Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker, PharmD
Alex Barker is the founder of The Happy PharmD, which helps pharmacists create an inspiring career, break free from the mundane "pill-flipping" life. He is a Full-time Pharmacist, Media Company founder, franchise owner, Business Coach, Speaker, and Author. He's also the Founder of Pharmacy School HQ, which helps students get into pharmacy school and become residents.

7 Pharmacy Guilty Pleasures

SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
 Working at a pharmacy keeps you on your toes, but every job has moments that make it all worthwhile.
 
I’m talking about the things that often happen in a pharmacy and make you struggle to contain your laughter.
 
Here are my favorite pharmacy guilty pleasures:
 
1. Counseling patients on proper medication use
Customer: “This medicine tastes funny and really doesn’t seem to be helping. Can you recommend something else?”
The pharmacist: “This is supposed to be used as a suppository.”
 
2. Hearing patients mispronounce drug names
Reading about the most common generic and brand-name drug mispronunciations is funny, but they can’t compare to hearing a patient brutalize a drug name in person.
 
3. Replaying rambling, incoherent, or comical voicemail messages
When patients call the pharmacy at all hours and leave voicemails, hilarity is often the result.
 
My favorites include patients who have conversations with someone else, ramble about the Green Bay Packers, or tell their life story, but fail to give their name or date of birth.
 
4. Enjoying the quirks of life
I used to let patients’ odd behavior bother me. After complaining to another pharmacist about a patient who calls me “Eric” at every visit, she stated a life-changing truth: “Don’t sweat the small stuff, Alex.”
 
Now, I chuckle at those oddities. Instead of getting angry, I try to laugh with them.
 
Oh, and that patient still calls me Eric, even though I correct him every time.
 
5. Listening to illegitimate reasons why patients need early refills
Some patients tell colorful (and possibly factual) tales about what happened to their prescription medications when they hope to get an early refill. Whether or not the drug actually fell down the toilet or was eaten by a rabid neighborhood dog, the stories are sure to entertain.
 
6. Receiving fake prescriptions
Most people who try to call in fake prescriptions are so obviously fraudulent that it is hilarious, which makes it more fun to see them get busted. It is even funnier when you receive a fake written prescription that misspells the drug name or requests the amount of medication in weight.
 
7. Getting funny questions
Sometimes, questions are so strange yet delivered so seriously that you just don’t know how to respond. The next time a patient with the utmost concern asks you, “So, does that mean I can’t take my child’s Ritalin?” just remember that keeping a straight face is an art form.
 
You don’t have to look far to find humor in the pharmacy. I find that a well-timed quip or funny mispronunciation always helps me turn a bad day around.

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