The Pharmacists’ Guide to Speed Dating by @helenroot


I enjoy a good conversation on twitter and I have to say I have met some lovely new Pharmacy friends on there. However, I can’t help thinking some days that we Pharmacists are strange individuals at times. Maybe strange is unfair, maybe I should say passionate or inquisitive. No, I’ll stick with strange. We get into arguments with a person we’ve never met, about which of us works the hardest, is the cleverest, is the most professional, the list goes on. What happens when you mix these strange creatures called Pharmacists in a room? And here was born…

”The Pharmacists’ guide to Speed Dating”. Those 6 must ask questions that could change your life forever.

Now, before those of you Pharmacists who are in perfectly happy relationships with fellow Pharmacists attack me venomously, please this is a little fun. I am away of very happy partnerships, have even attended weddings of such successful partnerships, but it did get me thinking about the following. I thought about all the strange things Pharmacists ask each other. It’s like talking about the weather with everyone else. We seem to have a standard set of questions we ask each other and I just wondered why.

The following is to be read with a pinch of salt, a packet of sarcasm and a hint of irony.

Once a month, Friday night is speed dating night in the LPC venue. There gathers a group of highly attractive, intelligent, single Pharmacists, each hopeful that they’d meet their Mr or Mrs Right that evening. They’d been on other dates, but failed to find anyone who shared their keen passion for Pharmacy.  Each had 3 minutes to ask the most important questions they could in order to glean if they were the one for them. Here are those questions:

1)      Which university did you go to? – better ask this first in case a) I know them and can’t remember them b) I now remember you  and my mate dated  you in the first year c) the university is important, what if they went to one of those lower, less austere Schools of Pharmacy – the humiliation. We could never make that work.


2)      When did you qualify?  – It is a question that Pharmacists ask. Why is this? Does this tell us how clever they are? How respected they are? How much money they earn? – We ask it all the same.


 I think people often hide behind this. You can meet the ‘Newly Qualified/Junior Pharmacist” who uses being new as an excuse for their naivety or their reluctance to make ethical decisions. They ask silly questions and include where they work in their twitter bio and slate their company/colleagues/managers.


Or you get the “I’ve been qualified for 28 years”. These can seem safe and yet are so deadly. That often translates to “I am an old cynic who qualified 28 years ago, but I’ve moaned constantly about Pharmacy ‘not being like it used to be’ for the last 15 years.”  Be warned, this type can resemble The Death Eaters in Harry Potter. The suck every ounce of passion and enthusiasm you had for Pharmacy out of you in a matter of minutes.


Either way, it’s best to ask this question and if necessary, have prepared some additional probing questions to check whether you should duck out here and now from what remains of your 3 minutes.


3)      Where do you work? – Here is the contentious one. Do they work on community and thus have no clinical knowledge, not like a hospital Pharmacist? Could I be in a relationship with them? Or maybe they’re a Hospital Pharmacist? They have specialist clinical knowledge (in their field), but none of them ever have to make ethical decision like Community Pharmacists do. The doctors in the hospitals always are there to lend a hand. How would that influence our parenting skills?

Or imagine. What if they work for a large multiple – the shame? Or worse still, they could be a locum –how would I live that down?


4)      How busy is your Pharmacy, how many ‘items’ do you do? – Why do community Pharmacists insist on discussing items like it’s some sort of Olympic achievement.

“We do 8000 items a month and I’m the only Pharmacist”

“Well, once I did 400 in a day with one dispenser off sick.”

“That’s nothing; I once did 400 in a day with a dispenser off sick, my broken leg and   an eye patch on”

                Surely though if I ask this question I’ll know if they’re made of stronger stuff?

5)      Do you have a Clinical Diploma? – Again, what a bizarre question, but we find ourselves asking it. I wondered if people ask it because they believe those Pharmacists who have Clinical Diplomas are ‘proper’ Pharmacists. It’s obviously best to check because then, if they say yes, you’ll know they are a dedicated Pharmacist. If they say no, you can confidently exclude them from your list of hopefuls.


6)      Last but not least……Do you know Mr Dispenser? This is a new addition to any Pharmacy conversation I have had of late. The fascination with this person is the new Pharmacy must ask question. And if you say “Yes, I do”, well there is a fair chance you’ll get a tick and the chance of a proper date. Everyone wants to meet someone who knows Mr Dispenser….don’t they?


So, your 3 minutes is up. You’ve ask those all important questions and it’s time to decide. Will there be a second ‘date’ or is it ‘cheerio’?? The decisions is yours.


3 thoughts on “The Pharmacists’ Guide to Speed Dating by @helenroot

  1. What an interesting concept! But you left out my category of pharmacist: The (evil) administrator. Of course, I’m only evil when the inventory on a shortage item falls off, because the manufacturer’s failure to meet GMP requirements was all my fault. I am neither clinical nor truly distributive, although there would be no distribution without me to provide the product, and no meaning to clinical practice without products to utilize. I can see I won’t be getting a second date!
    Seriously, I’m so glad I married an engineer instead of another health professional. We’re on a par as far as society is concerned, and make about the same money. It is a bit embarrassing when he asks me to refill his “subscription,” though. 🙂

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