This article originally appeared on and is written by Taison Bell, MD.

Dear pharmacist,

You just paged me and, I must admit, I’m not feeling excited to call back. I estimate that I probably get paged, called, texted, or stopped in person by you 102 times per day. Despite all of the interactions, I have never stopped to really consider our relationship. Here are a few of our most memorable moments:

You once paged me while I was driving home from the clinic after a hellish day. I had diagnosed my last patient with pneumonia and was prescribed fluoroquinolone. You called to ask me if I wanted to change the patient’s multivitamin from the morning to the evening; since (“as you know”) taking supplements that include divalent cations with fluoroquinolones render the antibiotic ineffective. “Of course!” I said, “Thank you for ‘reminding’ me.”

You once paged me while I was working in the ICU. I had just finished intubating a patient in wide-open septic shock and multi-organ failure, placing two central lines, placing an arterial line, and writing dialysis orders— all in just 1.5 hours! I was fist-bumping the nurses when I received your page; I ordered the wrong diluent for the vasopressin.

You asked if I could “kindly” reorder it so that the patient could—you know, while I’m celebrating—actually have a blood pressure that was compatible with life? You were once rounding with me and my team. You politely demurred when I incorrectly stated that (*insert gobbledygook*)-umab was a new monoclonal antibody that inhibits the RAOP (random and obscure protein) pathway to do something I don’t quite understand. You waited until I had finished correcting the record.

Despite clear evidence that they contribute to improved outcomes, a survey of pharmacists shows that a majority report job-related stress, due to role ambiguity and conflict with providers. I learned that they often feel underappreciated. So, to all of my pharmacy colleagues: You play a critical role in the care of my patients. It is far better for us, and most importantly for our patients, to have you around making up for our shortcomings and pushing us to deliver the highest quality patient care.


Your colleague

Taison Bell, MD, is an internal medicine physician. Visit to read the full article.