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THE DAY I ALMOST GAVE UP By Pharmacist Uyanne steven


The Day I Almost Gave Up “But those are all the people who work in the hospital now, doctors and nurses”. My face wore a very

gloom look at the sound of those words coming from a 14year old boy. Sam was ill with malaria and his mom brought him to the pharmacy to begin treatment with E-mal injection for 3days. As my colleague was preparing the injection, thinking I could have magic powers to persuade my colleague to administer a painless injection, he came to me and said “Sir please help me tell the nurse not to give it too hard”. He’s not a nurse! I replied, he’s a pharmacist but I’ll sure talk to him. After the injection, solely out of curiosity (curiosity surely does kill the cat) I called him aside and tested his knowledge about pharmacy and pharmacist and to my amazement he knew nothing! Absolutely nothing! This was bolstered further when I asked him to name the workers in a hospital- “doctors and nurses” he hurriedly answered. I persuaded him to think further but it came to nothing. He truly didn’t know where he was, he sincerely didn’t know of our existence. As time passed on, I pondered about the innocuous words of Sam. I got angry at myself for turning down the opportunity to read medicine. I felt bitter! “nobody knows who you are, you’re just a bloody chemists” those were the words ringing in my head. My friend who made the bold move of going to medical school after his first degree in radiotherapy gave me a call (devil at work) and told me he was back from Ghana. After work I stopped by, seemingly very happy with his decision, I queried why he chose to do it. He answered me with a small tale which I’d like to share. During his internship, his head of department (HOD) who had a PhD in oncology from a fancy school in the USA was his mentor. One day, he gave a patient his view on the prognosis of the cancer and asked the patient to share his opinion with the consultant. Few hours later the young consultant barged into his office and gave him a stern warning, reminding him that he should have gone to medical school if he wanted to practice medicine. At that moment, he said, he realized that no matter what he does, no matter what degree he adds, he’ll still be seen as ‘that guy in the lab’ and right then he made up his mind to be a doctor.  Well, I returned happy because I realized that mine was much minor than that.  It just required me to look on the bright side, which in truth, is really bright. I had a reality check and told myself the truth; I am not a doctor!! . That’s the mistake some of us make, we forget who we are and try to be like doctors, leaving our role for pharmacy techs to occupy.  We have a lot to offer. There are so many drugs and it’s our duty to know precisely how all of them should be used. The scope of pharmacy is so wide that if we really become drug experts as we so often say, then our role in the health team will be overwhelming. The dispenser will become indispensable! Pharmacists who know their onions are respected by other health professionals. A cardiologist for instance, won’t take you serious if you return his prescription because he prescribed clopidogrel and aspirin together. These are my thoughts and I’ll stand by it any day. Guys (ladies and gents) we’ve all felt this way somehow. We run from hospitals because of cases like my friend’s HOD but can we run from people like Sam? The answer is No! Pharmacists have to create their own niche!  We need to make a sizable impact on the profession by delivering an inimitable service that wouldn’t go unnoticed and appreciated by the public. Again when someone says ‘thank you doctor’ after attending to them, please correct them so that they would know without doubt what we are capable of doing. I’ve always been an advocate of a pharmacy career enlightenment group to speak to students at senior secondary level and educate them of the prospects of this profession. We are in it and rather than complaining let’s join hands to make it a respectful profession

Pharmacist Uyanne Steven,wrote in from Lagos

see also SEE WHAT EDUCATION HAS DONE TO OUR HEALTH SECTOR  http://mypharmacymydream.wordpress.com/2013/09/06/see-what-education-has-done-to-the-health-sector/#comment-87


  1. People not knowing about pharmacy is not the doctor’s fault, its the pharmacist’s fault. We have to stand up and save our image.

  2. Pharmacist Iduma Wilson

    Thanks my noble colleague. Yes, it is our duty to ‘sell’ our profession to the public through a quality service delivery and an unequivocal contention of that erroneous assertion and attribution of Pharmacist to doctors. And that we must jointly do for ‘AS MEN OF HONOUR, WE JOIN HANDS’…..

  3. is it proper for a pharmacist to prescribe and administer drugs to patients?
    its only in naija that you see such anomalies!!!!

  4. Pharm. Maduka uchenna prisca

    If we juxtapose this write up with an earlier article “see what education has done to the health sector”, we will see that the later clearly illustrates the former. I can’t count how many times I ve had to correct a patient in the hospital who has either called me a nurse or a doctor, the former more often than the later being a female. On one occasion I told the patient to go outside and read the sign at the door post but this adult was still lost as to what to call me. Do I blame her when in private hospitals, a nurse mans the pharmacy. Patients become inpatient when they get to the pharmacy. They want you to hand over their drugs without proper counselling and most of the time we yield to pressure and give out drugs like “bloody chemists”. I stand to be corrected that pharmacy is the most underpractised health profession. We are professionals for crying out loud. Our duties in the hospital should be beyond drug dispensing. Quality control units are absent in even tertiary institutions. Extemporaneous preparations are almost non existent. It’s not enough to establish UDDS pharmacy without daily wardrounds. Clinical pharmacokinetics for TDM is yet to be inculcated. A standard for practice need to be placed on hospitals without which a hospital cannot operate a pharmacy. We are the power house of the hospital. No other department generates income more than the pharmacy. Even the so called private clinics thrive on drugs. Our regulatory bodies are lily livered and seem not to care. We need to establish our indispensable presence in the hospitals by practising our profession to the fullest. Then we can be regarded.

  5. Thank God it is “almost gave up” not “gave up”

  6. Is it right for doctors to prescribe and DISPENSE…only in Nigeria u see such too

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