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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 18 Hours Ago   #3961
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You’ll Stress-Knit A Whole Outfit At This Point

Doctor/Physician, Ignoring & Inattentive, Massachusetts, Medical Office, Psychiatrist, USA | Healthy | August 1, 2018


(I’m waiting to see my psychiatrist for a medication check-up. This office schedules meds appointments in fifteen-minute blocks; they’re a quick in-and-out to make sure the meds are working before the prescription is refilled. I arrive five minutes before my appointment and am told I’m seeing a new doctor. I’m a little annoyed that they didn’t tell me this when the appointment was being set up — my father works in the mental health field and I’m uncomfortable being seen by his coworkers — but whatever; maybe my regular doctor is out sick. So, I go to the waiting room. And wait. And wait. At twenty minutes past my appointment time — so, five minutes after it is supposed to be over — I hear the receptionists chatting. They say something about the new doctor having computer problems. Okay, stuff happens. Forty minutes past my appointment time, the person who is waiting before me gets into a shouting match with the receptionists about how late things are running. I’m frustrated too, but an extra person yelling won’t change anything, and I have plenty of time, so I keep waiting. Finally, fifty minutes after my scheduled time, a harried-looking man calls my name and introduces himself as the doctor. I’m expecting him to apologize for the delay, or offer an explanation, or anything. Nope. He doesn’t say a word until we get to his office. Now my appointment starts in earnest.)

Doctor: “So, do think you’re depressed?”

Me: *pause* “This appointment is literally to treat my diagnosed depression, so, um, yeah.”

(He doesn’t respond at all to this. He doesn’t even look at me. He has a walking desk, so he’s power-walking in place while he types on his computer. And he keeps typing. For almost ten minutes. I almost stand up and walk out. But I’ve already been here forever, I don’t want to have to do this all again, and I need my meds refilled. So, I take out my knitting and work on that for a bit.)

Doctor: “Do you want to keep taking [Medication #1 ] and [Medication #2]?”

Me: “Yes, please.”

(He types for a few more minutes.)

Doctor: “I’ve sent in the prescriptions for those. I’ll see you again in five months.”

Me: “Thank you.”

(I get up to leave.)

Doctor: “Wow! You’re so fast at knitting! What are you making?”

Me: “A sweater. Bye.”

(I was at that office for over an hour, but in the appointment for less than fifteen minutes. He said almost nothing to me, and half of what he did say was about knitting. And when I went to the pharmacy, only one of the prescriptions had actually been sent over!)
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No Spoonful Of Sugar Is Helping This Medicine Go Down

Bad Behavior, Florida, Jerk, Patients, Pharmacy, USA | Healthy | July 31, 2018


(When you come to pick up a prescription, I have to make sure it’s going to the right person or I get written up and, if I get written up enough times, lose my job. This particular pharmacy asks that we verify the address on file, but if they don’t know it, I’ll usually take some other manner of verification if necessary. It’s late, and there’s an hour and a half left to go of a seven-hour day, and all I want to do is go home, so I admit I’m a bit tired. A guy comes up who couldn’t be more than 22, I’d guess, and I smile and go to the register, asking him who he’s picking up for.)

Guy: “My girlfriend.”

Me: “Okay. What’s her name?”

Guy: “[First Name].”

(I need a last name in particular to search, and unfortunately most of the younger crowd usually never give their last name unless prompted. I have no idea why.)

Me: “What’s her last name?”

Guy: “[Last Name].”

(I go over to get it, which doesn’t take long, and return.)

Me: “And what’s her address, please?”

(He gives me this look like I’ve told him that the sky is green or that he’s standing on his head.)

Guy: “I’ve picked up before and they’ve never, ever asked me for her address before.”

(Then he clearly hasn’t picked up for her before at this pharmacy, because we always ask for the address. I say it so often that even when I’m doing things that don’t require it, I sometimes end up saying the words. Sometimes I end up asking them their address before I ask their name, before I can stop myself.)

Me: “Um… We always ask for the address.”

Guy: “No one has ever asked me before!”

Me: “Well, sometimes if you don’t know it, we’ll try another way to verify. Do you know it?”

Guy: “No!”

Me: “Okay, what’s her date of birth?”

(That, he knows. He tells that to me and I’m assured that I have the right person. A new law was passed in July that on certain types and classes of medicines, I now have to ask for a form of ID and enter it into the computer. What he’s picking up falls into that class.)

Me: “I need to see your ID, please.”

Guy: “Why?”

Me: “It’s the law as of the first of July. I have to have an ID.”

Guy: “Does that mean I have to get hers from the car?”

Me: “No, I need yours, since you’re picking it up.”

Guy: “But… does that mean I have to get hers?”

Me: “Um… No. I need yours.”

Guy: “I don’t have mine.”

Me: “Then she has to come in and pick it up.”

Guy: “Why can’t I just go get hers and give it to you?”

(Now I can understand his hesitancy. There’s a big storm that has been going on all day, but neither weather nor annoying teenagers are going to make me break the law.)

Me: “Because it’s her license. Whatever license I have has to be for the person picking up. It’s the law.”

(We go back and forth about this for another minute, to the point that my pharmacist has to come over and back me up, telling him that we have to follow all rules and regulations, and if it’s her license, it has be her. He finally goes out to get her and comes back in. I think this is a wonderful opportunity to do my job right now that she’s here.)

Me: “What’s your address?”

Girl: *throws her ID on the counter* “On file.”

Me: *blink*

(I’ve never had a customer refuse to give their address. Sometimes they’ll pretend to give me a hard time or forget some of the numbers, but I’ve never had someone give me a smart a** remark about it being “on file,” because most have the intelligence to realize that there’s a reason I’m asking for it and it’s most certainly not to hear myself talk. I want to keep my job.)

Me: “I’m sorry; we ask that for verification. If you don’t know yo—”

Girl: *interrupts snottily* “I know my address. It’s [address].”

(She picked up her license from the counter and proceeded to throw it again. I decided I’d had enough of dealing with the twat that was clearly just too lazy to come in and sent her boyfriend in for her, since I could see no legitimate reason for her not to come in besides the rain. And part of me wanted a little bit of revenge for these people half my age giving me a hard time, so I took my time, every bit of it that I could, prolonging the transaction just because they were antsy. As they left, she shot me a glare, snatched up her prescription, and then went to the industrial scale nearby that people use to measure weight and proceeded to jump up and down on it once or twice before leaving.)
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Suffering Bad Pet Owners

Bad Behavior, Laurel, Maryland, Pets & Animals, USA, Vet | Healthy | July 30, 2018


(I work the front desk in a highly recommended vet hospital that has both appointments with doctors and a walk-in emergency service. Emergency visits are always a trip. A young man walks in, carrying his dachshund mix. He tells me that his dog is having respiratory distress, so I take her back to see the doctor first before getting his information. It turns out that the dog has been having breathing troubles for two days. The doctor is not impressed with that info and, with client approval, takes some x-rays to see what might be going on internally. It’s cancer, a lot of cancer in all of the places. The dog is not comfortable outside of oxygen, so the vet goes to talk to the owner to explain that euthanasia is the only humane option. By this point, the owner’s father has come to join him and has brought his own dog. He is handling the dog very roughly and occasionally whacks the dog lightly with the end of the leash when he thinks the dog is misbehaving.)

Father: “Vets just want to take your money! Don’t worry, [Dog], they’re not going to see you. This is where dogs come to die.”

(He is making other clients uncomfortable, so I warn the ER doctor as she goes in to speak with them. The client is understandably shocked and upset, but the father is whole other matter.)

Father: “We’re not ready to put her down yet. Can you give us meds to keep her comfortable for another week?”

Vet: “Sir, she isn’t comfortable at all outside of oxygen. It would be against medical advice to take her out of oxygen and take her home.”

Father: “I’ll take her out of oxygen if I want to! It’s not like she’s suffering!”

(The vet was literally so angry she had to leave the room because yes, this dog was suffering! The father continued to be resistant, but the client agreed that it was in her best interest to euthanize her immediately, and handled the rest of the visit like a rational adult.)
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After Hours Is After You

Crazy Requests, Medical Office, Patients, Texas, USA | Healthy | July 29, 2018


(I work for a company that takes hospital calls and after-hours calls for doctor’s offices. The majority of our doctors DO NOT take certain type calls after office hours, and only specific doctors can be called. Some patients refuse to acknowledge that and only make themselves look the bigger fool. It is late on a Friday.)

Me: “Hello! You’ve reached [Service]; how can I help you this evening?”

Caller: “I need [Doctor] paged.”

Me: “All right, ma’am, [Doctor] is not on call; however, the on-call doctor will be taking the page.”

Caller: “No. I don’t want the on-call doctor; I want [Doctor].”

Me: “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I am unable to do that. It’s against policy to page doctors not on call.”

Caller: “I don’t care; I want [Doctor] paged now.”

Me: “All righty, ma’am, I’ll need this information.”

(I list off information needed and the caller interrupts.)

Caller: “Why do you need that information? You’re the doctor’s office; you should be able to look at the computer.”

Me: “Ma’am, I’m not the doctor’s office. I’m [Service]; I handle after-hours calls at a separate location.”

Caller: *huffily gives half the info needed*

Me: “I also need the reason you need to page the after-hours doctor.”

Caller: “I need my birth-control refilled. I ran out today and I need more.”

Me: *trying not to let the aggravation seep into my tone* “I’m sorry, ma’am, but I’m unable to page the doctor for this reason. Prescription refills are to be handled by the office on Monday when they open.”

Caller: “But this is an emergency!”

Me: “I apologize, but I am unable to send that page.”

Caller: “You’re the doctor’s office! You have to send it to the doctor! What am I supposed to do until then? Not have sex?”

Me: *just over her attitude* “Ma’am, the doctor’s policy is that prescription refills are to be handled by the office on Monday.”

Caller: *rains down a multitude of expletives before threatening to get me fired and hangs up*

(She STILL calls almost every other month with the same issue. Friendly reminder: if you see you have two days for ANY prescription, please, please, please call it in before then and don’t wait until after hours to get a refill!)
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A Crazy Lack Of Competence

Bad Behavior, Boston, Doctor/Physician, Hospital, Massachusetts, Nurses, USA | Healthy | July 27, 2018


(I’m Bipolar I and not medicated. We’ve tried a few different combinations of drugs for me, but unfortunately I either have side effects or it simply doesn’t help anything. While therapy has been helpful, it’s not perfect; I still need the occasional trip to a psychiatric hospital. For this particular incident, I am sent to a completely different hospital, which I later learn is more adequately equipped to handle patients seeking drug rehab. However, even that seems to be inaccurate, as I learn during my three-and-a-half day visit. On day one, a patient and the head of the wing are talking in a common area

Patient #1: “When do you think I can go home?”

Doctor #1: “Sunday. Your insurance lets us hold you another week.”

(For a little context, during a previous group session I had with [Patient #1], he mentioned he’s been here almost two weeks and the head of the group commented on how much progress he’s made. As my stay continues, it isn’t uncommon to overhear the nurses gossiping about how they can’t believe the doctors still won’t discharge [Patient #1]. Day two: one of the other patients is a new mother with apparently no thought filter. As a result, she frequently talks about how she has to pump if the subject even remotely drifts towards family or children. One of the other patients finally gets fed up with it and a fight nearly breaks out. Unlike the mother, the other patient is allowed to leave the wing to go have lunch in the cafeteria.)

Doctor #2: “Okay, [Patient #3], you just lost your cafeteria privilege for today.”

Me: “But doesn’t [Patient #2] have to stay up here, too?”

Doctor #2: “Of course.”

Me: “So, you’re going to lock them in the wing together when most of the staff is down in the cafeteria?”

Patient #1: “Besides, isn’t [Patient #3] getting discharged tomorrow?”

(After enough of us band together, the doctors finally agree the best thing they can do for both patients is to separate them. Also of note, a fourth patient is discharged at the end of day two, with a certain nurse helping her gather her things. On day three, though I’ve only had three or four sessions with her, I bid [Patient #3] farewell as she is gathering her things from the storage locker with the same nurse who assisted yesterday’s discharge. Just as I go to leave

Patient #3: “Where’s my backpack?”

Nurse #1: “Your what?”

Patient #3: “My backpack. I came in with a pink backpack from [Brand]. Where is it?”

Nurse #1: “We only had one like that. It was [Patient #4]’s, wasn’t it?”

Patient #3: “Wha?!”

Nurse #1: “She said that bag was hers. We gave it to her when she left last night.”

Patient #3: “YOU GAVE HER MY BACKPACK?!”

Nurse #1: “Sorry. We’ll call the police and report the theft.”

Patient 3: “WHAT THE F***’S THAT GOING TO DO? SHE’S BEEN GONE A DAY ALREADY! WHY DIDN’T ANY OF YOU NOTICE THE BAG WASN’T LABELLED FOR HER?” *begins crying*

Nurse #1: “Calm down! It’s just a backpack!”

Patient #3: “THAT BACKPACK HAD MY WALLET IN IT! WITH MY LICENSE AND SOCIAL SECURITY CARD! YOU LET HER STEAL MY IDENTITY!”

Nurse #1: “We can replace those things!”

Patient #3: “IT HAD THE ONLY PICTURE I HAVE OF ME WITH MY FATHER! YOU CAN’T REPLACE THAT! HE DIED AFTER I WAS BORN!”

Me: “Get the f****** police already, you dips***!”

(I didn’t know what else to do. The police do show up, though I have no idea how this story ends or if anything was done about [Nurse #1]. On day four — my release day — I’m sitting in the common area playing cards, waiting for my girlfriend to show up and drive me home. Needing a fourth for Hearts, one of the nurses agrees to join us.)

Nurse #2: “[My Name], you sure know how to pick ’em. Of all the weeks you could’ve shown up!”

Me: “I’m amazed, too.”

Nurse #2: “Yeah, but this ain’t even the worst of it. One patient last year always ran his mouth. ‘I’m in for bestiality!’ ‘I’m a member of the local KKK and they think this’ll cure me!’ and on and on. All cause he didn’t want to admit he tried to kill himself after his girlfriend broke up with him.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Nurse #2: “Yeah, he just kept making excuses to justify the cuts on his arms.”

Me: “You can’t tell us that! His medical records are still privileged!”

(I’ve never been back. I haven’t looked it up yet, because I’m truly frightened that it might still be open.)
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Might Actually Be Worth Getting Whooping Cough, Instead

Dublin, Ireland, Jerk, Medical Office, Reception | Healthy | July 27, 2018


(I’m midway through my pregnancy and have been putting off getting the whooping cough vaccine, so I call my doctor to schedule an appointment.)

Me: “Hi. I was wondering if I could book an appointment for the whooping cough vaccination?”

Receptionist: “What’s your name and date of birth?”

Me: “That’s [My Name] and [date].”

Receptionist: “It says here you’re 22 weeks.”

Me: “Yep.”

Receptionist: “Then, no, you can’t have an appointment.”

Me: “Um, right. Is there any reason why not?”

Receptionist: “The vaccine is only available from 26 weeks.”

Me: “Oh, right. I thought [Doctor] said I could get it from 16 weeks. I must have misheard. It’s okay, though, I can wait another four weeks.”

Receptionist: “Let me check with the doctor. Hold the line.”

(Pause.)

Receptionist: *sarcastically* “Well, I guess the doctor just knows more than me, huh? Clearly I’m just a receptionist, so I wouldn’t know anything. Apparently you can get it from 16 weeks.”

Me: “So, can I book an appointment?”

Receptionist: “At 11 on Monday.”

Me: “That’s perfect. Thank you.”

Receptionist: “The vaccine isn’t free, you know.”

(Most health care is free while pregnant in Ireland, but things like vaccines aren’t.)

Me: “Yep, that’s fine. I have no issue paying.”

Receptionist: “Good, because you have to pay. You’re not getting it free.”

Me: “I know.”

Receptionist: “Because it’s not free. You have to pay.”

Me: *Pause* “Is there anything else you need from me?”

Receptionist: “No, but when you come in for the appointment you have to pay.”

Me: “Okay, bye now.”
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Ugh… Mondays

Germany, Ignoring & Inattentive, Patients, Speech Therapy | Healthy | July 27, 2018


(I work as a speech therapist. While I mostly work with children, I have a handful of adult patients with brain damage. As most of them aren’t able to walk, I visit them at home. All of the patients have fixed appointments once or twice a week. After some recent changes, I end up with an awkward schedule — driving from one end of the town to the other, back and forth — that makes me lose about two hours a week due to driving. I plan to coordinate this better and ask all of my patients if they are okay with different times and/or dates. It works well with everyone at first. I talk to one of my patients, a senior citizen, whom I visit every Monday and Wednesday.)

Me: “I plan to change my weekly schedule. Would it be okay if we moved Monday’s sitting from 11:00 to 13:50?”

Patient: “Well, the physical therapist is there until 13:45, so it should be fine.”

(On the next Monday, I arrive at 13:55. The physical therapist is still with her.)

Me: “Oh, am I early? I am sorry. I thought you two would be done by now”

Physical Therapist: “Oh, no, we still have 15 minutes left. We always have until 14:10.”

Me: “I’m sorry; I didn’t know that. [Patient], we need to reschedule our Monday’s appointment.”

Patient: “Huh? Why? I thought it would be only once. I figured we could cut the therapy a bit shorter today and go back to normal next week.”

Me: “I’m afraid I can’t do that, as I already gave that time to another patient. I am so sorry that I didn’t make it clear that the change would be permanent. My schedule is packed, but what about Tuesday, 11 o’clock instead of Monday?”

Patient: “I am at the daycare on Tuesdays and Fridays”

Me: “That isn’t a problem for me. We have lots of patients in day care. I could visit you there, if that’s okay with you?”

Patient: “Yes, let’s do this.”

Me: “Okay, so now, instead of Monday, I will visit on Tuesdays every week.”

(With everything being clear, we start practicing. On Wednesday I visit her as always, reminding her of our new permanent appointment once again. The next Tuesday, I drive to the day care facility to find her completely surprised, but not by the fact that I showed up there today.)

Patient: “Where were you yesterday?”

Me: “We’ve moved the appointment from Monday to Tuesday. That’s why I’m here today.”

Patient: “Yes, we talked about you coming here on Tuesday, but I didn’t know that meant Monday would be cancelled.”

Me: “We have to have therapy twice a week, so instead of Monday and Wednesday, we now do Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Patient: “Ah, I see.”

(We go on normally. Everything works fine for two weeks, until I get stuck in traffic one Tuesday morning and don’t make it to her. I call her to let her know. The next day, I visit as usual.)

Patient: “Where were you on Monday? I thought you’d be here on Monday.”

(I start explaining again why I can’t come in on Mondays and how we moved it to Tuesday.)

Patient: “But I thought that would be only once. I didn’t know you wanted to come to the day care every week. Every time you come, I miss out on the games and quizzes we do there.”

Me: “I am sorry, but that’s why I asked you if it’s okay before I actually changed the plan. I don’t have many options left right now.”

(I feel bad for her, as I obviously didn’t explain it to her properly, so I explain it again and make extra sure she understood what happened. Finally, I offer to sacrifice one of my lunch breaks to make room for her.)

Me: “The only open appointment would be Thursday at 11:30.”

Patient: “No, that’s not possible, either. Can’t we do Monday, 11:00?”

Me: “As I already explained, I am on a huge tour and can’t be back before 13:30, which won’t work because of the physical therapy. Is there something else you do on Thursdays?”

Patient: “No, it’s just so inconvenient. Why can’t we do Monday?”

Me: “Because I asked you if we could change the time and date. If you had said no, I wouldn’t have changed anything. But I did, and your old appointment is no longer available. What would be a more convenient time for you?”

(Surprisingly, Monday at 11 was still the only time she was willing to agree, so I had to re-reschedule about ten patients, and now I’m back to my old awkward plan.)





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