16 Rules of Etiquette for Pharmacy Students


You can pay for school, but you can't buy class.

All professionals should know how to conduct themselves in the business world, and that goes for pharmacists, too.

Health care professionals may not learn this in school, which is why I put together the following 16 tips to help shed some light on how the world operates outside the confines of school.

  • Stand up to greet someone you’re being introduced to. This establishes your presence and shows respect.
  • Always say your full name clear enough for anyone to at least hear when introducing yourself.
  • Learn how to give the perfect handshake. I think we’re judged by our appearance and handshake.
  • It’s better to be slightly more formally dressed than underdressed for an occasion. Bonus tip for men: carry an emergency tie in your briefcase if you’re on the fence concerning whether or not you should wear one.
  • After a job interview, send a thank you e-mail to follow up.
  • Keep your phone in your pocket or bag and leave it on silent. Don’t take it out during meetings.
  • Use professional photos for professional websites like LinkedIn. As for social media in general, be careful about what content is out there that may show a less than favorable side of you.
  • Always give your e-mails a final look over before sending them. This includes correcting spelling errors, potential misinterpretation by the reader, and double checking the intended recipient(s). I’ve seen quite a few private e-mails mistakenly sent to my entire company.
  • Greet your coworkers (even those you may not exactly like very much) with a friendly hello.
  • Be mindful of your body language and what it can convey, even if you aren’t conscious about it. Classic examples are crossing your arms and turning your back to someone.
  • My advice for alcohol is a one-drink limit. I go for white wine because red wine stains are much harder to get out of your clothes.
  • Basic dining etiquette can go a long way. One tip for utensils: the word “fork” has 4 letters, as does the word “left,” so the fork goes on the left side. The word “knife” has 5 letters, as does the word “right,” so keep your knife on the right side.
  • When dining, follow the lead of your host/inviter. If they order an appetizer and entree, as opposed to just a salad or a drink, follow suit.
  • Business dinners aren’t the best place to try exotic/messy/weird foods. It’s never fun getting sauce all over your suit, and nothing kills a business dinner like an unexpected allergic reaction.
  • Never ask for a to-go box at business dinners.
  • The host/inviter always pays, irrespective of gender.

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