By MyPoorEyes - 19/03/2015 13:19 - Australia - Melbourne

Today, it was my first day working as a pharmacist. I quickly discovered that customers not only think that it makes me qualified to offer free medical advice, but they also have no qualms about showing me their various lumps, bumps, and vaginal leakages. FML
I agree, your life sucks 33 736
You deserved it 3 746

Add a comment

You must be logged in to be able to post comments!

Top comments

Pharmacists are ranked, year after year, as one of the most trusted occupations. Often times, the customer's situation can be helped by an over the counter product that can be bought in your store.

...congrats on the new job!


Comment moderated for rule-breaking.

Show it anyway

People to let him do his job, maybe?

Comment moderated for rule-breaking.

Show it anyway

Apparently #1 was banned

I assumed when the author said "free advice" he/ she meant that some customers would rather ask a pharmacist that may know (but probably doesn't), rather than paying a doctor for medical advice.

Actually, most pharmacists know and are fully aware of the fact that they are often the ones who have to explain to customers how medicine can help, or even what other remedies to try. I don't know why you were downvoted, it is really a common thing to seek advice from the pharmacist, as a doctor can be hard to schedule or just not as easy to contact.

#14, since OP is a pharmacist, he isn't obliged to help you with anything that doesn't involve making medication. A pharmacist will give you the prescribed medicine, not diagnose you. Medical school and pharmacy school are completely different. I don't see the YDI.

14-- it is not their job to diagnose people, that is what a doctor is for. If a pharmacist gives the wrong information, since they will not know the medical history of the patient, they can be sued. Besides, a pharmacist is busy filling prescriptions, talking to doctors, correcting doctors, helping explain the medicine to patients, dealing with insurance (the insurance takes a lot of time and is stressful), etcetera.

I could understand people who do, as I have gone for advice on which tablets to take for a problem I was having, and they recommend ones that would help. But the lumps and bumps should be seen by a doctor.

14 - i think you confuse explaing to customers how a medication works (a pharmisists JOB) and explaining to a customer what their medical condition is and what they should do, and looking at it (NOT their job, and theyre not trained to give that advice. notice theyre not a doctor)

So I'm going to weigh in here since I'm a current medical student who is apart of the relatively new concept of interdisciplinary relationships in healthcare. As many of the above have said, pharmacy and medicine are vastly different, but connected at the hip regarding medication. We are taught all of the medications, side effects, reactions, and interactions of all the drugs pharmacy students learn, however the emphasis is much stronger in that field. We don't haphazardly prescribe meds, and a lot of the recent problems with medication prescription involve our fear of lawsuits, ie, if we fail to give something we will get sued (hence we often use broad spectrum antibiotics, as an example). Thus, we are strongly strongly in favor of a strong relationship with pharmacists to check our medication prescription and confirm with the patients other medications in use, etc. We, however, absolutely do not want them making diagnoses. This is not out of cockiness but for the wellbeing of the patient. A person on here mentioned a pharmacist examining her rashes for example. I can not even begin to tell you how many rashes there are, all of which require different medications. It would not be in the patients beat interest for a pharmacist to "guess" what a particular rash is (because they are not formally trained in recognizing subtle differences between them). And trust me, they don't want to overstep their boundaries, they are comfortable with medication knowledge only.

Umm #1, I think you're confusing a pharmacist with a doctor. A pharmacist's job is to give someone the medication/drugs they've already been prescribed by a doctor, not to give medical advice and check their whatever condition they have.

Here in the UK people are actively encouraged to discuss some of their health issues with a pharmacist and they are more than happy to help. Pharmacists (for the most part) really know their stuff!

I'm pretty sure a pharmacist isn't for vaginal leakage, but rather carrying out/ making prescriptions and explaining what it does, along with dosage amounts and side effects.

Its encouraged where I'm from in the US to talk to a pharmacist about medical problems, too. Such as what OCT would be best for say psoriasis in such and such stage. Requiring you to show the pharmacist your rash. I never would have tried T-Gel shampoo for psoriasis, turns out it works well. And I didn't have to use my prescribed steroid cream as often. And they always help, too. Or find another pharmacist who can. I routinely ask my pharmacist questions, but I'm in a small town and have went to the same pharmacy for years, I guess if you're not routinely at the pharmacist, it might be different.

In the UK, to help with the ever over flowing waiting lists for GPs people are encouraged to go and see pharmacists for things that don't have to be dealt with by a doctor. They can't prescribe you things but they can suggest over the counter stuff. I had a really bad reaction to some mosquito bites on my legs somewhere other to where my GP is so instead I went to a pharmacist. Obviously I had to show her the bites on my leg and she recommended some anti-histamines. When I got home I saw my GP who prescribed some antibiotics. I appreciate it might be different in Australia but in other parts of the world pharmacists are expected to know this stuff so down voting #1 seems a bit thoughtless.

I'm sure it depends on where you're from, but in Canada many jurisdictions have authorized pharmacists to diagnose and prescribe for minor ailments. So we can't diagnose your asthma or diabetes, but if you have a rash we can diagnose it and dispense a prescription strength steroid cream. Still, I really hope a customer never shows me her "vaginal leakage". That is definitely outside our scope of practice (plus I really don't want to see that).

As a real, live, pharmacist in Canada I can agree with the other posts that say there is much more to the job than dispensing medication and counselling. We are the easiest health care provider for a member of the public to access. You can just walk up to the pharmacy and ask to talk to the pharmacist. Most times they will come right over. If they are busy you might have to wait a minute. If you go to a walk in clinic to see a physician you might be lucky and get in right away, or you might have to wait for a long time. With this in mind, pharmacists are taught how to triage patients. The idea is that a patient presents to their pharmacy and mentions a complaint (e.g. stomach pain, nausea, laceration, fever, etc). The pharmacist would ask a series of questions to determine whether the patient is a candidate for self-care (i.e. provide over the counter medication recommendations and non-pharm measures if the symptoms are not serious), or whether the patient should see a physician (either walk-in or hospital emergency department, depending on the seveirty of the symptoms). If the pharmacist determines you do not have any RED FLAGS (i.e. things that require immediate physician/hospital referral), then by self-treating you are saving yourself time and the health system money (in Canada when you go to see the doctor, the government pays the doctor whether they end up prescribing you anything or not - they might even prescribe something that the pharmacist could have recommended/prescribed). This is not to say that you should go to the pharmacist instead of the doctor. You should have a very healthy relationship with your doctor and go to them on a regular basis. If you are experiencing new symptoms and aren't sure if you should see the doctor, tell the pharmacist about your symptoms and they should at the least be able to give you some advice, or if they do not know, refer you on to somebody better suited (i.e. your doctor, emergency services, etc). It is a fallacy that in pharmacy school we are just taught about drugs - pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics are fun but that info as well as mechanism of action/side effects can be looked up in multiple resources. In Alberta our classes (i.e. immunology, cardiology, oncology, pulmonary, neurology, psychiatry, urology, GI, infectious diseases, etc) followed the basic schematic of 'learn anatomy of the system, learn physiology of the system, learn the physiology of diseases, learn what drugs are used to treat those diseases, learn properties of drugs (medicinal chemistry/kinetics/dynamics/mechanism of action/etc - basically how the drugs work to treat the disease). Doctors absolutely have a much, much stronger focus on pathophysiology and diagnosis than pharmacists - I am the first to admit it and I tip my hat off to the many hours they put into their learning (both as a student and as a physician). I just wanted to help dispel the thought of pharmacists as 'people who only know about drugs'. Also, welcome to the profession OP! Get used to people showing you things and start working on growing a thick skin!

#14 can I have some kelp too?

oh my word o.o I'm so sorry

Well Nothing ventured nothing gained I suppose

I am guilty of asking the pharmacist medical questions. I'm sorry for all of my type op. I just think since you know medicine you know medical issues.

#77 They said medical advince, medicine ≠ gaping wound.

Pharmacists are ranked, year after year, as one of the most trusted occupations. Often times, the customer's situation can be helped by an over the counter product that can be bought in your store.

They are a doctor now. They come out with a PharmD. The pharmacy college in Weatherford lets them get their MBA as well.

#48 if someone has the title Doctor, it doesnt mean they are necessarily a MO. i had a teacher who was Dr. whatever because of their degree. pharmacists are not the type of people in Australia to talk to about medical issues such as those specified in the post.

In the US, every time I pick up prescriptions I get asked by the tech if I have questions for the pharmacist ...

At Walmart you don't need any medical schooling to work as a pharmacist. I was offered it when I was 19 and a cashier. Maybe this could be the same case somewhere else?

#68- unless you're working at some pretty ass backwards Walmart, you cannot work as a pharmacist unless you have a degree and are certified by law. A pharmacy tech however doesn't require schooling but you do have to register with whatever state you're working in.

#70 Maybe that's what it was. I declined the job, but if the tech test is fast that makes sense. There are two 18 year olds who work in the pharmacy where I work now and they went from cashiers to pharmacy associates right away. All I know is they had no medical schooling.

Not to sound like a dick, but there is no comparison between an MD and a Pharmacist. While I would absolutely never say anything bad about pharmacy, the overall healthcare education pales in comparison. And that isn't to knock them, they are there to learn drugs. Yes, they do learn anatomy and physiology, etc, but it is no where near the depth or volume that we do.

I'm not one for arguing but I'll respectfully disagree. I do agree family med is broad spectrum. But they can distinguish between, to use the example used previously, different rashes just as a simple example, something a pharmacist can not do. I am not knocking a pharmacy education by any means. It just does not compare to the overall body education of an MD.

Op only trained to be able to discuss how different medicines will affect the body and what those medicines might do if paired with other substances. The Op never recieved training to tell someone "hey that looks like scabbies use this to clear that up." That is the doctor's job as is the various bumps and lumps they were shown. Don't confuse a PhD or other degree in Pharmacology as a Medical degree.

As a pharmacy tech, I can tell you that pharmacists are incredibly skilled people. Not only do they know medications, but they also seem to know the answer to any medical question I've ever been around to hear asked. My pharmacists never complain, though, because part of their work ethic involves aiding customers in whatever way they are able. All-in-all, I've gained an enormous respect for pharmacists since getting my job. They're seriously incredible.

I think we're all missing the FML part: someone just went up to OP and showed them to their "vaginal leakage". I don't think OP is complaining about customers asking them for help; that's significantly different than just dropping your pants and showing the pharmacist your vagina.

90 - ironically we actually know exactly which drugs are used to treat scabies. It's true that we need an MD to make he diagnosis, but since the treatment is OTC they actually don't need a prescription. It's possible for people to come in knowing they have scabies but not knowing which drug they need (either the doctor didn't tell them or they forgot), so we have to make that decision.

I don't understand how you have such a comprehensive knowledge of a pharmacist's education. Were you a pharmacist prior to med school? Maybe you know someone who is in school or recently graduated? I'm not sure but regardless there are going to be vast differences in the pharmacy programs between universities/states/countries (just as there are likely differences in medicine programs). I do not doubt that in some places there is much less emphasis on physiology and patient assessment, and that is unfortunate indeed for those future pharmacists and for their patients. In Canada we are taught about the pathophysiology of diseases and patient assessment (absolutely not as in-depth as physicians, I am not and will never argue that) - if a patient presents with a rash, we would perform an assessment to see if we could determine the cause, i.e. MACS - medications, allergies, medical conditions, social factors, SCHOLAR - symptoms, characteristics, history, onset, location, agravating/remitting factors. Together with looking at the rash, seeing where it is on the body, what the person was doing before the appearance, etc, will help us (as it would help you) determine if the etiology is fungal, viral, trauma, allergy, parasitic, etc. If we are able to determine the cause and know the treatment (i.e. scabies is quite easily distinguished and the treatment is available at the pharmacy without a prescription), we can provide it to the patient and instruct them on how to use it - as well as give them instructions on when to see the doctor (i.e. if the symptoms persist X days after treatment is initiated or gets worse, see the doctor). Conversely, if the pharmacist is not certain of the etiology/treatment of the rash (or whatever condition the patient presents with), or if the treatment is not available without a prescription, or if it is a complex patient (CHF, DM, etc) - then the pharmacist should refer the patient to the physician/hospital as appropriate. On any given day I will go through this entire process numerous times with many different conditions (rash, nausea, headache, shortness of breath, diarrhea, etc). Many times the patient is an appropriate candidate for self-care but there are also many times in which I refer them to their physician or even the hospital (or call an ambulance - Sx of MI/stroke/etc). We are in this together friend - I have a tremendous amount of respect for physicians. Let us not assume what the other knows and both work in earnest toward the benefit of our patients.

This is when you need your friends to get on the Intercom and say "paging Dr. Faggot!" It makes for a good excuse to leave

...congrats on the new job!

he should get over it. pharmacists can make 6 figures. he needs to stop b*tching and be grateful that he passed all the schooling and got hired into such a fantastic and stable career.

#101, it's not like he was just given all of this. No, OP worked hard to become a pharmacist. The reason OP passed was hard work, dedication, and a LOT of sleepless nights. You want to know why OP makes six figures? It's because he worked hard to pass the MCAT, and worked even harder afterwards. Stop making it sounds like OP was just handed all of these opportunities, that OP passed all his testing because of luck, and that just because he makes six figures, he doesn't have the right to complain. I'm not saying other people don't work hard, but obviously what OP did was no piece of cake either. OP earned his title as a pharmacist, and I'm sorry, but if someone shows him their vaginal leakage, OP most definitely has a right to complain.

This is only the beginning. Brace yourself

19990231 29

You deal with medicine all day... Did you really expect this type of thing NOT to happen?

Just the word vaginal leakages is enough to make my skin crawl

Do you want them to pay for medical advice?

He wants them to see a doctor for the advice and well, maybe just buy the prescribed drugs from him.

LostInTheZone11 28

I hope you get a better job in a hospital where you won't see that horror.

Uh do you know what hospitals are for?

31-In a hospital setting, the patients don't go to the Pharmacist to get their meds, so he wouldn't be asked those kind of questions. Besides, in a hospital, the CNAs and Housekeepers are the ones who field all the unsolicited questions for medical advise.

LostInTheZone11 28

#31 My mom has been a Hospital Pharmacist for over 20 years. She doesn't work with patients. Her works include making the prescriptions, IVs, and Chemo. Also a lot of computer file work.