I recently had to rush to a nearby pharmacy quickly to get an non-prescription product for my daughter. It was a product that would normally be kept inside the pharmacy. So I approached the pharmacy, saw the various products sitting on the shelf and quickly realized I didn’t know which product was best to buy.

It has been awhile since I had to work in a retail pharmacy. I thought, I needed to look up the latest evidence or the latest information. Wait a minute. I had a pharmacist to ask!

Why not ask the pharmacist?

For some reasons – many times visiting a retail pharmacy as a patient, the pharmacy staff somehow always managed to find out that I was a pharmacist myself. Consequently, they assumed I knew what I was doing, had all the information and I didn’t want to nor needed to speak to another pharmacist.

They were wrong.

I didn’t know everything. Just like a physician, I couldn’t expect a heart surgeon to know about pediatric medicine, or a GI specialist to know how to treat glaucoma.  In fact, I secretly didn’t want people to know I was a pharmacist. I secretly would like to be counselled on the amoxicillin. I secretly wanted to be told what to do, acting as a patient and in this case, acting as a mother.

I told the pharmacy assistant that I would like to speak to the pharmacist. She  kindly relayed the message to the pharmacist who was still busy with another phone call at the time. So I patiently waited. I was a bit nervous waiting because I thought the pharmacist looked familiar. She must have been a graduate few years ahead of me. I hoped she didn’t recognize me. I hoped she didn’t know I was a pharmacist myself. I hoped she didn’t expect me to know anything at all.

Then she approached me. I told her I didn’t know which product was best to buy. She asked few screening questions, explained the differences of the various products and made some recommendations to help me decide which product to buy. She was informative. She was resourceful. She was AWESOME. Our interaction ended as she helped me complete my purchase at the pharmacy. She then also added few more tips for me to take away.  She gave me some sound advice with the best possible clarity and succinctness – exactly what I needed.

It was nice to be pampered by another pharmacist. I didn’t know what it would feel like to appreciate another pharmacist until now. Pharmacists can be really helpful people in the community. Thank you for all the great pharmacists out there doing great work everyday. You guys rock and you should feel proud about your work everyday.

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