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Practice Pearls

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  1. 24/07/2014

    Pearl: the 2 minute rule

    As pharmacists, we are slaves to a continuous string of demands on our time, and hence need to keep track of What Needs To Be Done Later ... keeping track of them all  takes it out of you.

    I have a book on Procrastination but I haven't got around to reading it yet.

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  2. 02/12/2013

    Pearl: Goodwill beyond measure

    With the Panadol Drops fiasco, now is the perfect time to share a Practice Pearl we have been using with great success.

    Googling 'inaccurate medicine measure' throws up numerous warnings: 'Don't use a kitchen teaspoon.' We all knew this.

    But using 'official' measures is not always as good as we thought. In a South Korean study in the Journal of Managed Care, one in ten measured doses of liquid medication using six measuring devices gave a volume error greater than 10 per cent, because of difficulty in seeing the calibration markings while measuring.

    Not to mention that some Australian conical measures (now withdrawn) failed TGA accuracy tolerance, worst with small doses.

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  3. 25/07/2013

    Pearl: TWO drops in one eye?

    On a 'slow pharmacy news' day, here's another look at one of the all time favourite Pearls from Pearlmaster, Peter Allen.

    Rx Chloramphenicol eye drops.
    Sig: 2 drops in the eye every 2 hours today, then reduce as directed.

    Q) What is wrong with this prescription?

    A) Two into one doesn't go.

    We all know that the eye only holds one drop. The second overflows and is un-necessary.  So here is the magic phrase that explains things and always makes them smile...

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  4. 16/11/2012

    Pearl: security of methadone takeaways

    'Listers may have seen a recent article in The Age newspaper "Methadone death prompts call for overhaul" which reported on yet another death associated with a methadone takeaway.

    Commenting a Health Dept official said that it was not "practically possible" to supervise the storage of takeaway methadone.

    Well, I'm not sure about that.....

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  5. 27/04/2012

    Pearl: I’d like ‘A bottle of cough mixture’ please.

    I’d like ‘A bottle of cough mixture’ please.

    You can supply the usual, or you can delve deeper. Who knows, it may be reflux–induced cough, or their prescribed Coversyl, which nobody suspects, or something else which discussion could discover.

    The magic phrase, an Open Question to which nobody takes exception is from my old and erudite Pharmaceutics lecturer Harold Barker.

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  6. 10/01/2012

    Pearl: No such thing as a complete break these days

    "70% of the respondents to this week's AusPharm poll told us they stay in touch with work at a minimum to deal with 'important' matters."

    Thus without apologies a moderately geeky rundown on How To Do Remote Computing, known among nerds (and cool pharmacists) as a VPN = Virtual Private Network and once you've done it you'll wonder why you hadn't tried it.

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  7. 09/12/2010

    Pearl: Roll out the puffer

    There's something really handy about getting sick when you are a pharmacist.


    Yes, really - it gives us a chance to discover that our medications and advice work like the books say that they do. Plus it provides an opportunity to practise on ourselves the information that we give to our patients.

    With my bad case of bronchitis (confirmed by X-rays) the prescribed amoxycillin together with the pred was working hard.  Most help however came from inhaling copious doses of metered dose bronchodilator. ('Nobody ever died from using too much, only from too little'). Sue, our young pharmacist, castigated me in the nicest way -  'but you know that you would get even more benefit from using a spacer.'

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  8. 19/11/2010

    Pearl: How to save $1200 a year

    Most of us run two wholesalers, to cope with the desperate 'Out-Of-Stock' situations with our main wholesaler. The service charge of $100 month irks, and is charged unless we spend $5000...which eats up any profits from the sales of the few service items we obtain to satisfy our customers.

    A smart colleague pointed out a way that most of us can avoid the $100 charge.

    Furthermore:  doesn't the CSO [Community Service Order] forbid this charge?  A billion dollars to the wholesalers each year is meant to cover occasional supply, one would think.

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  9. 02/09/2010

    Pearl: Oral Rehydration Therapy tastes lovely

    We all know the benefits of Gastrolyte etc. and can tell when somebody needs it.

    'You feel like a rag doll -- how would you like to be dancing by tonight?'

    'You don't believe it -- but you will.'

    Having decided that one of the drinks for treating diarrhoea / vomiting is appropriate, here is a tip to be added to what you already say; 'And don't top it up with any other drinks; that mucks up the balance.' (Usually you have to say it three times in three different ways -- until you see that they 'get it.')

    This further tip de-fuses the problem of it tasting like they are drinking sea water.

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  10. 15/07/2010

    Pearl: DD Registers

    De-fragging the files on a hard disk isn't difficult, and gives a kind of feel-good thing.

    A Controlled Drug (aka Drugs of Addiction or Dangerous Drugs) register gets fragmented in an annoying way, especially as it becomes close to being full. Most of us first go to the index page at the front of the book, and chase down the actual page of e.g Endone, which have become scattered all over the book.

    Sometimes that index is actually up to date.

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