I don’t mean it in a bad way. It is the strength in us as pharmacists. We pay attention to details but in doing so, we sometimes drive people crazy.

When a nurse ask for additional morphine, I wonder if she wants Statex (short acting morphine) or MS Contin which are sustained release formulation. The patient is on both medications. So which one does she want?

When a physician reorders medications for a month, I wonder if he means the 4 week supply which he has always authorized in the past. Or does he decide for this time, he wants to authorize a 30-day supply. The two day supply may not be a big deal for the blood pressure pill.  But if it is for a narcotic or controlled substances, we need to seek clarity around it. This is mostly related to regulatory requirements but it isimportant too if the patient has a history of substance use disorder. 

When a physician writes an order to “hold” the warfarin, does she only want to hold for a day, two days or a week for a procedure. When will it be reassessed, or hold until she remembers to write a new order to discontinue or restart (which is often forgotten down the road).

When a patient call in saying he wants the “puffer”, does he mean the Ventolin, the Flovent, the Advair that has been on hold forever in the record? Or is it a new prescription faxed through by the respirologist with the newest one on the market, but still sitting on the fax machine?

You see – pharmacists are anal retentive in a good way. We think differently. We foresee potential issues. We catch potential errors or misunderstanding that can occur everyday.  But I also think our system needs a digital revamped. Who still use fax machine? Why aren’t old records automatically archived? And when an order is on hold, why doesn’t the system has a reminder system to prompt clinicians to reassess after a day or two?

Next time when you encounter an annoyingly anal retentive pharmacist, be kind, be nice. The pharmacist is trying to save your xxx in an anal retentive way.

That’s my rant for the day! Thanks for reading!