tainted by these agencies and from this stemmed my ambition to change the way pharmacists found relief shifts.

Why was I bewildered by these relief agencies you might ask? It’s simple: They take too long to respond, don’t pay enough, and always make you travel so far just to get a decent wage. Finding shifts within the GTA, for example, was very rare and when they did pop up, they were posted at extremely low rates and were snatched very fast. I found myself playing phone tag back and forth with these agencies just to find out what shifts were available. Sometimes it took days or even weeks to find a shift.

This left me wondering “why is it that I have to go through these relief agencies in the first place? And why should I allow them to take such a hefty cut of my earnings? What services are they REALLY providing me with?” After all, I’m a graduate from a top, if not the top Pharmacy School in Canada and I’m licenced and qualified to work. I put my heart and soul into every minute I’m on the clock. Call me naive, but I expected more from the workforce.

It’s just not right for these agencies to exploit new grads when they are desperately looking to start and excel in their careers. These new pharmacists want to start making a reasonable income to pay back the huge debt they incurred from graduating from pharmacy school. It just is not fair to make these pharmacists travel all over the place just to make a bit of money here and there. There must be a better way!

In today’s age of technological advancement,  I figured there must be an app I could use, similar to Uber, which could use my location to instantly show me shifts that were closeby and also pay a decent rate. I spent days searching for a better tool to find relief shifts to no avail. How could this not exist?

Naturally, an app for relief shifts was needed, and from that moment Relief Buddy was born! We came up with a simple idea – tap a button, book a relief shift. Relief Buddy was created by pharmacists, for pharmacists – so we know exactly what challenges are facing the pharmacy community and are here to help.

Pharmacy owners can easily post shifts within seconds, even at the last minute.The best part is our app allows both pharmacy managers and pharmacists to choose their own rates, unlike traditional relief agencies that demand a certain hourly rate. Relief Buddy is free for pharmacy managers to use and post shifts, and there are no emergency fees so a shift can be posted even at the very last minute without extra fees.

Once a shift is posted, an instant notification is sent out to all registered pharmacists who fit the criteria for the shift. Pharmacists can change their preferences such as hourly rate and travel distance to ensure they only get notifications for shifts that interest them. Once they accept the shift, a notification is sent back to the pharmacy letting them know the shift has been confirmed. It’s as simple and easy as that. No delays, no unfair rates, and no unnecessary travel. It also holds pharmacists accountable for their work. After every shift, pharmacists are rated to ensure pharmacies are receiving top-quality pharmacists with good work ethic.

Relief buddy puts money back where it belongs: out of the pockets of traditional relief agencies, and into the pockets of hardworking pharmacists.

I’ve created not only a real-time solution to booking relief shifts, but also a hub where pharmacists can come together and share information and advice. Our platform serves as a way for pharmacists to ask each other for help and stay current with important pharmacy updates.

With Relief Buddy, if you have a question or need advice, ask a pharmacy colleague by posting a message in the forum. You can get an instant response from other users on the app. Can’t read a prescription? Snap a pic and get a second opinion from fellow pharmacists. I want to bring pharmacists together and foster learning and growth – all through the app!

Relief Buddy is our way of helping future generations of pharmacists to establish themselves in the workforce quickly and seamlessly, boosting their confidence in the process by giving them access to relief shifts instantly. I want to make it easy for pharmacists to pick up a shift at the time and place that fits their schedule. Whether you want to work close to home, or want to travel and explore, Relief Buddy puts YOU in control of your relief shifts. It’s simple and easy to use, just as it should be.

I encourage all pharmacy professionals to download the app when it becomes available end of summer 2016. Networking is more fun with more users, so give it a try. Let’s unite the profession and come together to share the wealth of passion and knowledge that we all have kindled away. Whether you want to book relief shifts or just want to join the pharmacy knowledge-sharing hub, Relief Buddy won’t disappoint you. Join us on our mission! Go to www.reliefbuddy.ca and signup!

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