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The Pharmacy Polka

From the moment we step foot on the pharmacy floor, We start a dance with risk as we shut the door. I could pass the wrong person’s meds into your hand, I could give you Mr Smyth’s, not Mr Smith’s, you must understand.

The meds could get put on the wrong sliding shelf, Amlodipine instead of amitriptyline, what if I’m checking by myself? What if I give you doxazosin not diazepam, What if my colleagues dispense mirtazapine instead of midazolam?

What if its prazosin, pravastatin, pramipexole? What if its levetiracetam, levothyroxine, levamisole? What if I give you gel, when on the script its cream?

Immediate release? Prolonged release? It is a nightmare, not a dream.

Capsules, tablets, soluble and enteric coated preps, Boxes look the same. This is an error but we followed all the steps. This script is out of date, this script is unsigned.

We gave him teva, he wants actavis. I’m losing my mind!

There’s someone needs to talk to you, there’s a flu jab waiting here. A lady needs the morning after pill and these scripts we need to clear. ‘Can you come and look at the controlled drugs balance please?’ ‘We are missing some drugs!’ ‘But this chap has a wheeze!’

Scripts coming in, scripts going out.

They all want the pharmacist but she’s dancing about. She’s waltzing with walk-ins, a rumba with repeats, A foxtrot with flu jabs, it would be sweet…

Except the risk is real, the dance is no game, She’s not dancing for fun, she’s not dancing for fame.

The dance is a battle to keep up with the workload, Providing safe healthcare but the team is in overload.

They’re salsa-ing with services and disco-ing with drugs. But the party isn’t fun and the team all need big hugs.

The patients don’t understand that pharmacy isn’t a dance, The work isn’t safe if you’re overtired and in a trance.

The risk is so very real and the dance is too much stress. Errors cost lives and our teams are in distress.

So if you work in pharmacy, and you’re all tapped out, Pull together, work together and let’s all shout.

Let’s tell them that our dance isn’t fun and our dance isn’t right, Let’s show the world that we won’t be beaten, and we are prepared to fight.


About the Author

Laura Buckley is a pharmacist based in Yorkshire, England. She currently holds a post managing a community pharmacy alongside maintaining a blog about her life as both a mother and a healthcare professional. Blog – ( 

She wrote this poem after a stressful shift. “It infuriates me how our pharmacy teams are rushing round and stressed beyond belief and there isn’t enough going on to resolve the situation. I started this page to raise awareness and I hope that I’ve taught some people about what goes on in pharmacy. Keep up the fight pharmapeeps.”


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