Wednesday, May 4, 2011

"Why do you want to be a Pharmacist?"

I get that question ALL the time! And the true answer is….I HAVE NO IDEA!!! Please always expect some eloquent speech about why it’s important to me….but I DON’T HAVE ONE. I guess it was just a way for me to be financially independent and make good money and not have to depend on finding a financially secure man to take care of me (not to say that isn’t a huge plus!) People always look at me crazy when I say I have no real reason. The most annoying is when other pharmacists ask me that in the whole “my life is so horrible, why would you do this to yourself” way. Then when I have no answer they tell me I’m crazy. Nice. 9 years of education and you people are trying to make me feel like it was a waste of my time….really? At least almost as often as I come across these negative people, I come across the people who applaud me on my career choice and tell me what a bright future I have! All those negative people lead me to question number 2 that I hate….

“Why do you have to go to school for so long to count pills?”

This is probably one of the HUGEST misconceptions of pharmacists and the most annoying question to be asked. It is pretty much belittling my education and my career choice in one simple question. There are so many other options then being a retail pharmacist. And retail pharmacists can do so much more for their patients if they put a little effort into it! Guess what….as a hospital pharmacist I NEVER count pills! For those of you that are interested in what I actually do….I enter orders physicians have written for accuracy (which they are wrong 50% of the time) and appropriateness (which they are also wrong about 25% of the time). You may not think this is not important because errors only happen to some people once in a while…but that is because we help to CATCH the errors before they reach the patients. If people knew how many errors pharmacists catch on a daily basis they would be amazed! But order entry is only a small part of the job. We respond to Code Blue and Code Trauma and provide needed medication preparation on the spot in these situations in the hospital. One of the largest things we do it patient medication dosing. In the hospital under approved protocols we can dose patients’ anticoagulants (Coumadin, heparin, etc), antibiotics (vancomycin, etc) and dose TPNs (nutrition for patients who cannot eat). We look at the patient’s labs, history and information and determine a proper dose, order labs and levels, etc. And guess what….the doctors ask us to provide these services for them so they don’t have to do it. No they don’t need to check our orders or co-sign them off…pharmacists do it all but themselves.  So next time you ask the above questions, ask yourself if you would like a person with a 6 month technician degree dosing your blood thinning medication to prevent strokes, blood clots, and heart attack…..or a pharmacist that has had extensive education in medications and disease states.

There are many other questions that bug me…I will write about them at a later time. These questions were at the forefront of my mind today. Yes….because some annoying person asked me!

Oh and I wrote this yesterday but forgot to post blogs for today to make up for yesterday!

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