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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 04-02-2019   #11
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Default H2-Woes

H2-Woes

Extra Stupid, Math & Science, Pharmacy, UK | Right | February 10, 2019


(I am working in the back of a pharmacy. A coworker who is on the front comes in to ask a question.)

Coworker: “What ointments don’t have dihydrogen monoxide?”

Me: “Don’t have what?”

Coworker: “Dihydrogen monoxide. A customer says she deathly allergic to it.”

(Humoured by the statement and assuming it’s a joke, I follow [Coworker] out.)

Me: “Sorry, what was your query?”

Customer: *sighs* “What creams don’t have dihydrogen monoxide? I’m so allergic to it that even the slightest touch could kill me.”

Me: “Umm, is this a joke?”

Customer: “Absolutely not! How dare you?!”

Me: “It’s just that dihydrogen monoxide is water, like the bottle of Vittel in your hand.”

Customer: “No, I am allergic to dihydrogen monoxide, and I need a cream that doesn’t have it.”

Me: “Do you know what water is also expressed as? H2–”

Customer: “–H2O. Yes, I know that.”

Me: “And that means water is made of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen?”

Customer: “I don’t see how this has anything to do with—“

Me: “Two hydrogen, di — Dihydrogen. And one oxygen, mono — monoxide. Water and dihydrogen monoxide are literally the same thing.”

Customer: *blank look*

Me: “For all I know, you could have an allergy to water, but since that is rare and you didn’t know that they were the same, I’m assuming you don’t?”

Customer: “This is ridiculous. I am allergic to dihydrogen monoxide, and if you can provide me with cream that doesn’t have it, I will find somewhere that does!” *storms out*

Me: “Good luck with that!”
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Old 04-02-2019   #12
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Default Branded With Kindness

Branded With Kindness

Awesome Workers, Dallas, Georgia, Kind Strangers, Non-Dialogue, Pharmacy, USA | Hopeless | February 8, 2019


I was dropping off some prescriptions at my local 24-hour pharmacy around ten at night. There were only two employees working at the time: a pharmacist and a pharmacy tech. They were obviously extremely busy. When I was asked when I’d like to pick up my prescriptions, I simply said I’d like them as soon as possible. The tech looked genuinely terrified to inform me that there was at least an hour wait time. Of course, I expected as much, so that was no problem at all. I could tell from her demeanor that other people had not been as understanding. I told her that I was planning on going out to eat, so she could take her time and that I hoped that customers would learn to be more understanding.

When I returned to retrieve my medicine, one of them was ringing up at four times the amount I expected. As I have a heart condition that prevents me from working, I knew there was no way I could afford that. I purchased the other medication and decided that I would just call the hospital and ask if they could send a cheaper alternative prescription to the pharmacy. Upon speaking to the pharmacist, I was told that it would be another thirty minutes before he would even be able to check for an alternative. I decided to sit in the waiting area, as I had nothing else to do at the time and I wasn’t in any particular rush.

At that point, it was clear that the young lady’s shift had ended and she had left for the night. The pharmacist was now working by himself. I waited patiently as I watched this man run around and assemble orders, answer phones, type furiously on the computer, check inventory, and deal with customers in both the drive-thru and at the counter. That poor man didn’t have a breath to himself. Eventually, he looked up and noticed I was still there. He called me to the counter and rang up my medicine at a huge discount — much less than I was expecting to pay in the first place. I thanked him profusely and wished him a better night than the one he appeared to be having. It was only when I reached the car that I realized that he hadn’t had time to find a generic alternative and he had given me the name brand medication. He brought it down from 105 dollars to 17. As someone struggling financially, that meant the world to me.

I made sure to call the manager in the morning and tell them how wonderful their employees were. I will definitely be going back there. It might cost a little more than other pharmacies and it might take a little longer, but the customer service cannot be matched.

Moral of the story: a little patience and kindness go a long way.
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Old 04-02-2019   #13
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Default

Sometimes You Wish Customers Were Contactless

At The Checkout, England, Pharmacy, UK | Right | February 8, 2019


(I am handing out a prescription to a patient.)

Me: “That’ll be £8.40, please.”

(I see that she’s getting her card out, so I press “card payment” at the till. I am not paying that much attention and the payment goes through fine.)

Customer: “When do I put my PIN in?”

(I’m confused as the payment has already gone through.)

Me: “The payment has already gone through contactless, and here is the receipt.”

Customer: *getting visibility upset* “I do not have that! How can it go through when I haven’t put my PIN in? Let me have a look at that receipt now. There’s no way I could have paid for that; I haven’t put my PIN in.”

(I check the receipt and notice it’s been paid using a specific credit card, which is different from the card she has in hand. I show her the card and receipt number.)

Me: “You put your purse too close to the contactless machine.”

Customer: “But I didn’t put my PIN in; I did not authorise this transaction!”

Me: “This is a new thing in the banks are doing to make transactions a little bit quicker. It only covers payments under £30.”

Customer: “But I did not authorise this transaction! I did not want to pay with that card! I don’t want this ‘contact list’ nonsense!”

Me: “If you don’t want contactless, you have to speak to your bank.”

Customer: “I certainly will be. I do not want this ‘contact list’ nonsense. Anyone could steal my money.”

(As she is getting upset about something I can’t help her with, I try to end the conversation.)

Me: “Here’s your prescription that has been paid for. Good luck with the bank!”

(She said thank you for the prescription, but continued to rant about how she should have to use a PIN number, how contactless is stupid, and how the bank is making it easy to steal money.)
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Old 04-02-2019   #14
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Default Not Even Partially Apologetic

Not Even Partially Apologetic

Comeuppance, Ignoring & Inattentive, Jerk, Pharmacy, USA | Right | February 4, 2019


(I work in a retail pharmacy in a suburban city. A lot of snobbish, entitled people come through our line every day, thinking they are God’s gifts to the world and that we should feel honored to bend over backward and kiss their a**es. It’s a Sunday afternoon, during a slow hour in the late summer. It’s just me and my pharmacist working today. I’m helping someone in our drive-thru, so the pharmacist helps this guy who comes up to the counter. I overhear this exchange as I’m ringing up the person I’m helping.)

Pharmacist: “Hi, there! How can I help you?”

Customer: “Yeah, I’m picking up a prescription.”

Pharmacist: *looks up the guy’s name in the system and goes to retrieve his script* “Just so you know, sir, we didn’t have the full quantity of this medication in stock, so we had to give you a partial supply. We should have the rest in tomorrow morning, though.”

Customer: *raising his voice* “You know, this is bulls***. I got a phone call saying that my prescription was ready in full, but every time I come here, you guys only have a part of the d*** thing!”

Pharmacist: “I do apologize, sir. Are you sure the phone call said it was done in full?”

Customer: “What, do you think I’m stupid?! Of course it did! Here, listen!”

(He pulled out his phone and replayed the voicemail on speaker so we could hear. It very clearly stated that the prescription was ready for a PARTIAL FILL. Obviously flushed and embarrassed, the guy tried to brush it off like it was still our fault, paid for his partial, and left. My pharmacist paraded that little victory around for the rest of the year.)
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Old 04-02-2019   #15
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Default Narcotics By Night

Narcotics By Night

Crazy Requests, Indiana, Jerk, Patients, Pharmacy, USA | Healthy | February 4, 2019


(The pharmacy where I work is the only 24-hour one in town. We keep all our narcotics in a time-delayed safe that we don’t open at night. The only exception is a few we keep out for hospital patients. One night after 11:00 pm, a lady comes through the drive-thru to drop off a script for one of these medications.)

Me: “We have this in stock and we can have it ready for you around 7:00 am.”

Lady: “I can’t get it now? I’ve been out all day! Can’t you just give me a couple to get me by?”

(I’m thinking, “If you’ve been out all day, why wait until this late at night to get more?”)

Me: “This is in a time-delayed safe, so we can’t fill these at night.”

Lady: “Well, what’s the point in being a full-service, 24-hour pharmacy if you can’t fill prescriptions at night?”

Me: “We can fill most prescriptions at night, but this is in our time-delayed safe which can’t be opened after eight.”

Lady: “I don’t care about anyone else’s prescriptions. This is for me!”
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Old 04-02-2019   #16
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Default Power Play

Power Play

Australia, Crazy Requests, Money, Pharmacy | Right | January 28, 2019


(There is a storm and we have lost power. We are still open but are doing everything manually and are only accepting cash. We tell customers this when they enter the store and have a big sign at the checkouts stating this. It’s dull but we have light from outside and battery operated lights at the desks.)

Customer: “Okay I’ll take these.”

(The customer shoves a bunch of items into my hands.)

Me: “Okay, ma’am. Just so you know, we have lost power. We are taking cash only until the power comes back.”

Customer: “But I wish to pay by card!” *hands me debit card*

Me: “I am sorry, but as I said, we have no power. The EFT machine is run by power and we have no emergency generator.”

Customer: “This is outrageous! You just cut the power because you knew I was coming, didn’t you? I demand you put the power back on now!”

Me: “I’m sorry, but I have no control over the power. I cannot process this unless you are paying cash. I am happy to hold your items if you would like to go get cash now, or come back later?”

Customer: “You’re no help.” *storms out of store*

Next Customer: *who happens to be a regular* “I would have said yes, I did cut the power just to piss you off.”

Me: “I was tempted. But I like my job.”

(The regular customer returned with a box of chocolates to help us through the power outage!)
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Old 04-03-2019   #17
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Default Ankle Biting Your Head off

(My coworker and I are standing behind the counter, talking about what is left to do as I am about to leave, when a woman and man come in together. The man is carrying a bunched-up cord and looking around at the wall and the fixtures, while the woman heads to us.)

Coworker: *quietly* “He’s looking for somewhere to plug in.”

Me: “Looks like it.” *to the woman, louder* “Hello! How can—“

Man: “You got anywhere I can plug in?”

Me: “I’m afraid not. We don’t have any plugins in areas accessible to customers.”

Man: “I need to plug in my ankle monitor.”

Me: *kind of blown away* “I’m sorry. We simply don’t have anywhere for you to plug in.”

Man: “Fine! Then the police are gonna come and swarm you guys if I don’t!”

Me: *wondering how that’s our problem* “I’m sorry, but there’s nothing we can do.”

Man: “Whatever. I’ll wait outside for the police, then!” *stomps out*

Woman: *glowering after him, unimpressed* “Sorry about him. I was here to pick up some pictures.”

Me: “Not a problem. I can help you with that.”

(She was incredibly nice even though her photos ended up being at another location of our store. Made me wonder how she ended up having to be around the other guy.)
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Old 04-03-2019   #18
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Default Customers That Make You Want To Pop Pills

(I am working the counter of a pharmacy. I have been serving a customer while another is behind her looking at painkillers. After my customer has left:.)

Me: “Is there anything you need help with?”

Customer: “Yes, actually. Could you help me get this box open?”

Me: “I’m afraid not. If you open it you will have to buy it.”

Customer: “But I don’t want to buy it until I know what’s inside.”

Me: “I’m afraid there’s no other way around it. Once the box is open I am not allowed to sell it to anyone else.”

Customer: “I just want to know what colour the pills are.”

Me: “There’s an example on the box.”

Customer: “Yes, but they always try to trick you.”

(She manages to get the box open and takes a strip out.)

Customer: “See! They’re blue.”

Me: “That’s the packaging.”

(She then, to my surprise, pops one pill out and inspects it.)

Customer: “Well, would you look at that? It’s pink. That’s exactly what I want!”

(She puts the box and pill on the shelf and picks up an unopened box.)

Me: “Actually, if you could give me the box you opened, I’ll just sell you that one.”

Customer: “You can’t do that! It’s been opened. You have no idea what happened to it!”

Me: “…”

(I kicked her out and banned her. She comes back all the time saying this is her nearest pharmacy and demands to be let in. We have a picture of her under the counter, so everyone knows to remove her as soon as she appears.)
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Old 04-03-2019   #19
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Default Medicine Prices Can Wind You

I had been having horrible stomach cramps, to the point where I could barely stand. I’ve already had my appendix removed, so my doctor ran a few other tests and determined the pain was from a bowel obstruction. He sent me home with instructions to drink more water and take a laxative and some OTC pain killers.

While waiting in the checkout line with my purchase, several waves of cramps came over me and I started seeing stars. The cashier saw me start to stumble and called for help. More stars appeared before the pain became so intense I passed out.

When I regained consciousness, there was a crowd surrounding me with a mixture of emotions on their faces. Some were concerned, others embarrassed, and others looked like they were trying not to laugh, but none of them are looking at me. I started to sit up and the associate closest to me — the pharmacist who helped me pick my laxative — told me to stay still and wait for the ambulance to arrive.

I asked what happened and the pharmacist blushed deeper. I looked down to make sure I hadn’t lost control of my bladder. I hadn’t, but then I realized my stomach didn’t hurt as much anymore. I made that comment aloud, and some of the crowd laughed. A man from the crowd leaned in and told me that when I hit the floor, I’d released the biggest, loudest, longest fart he’d ever heard out of any human being.

The people gathered around were obviously there to see how I handled the news of my flatulent faux pas. I was terribly embarrassed, but I was also so relieved that I wasn’t in pain anymore, I just laughed until I cried. The ambulance arrived shortly thereafter and gave me the okay to go home. I apologized to everyone in the vicinity and told them I hoped the rest of their day went better than mine.
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Old 04-03-2019   #20
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Default Unfiltered Story #139469

Unfiltered Story #139469




(At the pharmacy I work at, we sell cards for buying cell phone minutes. Most of these cards have set amounts that you are able to purchase, usually multiples of $10. The register can only put those set amounts on to the card. A customer I recognize as someone who has given me trouble in the past walked into the store with someone else, grabbed a phone minute card and placed it on the counter)

Me:And how much would you like to put on this card?

Customer: 35 dollars, please.

(I look at the card, it clearly say $10 $20 $30 $40 in giant numbers)

Me: Im sorry, I can’t put $35 on this card. It only allows me to put in the amounts on the front.

Customer:…But I need $35 for my plan!

Me. I’m sorry, but I literally can’t put anything but whats on the card.

Customer: Hold on a second….

(The customer suddenly pulls out a cell phone and procceds to begin hitting numbers for a good 5 minutes. I can hear an automated voice coming from the other end. He then holds the phone up to me)

Cellphone: If your plan is for a monthly charge for $35, please press-

(He pulls the phone back)

Customer: SEE?!

Me:…

(I then explained and demonstrated that I literally could only put in what the register allows me. He seemed like he was gonna say something else on the matter, but luckily the person he was with saw the futility in the situation, convinced him to leave.)
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