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Practice Pearls

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  1. 27/10/2009

    Pearl: Plenty Powerful Pink Pills

    Answer this paradox:

    Most of us deride homeopathy as being without effect. Most of us also believe in the placebo effect.

    Hmmm? 10 seconds to answer#.

    Longtime customer Charlie was off to do his driving test, anxious as. 'Can you give me something?'

    Nowadays doctors might prescribe a beta blocker, which cuts the 'jitters' without clouding perception but Charlie was in a hurry to his appointment.

    Sure: I created a label 'The Pink Tablets: Take ONE, or TWO maximum dose for nerves' and packed them into a small tablet vial.

    Ten dollars.

    'Take one of these, they are really powerful -- and if you are still really really het up in half an hour's time, take the second one. But that's all you can have. They will take the edge off your anxiety without affecting your driving ability.'

    What powerful medicine did I give Charlie, that didn't need a prescription?

    You guessed right ...

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  2. 08/09/2009

    Pearl: Poisoning Miss Dorothy

    Last weekend I almost poisoned my friend,  Dorothy. It was her second close shave, as she already had one near-death experience -- death by chocolate.

    Miss Dorothy is my girlfriend. She is short, with hair as black as half way up a chimney, and beautiful brown eyes that pierce my soul.  Dorothy lives with us, eats with us, shares our bedroom. My wife understands -- so that is alright.

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  3. 22/02/2009

     Pearl: How secure is your pharmacy data?

    In the washup to the recent 'How secure is you data poll' Peter the Pearlcaster says:

    One rule about backups: The only backup is the one you *use*, thus

    * MAKE IT EASY
    else you WON'T do it.

    Actually, two rules:
    * MAKE IT AUTOMATIC
    else you WON'T do it.

    Three rules...
    * OFF-SITE  ... Lightning, floods, burglars, self-immolating PCs. You keep your backups in the pharmacy?

    More... premium



  4. 12/12/2008

     Pearl: 'Selling' generic substitutes

    : Peter the Pearlcaster says: 

    'You want to buy a roll of Kodak film...  will two be enough?' That line we were taught many moons ago, at Kodak school, and you might not be surprised that they did often take two rolls. (And have you stopped beating your partner?) There are ways, and there are ways of asking questions that prompt towards the 'right' answer.  Watch any barrister in action.

    Pushing generics is a Good Thing -- not only for our patients, also towards keeping us in business. Helping the boss's bottom line protects an employee pharmacist's job too. There are a few ways of going about this that have proven successful.

    Where it is appropriate, let it be said.

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  5. 12/11/2008

    : Pearl: recycling returned medicines

    : Peter the Pearlcaster says: 

    Just today a customer who is also a family friend phoned;
     
    "They have taken me off Tegretol, I will return several unopened packs to you. I don't want any money for them -- but you could give them to somebody who couldn't afford them."
     
    "Sorry, no, we simply don't do that."
     
    "But how wasteful is that?"
     
    Here are a couple of proven clinchers to use in this situation, which most of us have faced -- sometimes they request a refund even...

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  6. 02/10/2008

     Pearl: A red hot tip

    : Peter the Pearlcaster says:

    Ever jammed your thumb? Slammed it in a door? Clobbered the wrong nail with a hammer?
    It THROBS you bet.
    Makes you want to release the haematoma pressure any way you can. Once I tried an electric drill with a small bit, but soon gave up because the pain was exquisite.
    And when can you find a travelling dentist when you are in agony?

    Then I remembered what an old pharmacist had told me; it seemed unlikely, but when you are desperate.....

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  7. 11/09/2008

    Pearl: Dr Who and the universal pleaser

    : Peter the Pearlcaster says: Dr Who knew a lot of things, and one of the best things he knew had significance to all mankind, and as to all creature-kind as well. Something that he learned from community pharmacy -- perhaps from reading this exact piece (it IS possible),  something that is one of the most powerful forces in the whole universe.

    The placebo.

    Which pharmacists as Latin scholars  know actually means 'I please.' Not what most people think... a medicine without any intrinsic effect.

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  8. 11/08/2008

    Pearl: safe key safe

    : Peter the Pearlcaster says: This pearl for the keeper of the keys is the key to the safe-keeping of the keys to the Controlled Drugs safe.

    Say that again?

    Looking after the key to the narcotics safe can be a logistical problem. How does one manage to control the key or keys? With change of shifts, there can a variety of pharmacists in charge.

    One way is for every pharmacist to have their own key, but that can be both a nuisance to control, and expensive to cut multiple security keys.

    What is your system for when a locum arrives to take over, the boss is in Bali, and your shop assistant must not have access to the drugs safe?

    There is a good, safe solution.

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  9. 31/07/2008

    A script for a script for an SSRI

    : Peter the Pearlcaster says: When dispensing a prescription for one of the newer anti-depressants, do you feel overwhelmed that you need to cover so many important points and that it will take ten minutes?

    Well here is a typical conversation that seems to work. It has been looked over by People Who Know About These Things. Distinguish yourself from your no-frills neighbours, and come across as the empathetic caring person you are, for when someone is sad and down.

    And if you mean it, touch them gently at the end. Everything helps.

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  10. 09/07/2008

    Pearl: Just tell me the bad news

    : Peter the Pearlcaster says: Does it really upset you, like it does me, when the first thing a patient asks is, "What are the side-effects of my new medicine?"

    I tell them, "For a start, if you DON'T take it, there is ZERO chance of your getting benefit from it, isn't there?"

    Now, you can write something on the back of their prescription repeat form to make the point that should get their thinking right about our wonderful modern medicines, and that they will remember.

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