Dilemma — Pharmacist on a wild night out: the results

LAST week’s dilemma was particularly popular. I have copied the set up and a link in case you missed it. The scenario followed a group of pharmacy colleagues through a series events on a night out that escalated. We set the dilemma with the new Standards for pharmacy professionals in mind.

You can see the results of the polls throughout the dilemma below — we found them fascinating and hope you do too.

“It’s Saturday night — you are on a night out in your local town celebrating a pharmacist colleague’s 10 year anniversary with the company you work for. You are in a group of 10 people. Some of the group members are staff, some are partners of staff and the pharmacy owners are there too. One of the pharmacies in the chain is located in the suburbs of the town you are socialising in.”

The key question throughout is: are pharmacists, pharmacy staff and owners behaving in a way that is thought to be professional in light of the recent GPhC Standards for pharmacy professionals?

The results:

To begin the evening together the groups goes for a meal at a local Chinese restaurant. A kitty for alcoholic beverages is started and the first course begins.

A pharmacist colleague makes a throwaway racist comment about one of the restaurant staff members. One of your non-pharmacist colleagues gasps, but says nothing. Your pharmacist colleague laughs off the comment saying he was joking.

Would you intervene at this stage and if so what action would you take?
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The meal comes to a close and spirits are high. There have been four rounds of drinks throughout dinner. Everyone in the party have had at least two drinks. Someone suggests continuing the fun at a local pub.

On arriving at the pub seats are very limited because it is a busy Saturday evening. A table becomes available and your pharmacist friend moves quickly to secure the table for your party.

However, at the same moment a group of men make a claim for the same table and chairs. The encounter escalates and ends up with your pharmacist colleague pushing one of the men over. He falls over a chair but luckily is unhurt.

Would you intervene at this stage and if so what action would you take?
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It is now 23.30 and three of the party are heading off home. However, the remaining seven revellers are adamant that evening is not over yet. Your technician colleague suggests heading off to a night club to dance off the alcohol.

Once in the night club a round of alcoholic shots are ordered from the bar. Everyone takes part. Around 5 minutes later another round is ordered to finish the kitty. The group go dancing. You are having a good time. Your pharmacist friend, who is now rather intoxicated, decides to dance on the table. He falls off the table and lies on the floor. He is not hurt seriously but when trying to get up he knocks over the table and smashes some glasses.

Would you intervene at this stage and if so what action would you take?
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It is now 2am and the night club shuts. You head off home but are invited back with two other pharmacists for a ‘night cap’.

On arrival one of your pharmacist colleagues rolls a joint and offers it to you. You say no thanks but the other two pharmacists light up and begin to smoke.

Would you intervene at this stage and if so what action would you take?
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It is now 3am. You make your apologies and make a move to head off home. However, you notice on your way out that one of your pharmacist colleagues is bent over at a table in his kitchen sniffing a white powder. You ask what it is, and he proudly states that it is cocaine and offers you some. You decline and leave.

Would you intervene at this stage and if so what action would you take?
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I hope you found the results of this dilemma interesting. The reluctance to report immediately to the GPhC surprised me, and it was comforting to note that most pharmacists thought class A drug use merited direct referral to the GPhC.

The underlying question is to what extent should the GPhC be present in your life out of hours. Are you a pharmacist 24/7, and if so to what extent? Is it the case that the standards you uphold during the course of your practice should be the same when off duty, or is the off duty period a little more relaxed.

That perhaps is a blog for another day.

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