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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Unexpected Benefits of Pharmacy I: No bodily fluids

Once upon a time, I was a happy little lab rat, doing experiments for the betterment of science. These regularly included using animal models. I was mostly accustomed to the procedures, knowing the necessity. Then, I left the Dark Side to become a pharmacist. I knew I had definitely picked the right field when I did my Ambulatory rotation in the field, and remembered why I had been so secretly glad to be rejected to Nursing School all those years ago (insufficiently empathetic, I think they said)--you don't have to deal with nearly as much pus as a pharmacist. Or other assorted excretia of any body (dogs, cats, goats, and alpacas included).

So, thank your lucky stars on those really rough days: It could be worse, you could be elbow-deep in a truly ugly wound, and need to scratch your nose.

And, when someone comes in and says, "Hey could you look at this..." and starts removing clothing, smile as you say, "That's not really my area of expertise, you might want to keep those pants on, thank you!"

This was all sparked by yet another bloody elbow wound on our border collie mix. In our house, the one with the most alphabet soup after their name gets to deal with anything icky. Pus, blood, nausea, and whining were involved. And then the darn dog ate her bandages off, again, so we get to start over tomorrow. (The dog is just fine, she's too ornery to let a little pyo get her down.)

Thank the heavens I get to go to work tomorrow, there's (usually) no blood there, barring another Deli accident. We still have Lysol:30 time, though, just in case.


Anonymous said...

I have had patients come in bleeding all over the place after a root canal or have received scripts with blood or unidentifiable substances on them. Just another reason why I want to work in a hospital.

-- 6th year pharmacy student

Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

That is what I call a "baggy" rx because we put it in a ziploc bag so no one has to actually touch the unknown/blood all over it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous, this posted blog may be a 'reason' for something, but you're not going to get outta blood-n-guts in the hospital!

Advice: develop pro-active self-protective measures such as 'baggy' Rx or other protection such as washing hands frequently, no touching face, etc. no eating food that has to be handled, keep your immune system fit as a fiddle, and watch the covered drink containers.

As a hospital pharmacist with only risk being 'healthcare worker' I 'managed' to contract a communicable disease. On later reflection, I realized that had the manager not refused to install 99.99% alcohol foam near the out-patient dispensing counter (since the sink was clear across the pharmacy and past the counter visible area) it might have reduced infective chances and increased my productive years working for that company. (However, the manager's reply to this request was "no one else contracted the illness, now, did they?" So? Cost of foam dispenser vs. hospitalization, immune therapy, disability, and shortened work years?

PeteVu said...


I'm currently a grad student and was wondering if we could swap a couple emails about how you decided to change careers and how you feel about it. I'm in exactly the situation described at the begining of the post.