Posted by: Sara Valente15 FEB 2012
Being judgemental is an accidental and natural human defect that we can’t help but feel ourselves becoming when we are observing other people. Students often find themselves judging each other and their mentors because of our inquisitive nature. I am lucky to have had work experience at a community pharmacy and as I watched the pharmacists and dispensers work I often made judgements about the sort of decisions they made during their tasks. For example, I would question whether picking up a dropped pill from the floor, dusting it off and replacing it back in its blister pack would be appropriate! In a way, it is not my place to judge because every pharmacist is different and it is their choice as to how their practises are run. Also students are taught to follow the rule book meticulously because we are not experienced enough to make our own decisions whereas a pharmacist would be. A pharmacist knows their patients better and so would not always ask for identification for example. A situation that I would find very difficult to manipulate as a qualified pharmacist would be one in which a suspicious customer is asking for medicine that is not quite appropriate. For example, if the customer asked for a very large amount of paracetamol, laxatives or if they had returned to the shop multiple times or were using questionable private prescriptions. We are told to be wary of ‘dodgy’ customers and that we have the right to refuse a sale. However, I have seen pharmacists agree to sales that perhaps, to me, seemed wrong. As students can be slightly cocky and self assured I’m sure we would say, ‘of course we would refuse a sale we didn’t think was appropriate.’ However, I think if I asked myself honestly, I would rather give a customer the benefit of the doubt simply in order avoid confrontation or cause upset. Pharmacists must make quick judgements in difficult decisions and sometimes they have to rely on instinct. It is important that we judge our teachers and question their actions because it is from them that we learn all of our skills. It is important that we also judge ourselves and reflect so that we can learn from our own experiences.