I recently decided to release a blog post that is quite different from my usual writing style. I stated that pharmacists are anal retentive – it was written in 20 minutes, poking fun of myself and others that I have observed in my twenty years of experience in pharmacy practice.

Believe it or not, the post sat in my draft inbox for several weeks before I had the guts to post it. I didn’t know what to expect. But soon, I got several validation from my followers – they liked it, they commented on it and they shared the post among their social media circle.

The response was unexpected. I often find pieces where I feel most vulnerable or uncertain are the pieces that tend to go viral. Soon after, an editor for a pharmacy magazine approached me to share the article on the national online network where you get thousands of pharmacists audience.

Again, I felt a little uneasy but thought I should bite the bullet and say yes to the offer. And sure enough, the post went public, read by many many pharmacists.

Some pharmacists got really upset that I had the guts to suggest we are anal. Some pharmacists were clearly not impressed with my post. And some pharmacists were indeed not shy to eat me alive on the cyberspace.

I know being so public with my view, I got to expect negative comments and know how to deal with them tactfully and diplomatically.

But that’s not why it still bothers me. It’s the fact that many of us don’t recognize the need to manage the perception of the profession. We may not be anal. We may not be obsessively compulsive. But to others who don’t work in our field, they don’t always understand why we ask certain questions. They don’t pay attention to the details we observe.

Other people including health care providers and patients may lack the understanding of the important work that we do. They don’t realize we are here to prevent medication errors. They often forget that we are here to advocate for safe medication use.

Whether we are anal or not, we need to address this perception. We need to increase awareness of why we ask the questions we ask. Without addressing this perception – whether it is true or false, we fail to connect with other health professionals in a meaningful way. We fail to showcase the important work that we do.

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