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The Power of Saying “I Don’t Know” – Drug Info Questions

I’ve been a practicing pharmacist for years now, and there aren’t many days that go by where I get asked a question that I don’t know the answer or there isn’t a well defined answer.  Often times in my current role, I get asked the toughest questions.  If it was easy, the MD, NP, PA, etc. would know the answer or easily be able to look it up.  I just want to encourage you that it is ok to admit that you don’t know something.

One of my favorite stories (not at the time), was taking one of my kids to the highly respected pediatrician in town who’d been practicing for 30+ years and he assessed one of our kids and stated that he had never seen that before.  My kid had inflammation of his eyelid, just on one side and the skin was very dry and sloughing off.  This was obviously unnerving as parents, but for some reason it really gave me peace of mind that he wasn’t going to make something up if he didn’t know.  It also gave me security as a practicing professional to say “I don’t know” or “I haven’t heard of that before”.  Our pediatrician had the comfort level to simply say he didn’t know what something was.

You might wonder what happened in our situation.  The pediatrician did what I would do.  He did some research and asked a colleague if he had ever seen this.  The other pediatrician had not seen anything like this either.  They were thinking that it was simply some irritation or exposure to a chemical or something that was causing the eyelid skin to react. It wasn’t a really serious situation and it resolved with a small amount of steroid cream for a few days.

Saying I don’t know is really an opening to learn something new, talk to another expert, and grow as a professional.  In my next post, I will lay out three situations where I wasn’t sure what to do.

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Written By Eric Christianson

February 7, 2018

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