Guest Post: Badges by Candy Sartan

Ladies and Gentleman of the Class of 2012,

If I could offer you only one tip for the future, badges would be it.

The long term benefits of wearing badges have been proved by area mangers that customers can complain about you easier whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience…

I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh never mind; after six months of working with the public you will be ready to retire.

But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked until the frown lines and eye bags took hold….

You’re not as fat as you imagine, but cut down on the Christmas biscuits and chocolates from patients just in case.

Don’t worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve a dosage query by chewing bubblegum.

The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday when you realise you forgot to send the order.

Do one thing every day that scares you like telling the addicts that you forgot to send that order and have now run out of methadone.

Sing, but make sure you have a broadcasting licence.

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts, take extra care when dispensing those lisinopril.

Floss, nobody can take medical advice from a pharmacist when he has lunch in his teeth, they will not hear anything you say they will be too distracted by your mouth.

Don’t waste your time on jealousy; sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…but howerver many MURs you do, it will never be enough for the powers that be.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults; they are usually from the same people, one week you give them their script in superfast time and you’re great, the next week you owe them something and you’re the worst pharmacy EVER.

Keep your old invoices, throw away your old biros that have dried out.


Get plenty of calcium, copious amounts of milky tea or coffee.

Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from standing for eight hours a day.

Dance…even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own dispensary.

The days are long and you need to find ways of keeping your spirits up.

Read the directions, know the side effects.

Do NOT read pharmacy magazines, they will only make you feel inadequate.

Get to know your locums, you never know when they’ll be gone for good and you’ll have to cover your own holidays.

Be nice to your dispensers; they are the best link to a tidy and smoothly running dispensary.

Understand that customers come and go,but for the precious few you should hold on to, they will get older and the amount of items per month will only increase.

Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography with delivery drivers because the older you get, the more you need your prescriptions delivered.

Work for a multiple once, but leave before it makes you hard; work for an independent once, but leave before it makes you soft.


Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, GPs will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, GPs were noble and customers respected their pharmacist.

Respect your staff. Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have public liability insurance, maybe you have union representation; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don’t mess too much with your hair, it doesn’t look professional to have a neon blue mohican in the pharmacy.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it.

Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it’s worth. But trust me on the badges…


4 thoughts on “Guest Post: Badges by Candy Sartan

  1. The advice sounds time-tested and wise (and true) for one still wet-behind-the-ears.

    But, what are the badges?

    By the way, with the suggestion to dance…what sort of music does a pharmacy in GB have going on the radio (or, overhead public address system)?

    Keep your old invoices, and ‘throw away your old biros that have dried out’ is an unfamiliar expression, but Wikipedia refers to ballpoint pens. Do you have drug company representatives that offer free pens to everyone? They are banned, now, but when we used to receive them, customers always used to manage to find a way to pick them up. We never had pens to throw out when they were colorful, with clickers that could be used as laser pointers, fishing lures, instruments to perform eye examines, automobile tire pressure gauges for or turn into EKG calipers.

    Mentioning the consideration of dispensers…are dispensers only the registered pharmacists, or are they certified technician, interns, pharmacist assistant, or anyone else that works in the pharmacy?

  2. Ha! Really good blog post!
    @ldplaceboeffect is seems to be a pharmacy version of the baz luhrman song from the nineties. The link is at the bottom, I don’t think it’s a serious piece of work lol.

    Maybe you have to be a certain age to remember it! 🙂

  3. i was privy to this prior to it’s twitter release, and it is purely based on experiences of our working day. the badges are of course name badges – to make sure people know exactly whose name to yell and specifically who they are swearing at….

    watch this space, because this is one talented artist!

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