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How I Became a Pharmacist



During my freshman year in high school, my science teacher assigned us to interview people in the community about how they use science in their careers. Although I don’t remember most of the people I spoke with, I can tell you that I spent meaningful time with a local community pharmacist who changed my life.

What I saw was a man who loved his career and truly cared for his patients. In an instant, I knew that I wanted to become a pharmacist, and I never wavered from that goal throughout high school.

Knowing what you want to be when you grow up at age 14 is unusual, but it is very liberating. I simply had to work backwards to figure out how to achieve my goal of becoming a pharmacist.

After high school, I chose to attend Ohio Northern University (ONU) because it had a unique pharmacy program. Rather than attending college for 2 years and then applying to the pharmacy program, ONU students were admitted to the College of Pharmacy from day one.

Although it was expensive, being in pharmacy school from day one and avoiding the risk of rejection made it worthwhile for me.

In college, I spent a lot of time in the library. Although the classwork was difficult, I did well with one exception: organic chemistry.

I did fail organic chemistry—a notorious “weed out” course—but I successfully retook the class over the summer and graduated on time with the rest of my classmates. Failing a course is a difficult stumbling block, but I stood strong and persevered.

Today, I’m thankful for the wonderful pharmacy profession for so many reasons.

First, I’m thankful that community pharmacists are the health care professionals most accessible to the public. If my local pharmacist wasn’t accessible to me, then I likely would have taken a different career path.

Second, I’m proud of the work we pharmacists do, the diversity of our career options, and the relationships we share with our patients and fellow health care providers.

Pharmacy is a profession that makes a real difference in people’s lives. It certainly has made all the difference in mine.


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Old 06-19-2019   #1741
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This Patient Is Not A Breath Of Fresh Air

Bizarre, California, Medical Office, Patients, Rocklin, USA | Healthy | June 18, 2018


(I work at a large, multi-specialty medical office. Access to the back office is restricted, so patients are guided to their rooms by me or by another nurse after they check in. After their appointment, there are signs showing the patients the way out, but unsurprisingly, many ignore them and get lost. My coworker finds a woman wandering the halls.)

Coworker: “Were you looking for the exit? Let me show you the way.”

Woman: “No, I… I’m here to see the pulmonologist.”

(It turns out the woman had never actually checked in, and had just followed another patient into the back office when they were called back! My coworkers and I wondered if she thought she was just going to stumble upon the pulmonologist waiting for her in one of the rooms!)
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Old 06-19-2019   #1742
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Hopefully That’s The Exception And Not The Rule

Extra Stupid, Hospital, Patients, Pennsylvania, Revolting, Rude & Risque, USA | Healthy | June 18, 2018


(I work the night shift in an ER as a doctor.)

Me: “You say you have something stuck up your rectum?”

Patient: “Yep. It’s a flexible rubber ruler.”

Me: “How did it get there?”

Patient: “I intentionally put it there.”

(I’m little surprised, because usually in cases like this they try to make it seem like it happened by accident when it very obviously didn’t.)

Me: “Why did you put it there?”

Patient: “I wanted to see how far it goes. Apparently, it’s deeper than a foot.”

Me: “Okay… Well, we’ll see about having that removed.”

Patient: “Can I have it back when it’s out? My son needs it for school.”

(I feel really bad for that guy’s son.)
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Old 06-19-2019   #1743
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Third-Degree Burns, First-Degree Idiot

Extra Stupid, Florida, Health & Body, Hotel, USA | Healthy | June 17, 2018


(I’m working the evening shift at a hotel with the owner one evening when a young couple, who checked in earlier, approaches the desk.)

Young Man: “Would it be possible to get a slice of cheesecake and some matches for a candle? We’re celebrating her birthday today.”

Me: “Sure thing, and happy birthday to you.”

(I prepare the cheesecake and grab some matches, and they then go to their room. About five minutes later, they come back with his arm wrapped in a shirt.)

Young Woman: “We need directions to the nearest hospital. He has burned his arm. There is also a little bit of smoke in the room, currently.”

(The owner gives them directions to the local hospital and sends me up to check on everything. When I get to the floor, I see some smoke in the hallway. Then, I open the door to find the room is barely visible due to there being so much smoke in the room. I go get the owner as the fire alarm starts to go off. Everyone evacuates the building and the fire department shows up as we are trying to clear all the smoke out.)

Me: “All this from one candle? What did they do, drop the cake?”

Owner: “Actually, it turns out the ‘candles’ they were using were actually sparklers. Not a good idea in a small room.”

(We found out later he had to be taken to a burn hospital and treated for third-degree burns.)
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Old 06-19-2019   #1744
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Might Have To Come Back Anyway For Stress

Delivery, Hospital, Ignoring & Inattentive, USA | Healthy | June 16, 2018


(I work at the main information desk of a hospital. A fast-food delivery man comes inside with a bag of food.)

Delivery Man: “Is this the front desk?”

Me: “Yes, it is!”

Delivery Man: “Great. I’ve got an order for [Customer]. Their instructions said to meet them at the front desk, and they just got a text saying I’m here. I’m going to wait for them to come down, okay?”

Me: “That’s fine.”

(Several minutes go by. No one comes down. The delivery man begins to get irritated.)

Delivery Man: “You’re sure this is the front desk?”

Me: “Yes, sir. There are other desks in [departments], but this is the main, front information desk.”

Delivery Man: “Well, why isn’t [Customer] here?!”

Me: “I’m sorry, sir. I don’t know. Do you know if they’re a patient or a visitor?”

(The delivery man is now on his phone and not paying attention to me.)

Delivery Man: “I just don’t understand! My instructions say to meet [Name] at the front desk of [Brand] Inn!”

Me: “I’m sorry, did you say the [Brand] Inn?”

Delivery Man: “Yeah.”

Me: “That’s a hotel.”

Delivery Man: “Yeah.”

Me: “This is a hospital.”

(He looks around, apparently noticing the “TO EMERGENCY ROOM” sign, the pharmacy, and the several rows of wheelchairs around my desk for the very first time.)

Delivery Man: “CRAP!”

(He runs out of the lobby, leaving the drinks from the meal behind. He returns about five minutes later, grabs them, and runs out without saying anything. About two hours later, he returns with another order.)

Delivery Man: *sheepishly* “I’m in the right place this time. I checked.”

Me: “That’s good!”

Delivery Man: “Is [Man] here?”

(I look around. There are no men in the lobby.)

Me: “Sorry, I guess not.”

Delivery Man: “What?! My instructions say [Man] is waiting in the Women and Infants Services lobby! He’s supposed to already be here!”

Me: “Well… The Women and Infants Services lobby is down that hallway to the right, actually. This is the front lobby—”

Delivery Man: “So I’m in the wrong spot again?”

Me: “Well, the wrong department—”

Delivery Man: “G**d*** it! I thought this job would be easy!”

(He stormed out of the lobby and stomped off to the correct department. At least this time he remembered his drinks!)
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Old 06-19-2019   #1745
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Don’t Even Start With Me

(I work in IT for a medical laboratory, and part of my job is to troubleshoot connections between medical devices and our software. The medical devices themselves are not ours to manage, however. I get this call one morning

Lab Tech: “Hi, my machine is not working. Could you help me, please?”

Me: “Sure! What device, and what seems to be wrong?”

Lab Tech: “It’s [Device], and I don’t know; it’s just doing nothing.”

Me: “Okay, let me check.”

(I see nothing wrong with my monitoring. However, our connectors have a tendency to need regular reboots, as they’re quite old and tend to give us trouble, so I’m expecting it to be something wrong with our equipment.)

Me: “Can you please reboot the connector? The one behind your machine.”

Lab Tech: “Sure, give me a sec.”

(My monitoring starts showing its usual shutdown and boot-up messages.)

Me: “Okay, looks good. Can you try the device again?”

Lab Tech: “Nope, still nothing.”

(I try every trick in the book to get the device to work, including having her reboot the medical device itself, which is kind of a last solution, since they’re not ours to troubleshoot. Nothing ever seems wrong on my end, but the lab tech still says it’s not working. This goes on for FIVE HOURS! I’m way past desperation point, when I ask her to walk me through every step of her process to see where exactly it hangs.)

Lab Tech: “Well, I put my samples in the tray…” *pause*

Me: “Yes, and then?”

Lab Tech: “Well, that’s supposed to be it…” *pause* “Oh, wait… I didn’t press the start button.” *pause, then my monitoring starts flooding with orders* “Now it’s working.”

Me: *screaming internally but somehow managing to keep my cool* “Well, there you go. Have a nice day.” *hangs up
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Old 06-19-2019   #1746
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Weak In The Knees

Australia, Doctors, Medical Office, Patients, Perth, Western Australia | Healthy | June 14, 2018


(I have gone to my general practitioner to get a referral to a specialist for endometriosis. My regular GP is a middle-aged, Singaporean man, but I don’t mind having male doctors for female issues.)

Me: “I’m seeing [Specialist] for endometriosis, and I need a referral.”

GP: “You realise that you’ll have to have surgery to know for sure?”

Me: “Yes, I have a family history.”

GP: “Okay, I just have to make sure that you have a reason to go. Do you have painful periods?”

Me: “Yes, definitely.”

GP: “So, it hurts in your abdomen region? Is it cramping, or other pain?”

Me: “Actually, my knees hurt.”

GP: “Come again?”

Me: “I get pain from my knees up during my period. But it’s worst in my knees.”

GP: “Really?” *chuckles* “All right, just give me a minute to write that referral.”

(I honestly hadn’t realised how weird it was, before that. I did end up having endometriosis — it turned out the knee pain was nerve damage from that.)
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Old 06-19-2019   #1747
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In-Law Practices Out-Law Medicine

Australia, Bad Behavior, home, In-Laws, New South Wales, Sydney | Healthy | June 13, 2018


(My sister is a recent medicine graduate, and is now a doctor. My mother-in-law finds out that she’s practicing.)

Mother-In-Law: “Oh, your sister is practicing now? So ,that means she writes prescriptions?”

Me: “Well, yeah, I would think she does?”

Mother-In-Law: “Oh, you have to get her to write me a prescription for this ADHD medication that makes you lose weight like crazy!”

Me: “Well, you’re welcome to go and see her and ask for it, but I don’t think she’ll give it to you. Why would you want it, anyway?”

Mother-In-Law: “I want to lose a few kilos before summer this year.”

Me: “Well… No. I think that medication is for people whose weight is putting their health in danger.”

Mother-In-Law: “Can’t you just get her to write me one? I don’t want to go and see her.”

Me: “Um… No, I think that’s illegal.”

Mother-In-Law: “Well, then, can you get me a prescription for Xanax? I’m super stressed.”

Me: “No.”
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Old 06-19-2019   #1748
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An Ambulatory Emergency

Emergency Room, Jerk, Patients, USA | Healthy | June 12, 2018


(I’m working at the window as a tech in the ER. It’s three am, but pretty busy, and the wait times are very long because we only staff half a dozen nurses and only one doctor at this time. A very impatient woman with a headache comes up to the window several times demanding to know how much longer it will be. Being an ER and not an urgent clinic, we see patients based on how likely they are to die in the waiting room, and we have seen her twice in the last week for her headache, so she has to get in line behind ambulances with broken bones and heart attacks.)

Patient: “How much longer is it going to be?!”

Me: “I’m so sorry, ma’am. Unfortunately, we’ve been getting many ambulances with critical patients in tonight, so it’s going to be a while before you can be seen. We cannot give out exact wait times, as we never know what kind of emergencies we will receive in the interim.”

Patient: “Well, if I go outside and call an ambulance, will it get me seen sooner?”

Me: “Well, no… the charge nurse would have you sent right back here to the triage area. Then we would be calling the police. Calling an ambulance from outside an ER for a medical emergency is against the law and they could arrest you.”

(She walked away from the window in a huff and waited another hour to be seen for the headache she should have seen a primary doctor for after her first visit a week ago. Our doctor gave her no more pain medicine, just a referral identical to two others she had gotten in our ER.)
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Old 06-19-2019   #1749
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Taking A Knee To The Wallet

Billing, Doctor/Physician, Hospital, New York, USA | Healthy | June 11, 2018


(I work for a Spanish company in Madrid. The company’s CFO and I fly to New York for ten days for several business meetings. After arriving in New York, I trip and injure my knee. As we have the first business meeting that afternoon, I just bite through the pain, and go to the meeting. After the meeting, in conversation with my CFO

CFO: “[My Name], is your knee still hurting? You were awfully quiet the entire meeting.”

Me: “Yep, still hurts. I’ll put some ice on it when we get to the hotel after dinner to see if it helps.”

(The next morning my knee still hurts, and now it’s swollen. My CFO insists that I go to the hospital, and takes me to the emergency room. I am seen in less than half an hour by a doctor.)

Doctor: “So, what’s wrong?”

Me: “I tripped yesterday and hurt my knee. I had ice on it the entire evening, but it didn’t get better. It’s slightly swollen.”

Doctor: “All right, and does it hurt?”

Me: “Yes, it does.”

Doctor: “Okay. Let’s take an x-ray, and I’ll give you some medicine for the pain.”

(The x-ray is taken. I receive my medicine and wait for the doctor to come see me again.)

Doctor: “All right, it seems you did fall pretty bad. You did some serious damage to your knee, and will definitely need surgery, sooner rather than later. We can do it here if you’d like.”

(As my CFO is there with me, I quickly speak to him.)

Me: “[CFO], I have no idea how much this is going to cost. I can pay this x-ray; however, I’m not sure about the surgery and hospital stay.”

CFO: “[My Name], don’t worry. It happened on a business trip; the company will pay for everything.”

Me: “Thank you! [Doctor], I’d like to do the surgery, then.”

Doctor: “Okay, perfect. I cannot do it today, but wait in the waiting room and I’ll send someone to tell you when we will be available within the next few days.”

(We both go and sit in the waiting room and wait for almost one hour, before someone in a suit shows up.)

Billing Guy: “Hello, my name is [Billing Guy], and I am from the billing department. Since you are a foreign citizen and have no insurance, we need to go over the costs first. First of all, I expedited the billing of your ER visit, and the x-ray and medicine you had costs [amount slightly under $1,300], which you have to pay before we can even think about scheduling the surgery. The surgery itself will require you to stay in the hospital for a while, and will be significantly more expensive. We cannot tell you how much it will be, as it varies; however, if you want to play it on the safe side you can expect something between $25,000 and $30,000.”

CFO: *suddenly awake* “Okay, the $1,300 I can pay right now. The surgery should not be a problem, as well; however, I need to call HQ to let them know.”

Billing Guy: “Should? All right, I will have to speak to my boss. Leave me your contact details, go back to your hotel, and I will call you the latest tomorrow morning so we can work out the details.”

(Two days pass, with no word whatsoever. Suddenly, in the middle of our next meeting my CFO gets a call and excuses himself from the meeting. He’s gone for almost half an hour. When he comes back

CFO: “[My Name], they refused to do the surgery, as they couldn’t be sure we would pay. I told them we already paid the ER visit with no problems whatsoever, but it wasn’t enough for them. They said our company’s finance department could afterwards simply refuse to pay. I told him I was the CFO and would guarantee payment, but that wasn’t enough for them.”

Me: “Okay, I can work this way for another week, and I’ll just go to the hospital back in Madrid.”

CFO: “No, you can’t. I already called the airline; they changed both our flights. We fly back this evening, and [CEO] is on the phone with a doctor friend of his who works at [Public Hospital] to make sure they’re ready for you as soon as you arrive.”

Me: “And the meetings?”

CFO: “We’ll reschedule; don’t worry.”

(The next day we flew back home, and my wife met me at the airport and drove me to the hospital where they were waiting for me. They immediately took an x-ray, confirmed I indeed needed immediate surgery, and simply did it. Including fuel money, surgery, medicine, and hospital stay, it didn’t cost more than a lunch for two. I now appreciate our Public Health Care system; even though it sometimes is slow, it is either free or inexpensive. Kudos to you Americans for being able to live with that health care system of yours without insurance. I am not sure I would be able to do it.)
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Looking For An Opening

Atlanta, Crazy Requests, Georgia, Jerk, Medical Office, Patients, USA | Healthy | June 10, 2018


(I work for a doctor’s office that will work some Saturdays. However, on the Saturdays that we are open, only one doctor, the dermatologist, is there. The phones go straight to the answering service because we do not have the majority of the front office working. I am working phones this day. A patient calls in on February 4th.)

Patient: “Was [Doctor] working on January 23rd?”

Me: *after checking schedule* “Yes, ma’am, he was here that Saturday.”

Patient: “I tried to call and didn’t get an answer.”

Me: “Yes, ma’am, our phones are never open on Saturdays.”

Patient: “Why didn’t someone call to tell me he was open?!”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Patient: “There was a threat of snow!” *which didn’t happen* “No one called me and we—” *her and her two daughters* “—missed our appointments!”

Me: “We have a system in place where we call the patients if the office is closing due to inclement weather, but we remained open.”

Patient: “HALF OF ATLANTA WAS CLOSED; WHY DIDN’T YOU CALL?!”

Me: “Because we remained open, ma’am. Would you like to reschedule your appointments?”

Patient: “What are you going to do about this?”

Me: “I can reschedule your appointments, but there is not much else I can do.”

Patient: “You aren’t going to tell the doctor? Don’t you think he would want to know?”

(This eventually had to be transferred to my manager, who informed her the doctor was quite aware he remained open and even though “HALF OF ATLANTA” was apparently closed, the other half was not.)
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