Pharmacists don’t do New Age. We just aren’t trained for that.
For example, unlike our French counterparts, we don’t learn about naturopathy during our years at school. I wouldn’t be able to extract aspirin from a willow bark if someone broke their leg and was screaming of pain in the middle of a forest. Instead, we were insidiously taught to regard natural/alternative medicine similar to witchcraft and were told not to befriend those weirdos. In short, we’re a judgey bunch about non-conventional medicine.
However, in the last few years, alternative medicine has lost it’s association to New Age Lala-land nonsense and has become more mainstream. More and more patients ask their health professionals about it. So we either have two choices:
1) Bury our heads in the sand, shut down the idea STAT and call our patients stupid for believing in this crap (which will result in your patient being insulted, losing their trust in you and taking the supplement behind your back to prove to your judgey person that you’re an ass) -or-
2) Learn as much about it to better discuss the pros, cons and maybe grey zones so that our patients can make the best decision for themselves. You might have a conversation on how acupuncture is worth a try but that taking a supplement sold by some site with sketchy English is a bit worrisome. They still might take the stuff behind your back (no control on that). On the upside, at least they’ll remember you “as that nice knowledgeable person” (instead of that %?&*) and will feel comfortable to seek your advice again in the future.
I chose path #2. And that’s how I opened up to the idea of non-conventional medicine. I even tried some stuff out myself (Yes, I take Cold-FX when I’m sick even if the efficacy study was BS. I don’t care, it works for me). While I’m very careful not to use my professional title and status to influence my patients about the alternative practices I’ve tested (à la Dr.Oz), I am happy to discuss with them and I aim to remain objective when asked questions.
Outside of work though, whole different story. I’m likely to praise the merits of the Ayuverdic massage that helped my aches, Vitamin C to boost immunity, the benefits of meditation or the aromatherapy I use to sleep to my friends.
Although school has taught us to be mortal enemies, I’m okay with being friends with New Age woo-woo-ness.
Much love and hugs,