To The Class Of 2012: I Do The Best I Can To Help You Get Through The Rest Of Your Life.

It's probably hitting you right about now. You were sent out into the world five or six months ago and it's finally starting to sink in.

This isn't what you signed up for.

You can still remember the shiny, happy world of the Pharmacy Practice lab back in college. A world of no lines, no insurance, and all the time your patients needed to learn about their meds.

Patients willing to listen politely is also probably fading fast in the horizon of your memory.

I wonder if you've had the first sacrifice yet. The first patient you threw under the bus. You wanted to stop things and ask a question, talk with that nurse practitioner about whether they really wanted to prescribe Doryx for an acute respiratory infection when the patient has taken regular doxycycline several times.

But......the clinic's closed, and the patient sent in their 16 year old daughter to pick up his med and she has a cellphone glued to her ear and there are five people behind her, a couple of them being pretty damn impatient and rude and that clock on your computer is ticking and your metrics report will be sent to the corporate office in the morning.....

....and there aren't any clinical implications to choosing Doryx anyway.....so.....

And that's one of the tamer scenarios you've faced, and you and I both know it. Some of you have gone home crying after twelve hours of this. Some of you have become good friends with Mr. Alcohol because it helps to numb up and forget. For a few hours you can forget. In the morning there's a few minutes where it feels like everything is starting fresh. Those few minutes every day start to feel like gold.

Then you remember the messes left over from last night that will be waiting for you. And the new messes soon to be created. You......did not sign up for this. For six years you saw nothing but smiling faces in crisp new lab coats being bold and authoritative and respected when it came to matters pharmaceutical.

What you see now is that someone shat on the store's  bathroom floor when you open the door after managing to hold  in your urine for most of the morning.

Your student loan balance is also over six figures.

I can't make it all better. You're in for a long, hard, career of abuse and I can't change that. I can tell you this though. Through all the chaos and the bullshit, despite all the corporate stupidity and ungrateful turds that will be cast into your life, against all odds, there will be times when you help someone. I promise you it will happen. There will be times when you make a difference in someone's life. There will be times when you save someone's life. Honest.

You'll have to fight for them, and you will tend not to remember them at the end of the day. It's the assholes and the times you slipped up that will stick in your mind. Like flypaper my friend. The times when you couldn't live up to your own expectations will become welded onto your brain.

Rest assured though, you'll never get any credit for the times you actually helped a person. There are no bonuses for stopping a dippy doctor from injuring someone. No measurement for the number of times you nudged someone in the throes of addiction towards help instead of Vicodin. Nope. When you see the look of gratitude on an occasional person's face, or hear a few words of appreciation from a loved one, you'll know that you screwed up your metrics and there will be hell to pay with your district manager.

Here's all I got for you. Try like hell to remember the times you pulled it off. When you stopped some prescribing stupidity or calmed down someone with the fear of the newly diagnosed. You're gonna have to make an effort to remember because no one else is ever gonna remind you. And some night when it feels like the inside of your head is about to collapse, you go find that memory and hang onto it tight until the inside of your head is better.

It'll help if you develop the ability to hang up your work problems with your lab coat at night, but that usually takes a few years.

You should also develop a dark sense of gallows humor. It can be a nice numbing agent.

That's all I have. Good luck.


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To The Class Of 2012: I Do The Best I Can To Help You Get Through The Rest Of Your Life.
To The Class Of 2012: I Do The Best I Can To Help You Get Through The Rest Of Your Life.
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