Nursing Voices

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Nurses, Drug Reps, and Viagra Pens

There is an interesting new blog on the Internet that you should go check out. It’s Johnson and Johnson’s new corporate blog, JNJ BTW. I started leaving comments over there a couple of weeks ago, and now I’m getting hits on my own blog from J&J. I hope some of my new readers are drug reps. I want to help them learn how to get along with hospital staff so they do not suffer their own death at the hands of a nurse.

Nurses have a love-hate relationship with drug reps. There are days when we don't have time to listen their spiel, and they always seem to come to the unit during the most inopportune times. Seasoned reps know that the fastest way to a nurse’s heart is through his or her stomach. Reps who excel at their job bring in deli food when nurses are trying to get off of the unit for lunch. Reps who haven’t learned this lesson arrive during mealtime empty handed; these reps are doomed. I once refused to talk to a rep during an evening shift until he brought pizza to the unit. He was a new rep, and he thought I was kidding until I gave him directions to get to our favorite pizzeria and then I showed him the elevator. He came back to the unit an hour later with pizza and flowers for the staff. Nice touch.


Nurses also demand pens and other goodies when drug reps come calling. I don’t know why for sure, but I think it’s because we know that the drug companies are giving things to the doctors, so we want some stuff, too. Nurses covet Viagra pens, so if you are a Pfizer drug rep, you better have a lot of those pens in your pocket when you walk onto a nursing unit. I, however, think Risperdal popcorn is the best goodie under the sun. It is easy to cook, contains no active drug ingredients, and it is a quick, healthy snack when nurses don’t have time to go off the unit to eat. I know that Ed Silverman from Pharmalot wrote a salty review about the product, no pun intended, but I love the popcorn, and so do other nurses who have been forced to work a double shift without getting a break.



My sincerest thanks go out to Johnson and Johnson for making Risperdal popcorn, and for their other groundbreaking work in developing new goodies for nurses who love to eat.

18 Comments:

Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

All these pens! It must have a few laughs when one has 'viagra' down the side of it.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Impetua said...

I used to joke that the Viagra pen that I got from a rep didn't write unless you held it straight up-and-down. :)

I also have a cool OxyContin one with a little pull-out dosage chart on the side -- like the maps rolled up above the blackboards in grade school. A hundred and fifty years ago. When I was a child.

11:19 PM  
Blogger NYC EMS said...

I use my pen more then my stethoscope!

5:22 PM  
Blogger Patricia said...

*sigh*

Drug reps are not allowed on the units at my hospital anymore.

One of my favorite drug rep memories happened about five years ago. We had a drug rep bring in dinner and then apologized that it wasn't very good. It was excellent, but she wouldn't believe us. So...she took our names and phone numbers and invited those of us who listened to her information out to a VERY nice restaurant a month later.

Of course, it helped that she was a rep for the best drug EVER--propofol!

6:07 PM  
Blogger Gerbil said...

I pick up drug pens when I go to conferences. I think it's funny that drug reps come to psychologists' conferences. But I don't care about getting prescription privileges--I just want the pens!

And I think the "contains no active drug" disclaimer on the Risperdal popcorn is just too precious. The next time I go to the movies, I'm going to ask for butter, salt, and extra risperidone on my popcorn.

7:02 PM  
Blogger Fallen Angels said...

Before I returned to school I worked as a medical biller. There was a rep that came every single Friday between 11:30 and noon... always with some sort of goody, often a complete lunch for the office. Guess which rep got to talk to the Docs the most?

12:09 PM  
Blogger Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

I have one issue with your beloved popcorn. I had an elderly lady come in with a bag of stuff she got while at an AARP sponsored medical conference. She has a friend with breathing problems and she wanted to give her the "Theophylline" she got from the conference. The "Theophylline" she showed me was a bag of your beloved promo popcorn with the drug logo on it. I delicately had to explain to her that it was a snack not a drug she had with her,,,back then the "microwave popcorn" logo was not very prominent. Hopefully the advertisers that came up with that one print "microwave popcorn" in letters as big as the drug they are advertising. It is good popcorn. I like extra salt on mine...

8:12 AM  
Blogger Smalltown RN said...

Well we dont get drug reps on the units..that is just a taboo...what we do get are the reps who are demonstrating new equipment...and you are right...food and goodies is the best way to get a nurses attention...well no that is not true...but it does help...

12:58 PM  
Blogger Levana said...

If Viagra put its name on pencils rather than pens, it might remind a few musical thrift-shop hounds of that old song, "My Pencil Won't Write No More"...

10:22 AM  
Blogger jaz said...

I once reviewed an interesting book by a former Pfizer rep.

It is called "Hard Sell," and it describes, of course, the early days of the Viagra phenomenon as well as being a tell-all look into the life of a pharm rep.

11:53 AM  
Blogger tammyswofford said...

We see less and less of the drug reps and it does seem that the pens are cheaper these days. The ink leaks or the pen is a cheap plastic.

Donuts are still a cheap shot in my book and when they are delivered in the afternoon I know the classless rep got a dozen for half price, if that.

Poor Jean-Luc. I have been over on his site in the past and I guess the Galaxy is quiet these days. smile

6:20 PM  
Blogger Prudence said...

We do love getting pens, don't we?

It's the same here actually. Med reps should always be bringing food if they want to hold the attention of healthcare staff.

Also, the reason why I love getting pens from med reps is that it's I think the best way I remember the products they're trying to sell me.

---Prudence, http://tesstermulo.com

9:14 PM  
Blogger deadrose said...

Having worked front desk in a small private practice, I know just how welcome a drug rep with food can be. Oh and pens. Lots of pens, and notepads.

My mom, many years ago, treasured her stash of Doxidan pens with the quote "Doxidan in the PM for a BM in the AM" emblazoned on them.

She knew no matter how desperate we teenagers were, we would never snag one for school. Ever.

11:29 PM  
Blogger DrugMonkey said...

I have a bad habit of sticking whatever pen is in my hand into my mouth when it comes time to clack away on the computer.

This habit was broken temporarily when I had a lab coat full of Viagra pens. I couldn't put one in my mouth. I just couldn't.

Not that there would be anything wrong with that.

11:06 PM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

Dear Drugmonkey:

You crack me up!

10:51 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

I work in the Pharmacy and used to get all the great freebies..But now I have a boss with a concience and can't get any of the great free pens or anything like that.
I also would like to get some for my mom who is a nurse at a nursing home which doesn't seem to get the over flow of reps.
If there is anyone out there with any advise I would love to hear it

7:42 PM  
Blogger Thebest323 said...

i get all my "drug pens" from conferences or yeah, when the drug rep comes because nurses are always losing them and we have to keep them but it never really happens...

Cheers,
Jen

Custom Pens

10:16 PM  
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2:51 AM  

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