Three Things Your Young Pharmacist Does Not Want You To Know.

Hey Tribe,

I am still trying to get used to children greeting me as I walk past them. It even moves me more when they add ‘Aunty’ to it. The one that even slays me is when the mothers of my paediatric patients call me ‘Ma’, I actually L..O..L, and give them the ‘Ma’ back with greater intensity.

I don’t know if it is because of my relatively small size or just because I am new to this adulting something.

Sometimes I still look at myself and think, ‘Oh Desire, you’re a pharmacist’ and I laugh at myself. Just the mere thought that people both young and old think I know what I am doing all the time is so cute, really.

I now talk to my parents about their health with such seriousness and I realize now how a license (and well, five years of training) could truly change things quite swiftly.

All of a sudden you can have a proper job, advice people assertively, have a ‘title’ imprinted on your clinical coat and whatnot, so it does have its perks.

Now, we would like to have all things pertaining to knowledge sorted and settled once we throw our caps in the air (which I never got to do, because guess who was late to her convocation?), but it doesn’t quite happen like that.

I cannot quite speak for other professions, as I have not done any research on this, but I can confidently speak on mine from experience and that of my juvenile (in the profession) colleagues.

I do know that as a budding pharmacist, there are certain things  that may be best left unknown and these are some of them;

The Expiration Date Of Your Drugs… Sometimes

Now, wait, pause.

Before I go on, let me just say assertively that I have never ever met any young pharmacist willing to sell expired drugs, never!

However, patients seem to be touchy about drugs that are about to expire (say about in a month or two pre-expiration date) even when the therapy is just for some days or a week.

This may make us a bit uncomfortable trying to convince clients and patients alike to buy the drug so we would rather avoid the conversation altogether.

The expiration date is the date at which the manufacturer can still guarantee the FULL potency and safety of the drug.

I am not sure where the logic that ‘almost-expired’ drugs are bad comes from, but, believe me, drugs which have not gotten to their expiration date still have their potency and efficacy in tact so you can take them comfortably and still get what you paid for, all one hundred percent of it!

FACTS: For expiration dates of drugs, cosmetics and food,

‘Use by’ December 2017 means that the manufacturer guarantees that the product is absolutely safe and efficacious until November 31, 2017.

‘Best Before’ also means ‘Use by’

‘Expiration (or expiry) date’ of December 2017 means that the manufacturer guarantees that the product is absolutely safe and efficacious until December 31, 2017.

In fact, these reports from Harvard Health and Medical Daily suggest that expiration dates might not be as relevant as we think they are. It really is a complicated issue, actually. You really should read the articles.

Trial And Error Is Part Of Our Job

This is especially common in the community setting (your resident pharmacy).

This is what occasionally happens between patients and pharmacists:


What this means is that we have to take our theoretical knowledge and put it into practice (as should be). As a matter of fact, theory and practice are equally important for us, practice and more practice is what we rely on majorly.

If we were dealing with say, clothes, you could adjust them if the fit is not perfect (not that sewing is easy, it’s not! I sew, so I know). However, because these are drugs, individual differences in genetic composition, as well as drug resistance, among other things, may not allow these drugs produce the expected results sometimes.

So, please, next time you take a drug and it does not work, remember that it might not be the pharmacist’s fault directly.

Now, I am not saying that we get it right every time. Just like everyone, we are constantly learning, we need experience to get better at our job. That is just the reality of life.

How Err… Young We Truly Are

This goes for both our ages in life and the profession.

Now, this might just be a personal case, but I found it to be a bit uncomfortable when clients at my first job asked me whether I had done NYSC, I said no, then they ask about internship, and I still said no. Their next step was to ask how old I am (some even skip the first step all together sef).

Here’s why;

You could, every so often, see the almost-instant decrease in trust (and sometimes, I didn’t actually blame them. This is their health we are talking about, not a pair of shoes).

This is why I believe young pharmacists might not be super forthcoming with their level of experience. It just tends to lead to a majorly unwarranted distrust

Just because I am both ways ‘young’ did (and still does) not mean that I had no knowledge of my profession. I don’t have the cure for cancer but my education is enormously significant, but you’d be surprised that some people still looked at me like I had no clue about life, so honestly, I preferred to just avoid the conversation.


To you, as a patient/ client reading this, some of us are really passionate about what we do. We really do want to be of help and make you feel better.

So, when you come across a really young pharmacist, please be polite. We went through 5-6 years of hard work for this. Most of us still learn constantly and really do our best.

Sometimes we need some time to think or seek counsel from more experienced colleagues as some of the answers may not be at our fingertips, so please do be patient. If you still have reservations, you could ask to see the Superintendent Pharmacist or someone with more experience, if available.

Where are my Pharmacists in the house???

Have you had any displeasing encounter with your pharmacist? Do you think we don’t do enough or maybe we do too much? Please be honest with us.

Let us know in the comments!

Thank you so much for reading and your feedback.

New posts every Sunday!




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16 thoughts on “Three Things Your Young Pharmacist Does Not Want You To Know.

  1. When I saw the title I begin to wonder where you got the info from until I began to read the bio section and intro to this post. Congrats on finally becoming an adult lol. I often feel weird when people address me with ma, the aunty greetings don’t bug me anymore but are rather endearing. Now as for the post, I’ve always felt somehow about using almost expired drugs or even eating almost expired food. Thanks for the clarification however. And as you said, you can understand we patients when we see young faces and question the experience and qualification especially in a country like ours where health care sucks mostly.
    Princess Audu

    1. Hey Sarah,
      Soo happy to see you here!!
      The Aunty thing reminds me of how old I am, and I don’t want to be old 😂😂
      I updated and provided better information on the expiry date issue above.
      I totally understand the fear, I just wish people would be nicer about it sometimes. To be quite honest, things are slowly getting better.
      Thank you so much for stopping by, hoping you’re here to stay 😊

    1. Hiii Funke,
      I also look out for expiry dates, but as long as I can use it within the specified time, I don’t bother too much with it.
      Your last words literally left me beaming like a fool, thank you Funke!!
      P. S. I love your blog, it is relatable and fun.
      Thank you so much for your kind words ♥

  2. Great and insightful post Desire. I hope that this educates someone. It can be really heartbreaking when customers /patients distrust you because of age and or experience or even stature.Someone asked me once to produce an I.D to show I was a pharmacist,he spent over 5 minutes trying to get me to convince him I was. (Relating experiences will make another post lol). Truth is the older folks definitely started somewhere.
    In any case, proper self esteem can help the young pharmacist to deal.I try to know as much as I can so that I don’t look foolish before the patient. And when I have to consult a senior colleague, I consider it an avenue to learn and to be better for the next patient/customer. So trust me or not, I’m getting better for myself and that’s the most important thing.

    1. Its nice to know I am not alone in the age-stature struggle, I am slowly getting used to it though.
      Omo, ID card?? Na wa oh!
      This comment literally made my day, very thoughtful and relatable, thank you Mayowa!!

  3. The part where a patient comes in and asks to see the pharmacist… The small me comes forward and she’s like I mean pharmacist… Times like that I keep quiet,the saleswoman then says,she is the pharmacist. The one that kills me is when one woman said “abeg she’s too small for what’s doing me” the thing bites me ehn.
    But all in all…may we get to the stage where we are no longer judged by our body size

  4. Lool. Well said Desire, if I begin to rant about the too many insults and jabs untop this matter ehn, I might not stop.😂 One thing that however keeps me going is delivering value with each patient. Patiently educate them and let them see that you genuinely care.
    It justs builds a trust relationship that gets them running back each time, and oh how that makes me proud. 😁 Cause they never remember they once called you small.

    1. I really like your angle actually, it’s a fresh perspective for me, thank you Steph!
      It’s funny how in the future we’d be laughing hard at all of this.
      I’m happy for this phase actually, it’d actually remind us of how much we have grown.

  5. ‘Trial and error is part of our job’ – eek, I’ll definitely not want to hear that from my pharmacist or doctor or pilot! haha! But I understand the point actually. 🙂
    As for young pharmacists, I’m usually proud to see one. I think it’s very impressive. I don’t know if this has anything to do with my age or if I’d be less impressed as I get older, lol. But right now, young professionals make me proud 🙂

    1. Ahhh, eez nor like that. It’s just that it does take time for us to be great at what we do, that makes us extra super careful because we are dealing with human lives. So, we need patient patients (see what I did there 😉) for us to get accurate answers.
      Awwwwww, thank you Amarachi for your kind words. See me feeling cool with myself now!!

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