Monday, November 19, 2007

Pharmacist is the least sexy profession... least in the all important (just made up on the spot) pay to sexiness ratio.

Your average retail pharmacist now makes over $110,000/yr. However, the job has pretty much zero sex appeal. Think about it. How many guys have ever had women swoon over them when they mention they're a pharmacist? You don't get much more old fashioned and boring (at least on paper) than a pharmacist.

When you think of a pharmacist, what's the first image that come to mind? I've been around the profession too long to have a good idea what the common person thinks. However, I'd wager that the first image that comes to mind is one of those old fashioned drug stores you see in old movies. Behind the counter is an older gentleman with a conservative haircut and conservative clothes that aren't particularly stylish. He'd be smiling and saying hi to all the 70-80 year old women who walk in. "Hi Mrs. Smith, I ordered those vitamins for you!"

Of course, our imaginary pharmacist would drive an old Buick or something. No, German luxury cars for him. He'd live in a nice, quaint, not spectacular house with a conservative wife who bakes cookies and gardens all day and a couple honor roll kids.

Now, I could be wrong (and I did exaggerate on how boring the profession seems). However, is there anyone outside of the profession that thinks pharmacists can be fun and exciting people? When you're a lawyer, you get to wear nice, expensive suits, drive flashy cars and entertain clients at upscale restaurants in the heart of the city. Doctors have that whole "I'm saving the world" flair about them. Plus, everyone knows that physicians generally get paid very well. While I'm stereotyping here, I might as well mention the sexy nurse stereotype for women.

Pharmacists don't have any of this flair. I mean, even though pharmacists make plenty of money, doesn't it seem pretty odd to think that a lot of them could be out driving around in BMWs and wearing designer suits to fancy gourmet restaurants in their time away from the pharmacy? We look so uptight in our short white coats and our collared shirts and ties. If one happened to come across their local pharmacist dressed to kill for a night out on the town, it would almost be like finding out Clark Kent was really Superman.

Being a pharmacist is just not a glamorous profession. You'll never see a show mainly about pharmacists, but you'll see a million ERs, Gray's Anatomies, and Boston Publics.

This actually brings me to another thing I was thinking about today. Why hasn't anyone ever tried to make a show about a pharmacy? There's plenty of other stupid sitcom ideas that hit television. Why has this one never surfaced? From various pharmacists' blogs, you can tell that a lot of weird and funny stuff happens in a pharmacy on a daily basis. However, I think that's part of the reason we'll never see a show like that. The only thing funny stuff that happens in a pharmacy is due to the boundless stupidity of people. Whether it be a customer, a doctor's office, a coworker, or an insurance company, stupidity is the common theme.

Now, I can hear you saying, "but we love watching stupid people on TV. Why do you think we watch The World's Dumbest Criminals or Jerry Springer?" My theory is that those are examples of rare stupidity, and we like to laugh at them in disbelief. Pharmacy stupidity is so common that it borders on normalcy. From the patient who bitches about the pharmacy not having his medication in stock for the 4th month in a row, even though he had been told 3 times previously to call in his refills a few days before he runs out, to the doctor's office that no matter how many times you tell them it's illegal, still tries to leave Percocet prescriptions on the pharmacy voice mail, stupidity runs rampant.

After the 7th billion time you see the same stupid things happen, it stops being funny... and that's another problem... you hardly ever get any unique stupid situations. I swear, there are no unique situations in retail pharmacy. Every pharmacist who's been working more than 3 months in retail will have at least 1 example of any story any other pharmacist can think of. Within 3 months, you're guaranteed to catch someone trying to pass a fake narc script, have a customer chew you out for a problem that isn't in any way your fault, have someone show you a cut, bruise, or rash on part of their body that you really did not want to see, answer a variety of questions about bodily conditions that a sane person would not dream of bringing up in public, sit on hold with an insurance company for literally 30 minutes before finding out that the cryptic rejection message you received means the medication requires prior authorization, and of course.... my favorite... a customer dropping off 15+ prescriptions at the same time written by some numb nuts hospital resident that made some sort of mistake on just about every one of those 15+ prescriptions. However, because said resident read "PRINT NAME HERE" on the script blank and interpreted that as meaning "WRITE IN INDECIPHERABLE HIEROGLYPHS," it's impossible to track him down to find just what the fuck he actually wanted to give this patient (that's assuming the numb nuts even had any idea what he was doing in the first place).

See what I mean... there's just nothing sexy about this job.


FuturePharmer said...

Whether or not the we are still the "most trusted profession," is probably up for debate. However, trust and respect doesn't seem to translate into sexiness. I know several pharmacists who drive nice European cars, play golf with the docs and lawyers on their days off, and even participate in "society." However, to the people who only know them when they are standing behind our counter, they are just another member of retail.

This is association with retail instead of healthcare is the source of many of the problems associated with pharmacy. People expect retail to be fast, where they will wait hours for "healthcare."

Even those who work in a more clinical setting, who haven't "sold" drugs in many years still have their title associated with retail.

I think we should add sexiness to the list of things that our profession should strive for. I do continue to think that as soon as the profession as a whole can be viewed as healthcare we can gain many of the things we want.

BTW I think that a pharmacy setting for a sitcom would be awesome. I would so watch that.

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with you. Most people don't even know what a pharmacist really does. Average answer: they count pills and put them in a bottle Um, they do a little more than that, lol.
I also think that the general public has no idea how much pharmacists get paid. $100,000 is basically what a pediatrician gets or a general practitioner. That's insane. But do most people know that? nope.

Pharmacy God said...

October, 1995.

I filled in on a Saturday afternoon for a friend so she (and the other pharmacist at her store) could go to a wedding for a former technician.

Two little black dresses on two young female pharmacists = SEXY.

Too bad that wasn't the dress code for our chain... Women should dress conservatively in a manner that reflects the professionalism of our business. I'd rather have hotties behind the counter instead of Aunt Mildred.

I had a post a few months ago about the ASHP's talk to your pharmacist campaign. I think that those ads took any sexiness that the profession may have had and threw it out the window.

Un-PC RPh said...

Haha about that sitcom idea, my old partner and I used to wonder out loud about that. We picked out celebrities to play our roles.. we imagined putting our outrageous customers in even more outrageous situations. Sadly, I doubt the idea would ever sell, but we had a good time imagining it.