As well as managing a pharmacy, Georgi — known as the ‘TikTok Pharmacist’ to his patients — has been creating parody videos of life in community pharmacy for TikTok during lockdown, and has since gained almost 22,000 followers.
‘It is all a bit unexpected,’ pharmacist Georgi says when speaking about his recently acquired online fame.
‘I had actually been on TikTok for a while, but I only started posting recently after a girl at work suggested we make a video about life in the pharmacy and it just went viral instantly,’ he says.
Georgi started posting pharmacy content onto the popular video-sharing social network in August as a way to ‘pass the time’ and entertain himself during the national lockdowns.
He tells the Pharmacist that he was genuinely surprised by how well his content had been received.
‘My videos were initially aimed at a pharmacy audience, but I do get a lot of non-pharmacy people interacting with them too - I think people like the pharmacy niche,’ he says.
One of his most popular videos discusses common questions pharmacists are asked, to the song No Scrubs TLC, and has accumulated almost one million views.
‘If drugs could talk’
All of Georgi’s videos have a strong pharmacy angle, with many even featuring a fake pharmacy as the backdrop. However, he does emphasise that his videos are parodies and are not to be taken ‘too seriously'.
‘Most social media pharmacy accounts out there are serious,’ he says. ‘I do think mine is probably the only funny one out there.'
One series, which he calls ‘if drugs could talk’, does exactly what it says on the tin. The pharmacist morphs his face onto a picture of a drug and talks to patients.
Although all his videos are funny and lighthearted, many carry with them include serious health messages and warnings which, according to Georgi, have helped many of his followers.
‘I created a video which pointed out that people need to take their naproxen after food, as I find not many people are told this by their doctor or pharmacist,’ he explains.
‘Taking naproxen before eating can potentially lead to people being hospitalised, so it's a serious issue.’
Georgi adds that – in response to the video – he has received many comments from people who weren’t aware of this and ‘from now on they will be sure to eat something’.
‘I try to keep my videos varied, I want to make people laugh but I do also slip in some important messages so people can learn the odd thing while enjoying themselves.’
Georgi said that much of the inspiration for his 15-second videos comes from his followers – he tends to create content based on the response to previous videos.
‘For instance, some ask me to explain something I’ve said in a previous video, so I’ll create a video answering that question.’
Informing the public
Over lockdown TikTok took the world by storm, surpassing Facebook and WhatsAap as the world's most downloaded social media platform.
The app is currently most used by under-25s, meaning Georgi is reaching an audience who don’t, on average, use pharmacies that much.
He believes his videos are helping the general public develop a better understanding of what pharmacists do on a day-to-day basis.
‘A lot of people have left comments on my videos asking me why it takes so long to get a prescription ready, so I always make an effort to answer these queries and I even made a video about it.
‘After posting the video I had a lot of people tell me that they will now be a lot more understanding in the future.’
Georgi is also not the only healthcare professional garnering fame on the new social media platform – lots of doctors and nurses from across the world have begun posting educational and more lighthearted content – such as dancing – online.
‘I think a lot of medical professionals just want people to show the public that they can be fun, that we are not all just serious,’ he says.
‘When I decided I wanted to be a pharmacist, I was met with lots of stereotypes. People assumed I was going to become serious and boring, and I guess I want my videos to prove that we can be a lot of fun - I think it's the same for the doctors and nurses who are creating videos.’
‘The TikTok Pharmacist’
Georgie says he loves his job – adding that he was ‘a bit of a science nerd at school’ but is also ‘very much a people person’, so pharmacy allows him to explore both those passions.
‘My patients are really nice and know me on a first-name basis. I enjoy getting to know people in the community, and I live close to the pharmacy so I get to see my patients around the town a lot.'
He tells the Pharmacist that many of his patients are loving his videos – they’ve even started to call him ‘the TikTok Pharmacist’ – and he’s also had patients come in who he’s never seen before who tell him they recognise him from the social media app.
‘When my videos started going viral I didn’t know whether to carry on as I didn’t know how people would take them. But I’ve got a really good relationship with my patients, and they know me well and know I wouldn't ever mean to offend anyone,’ he says.
Georgi’s colleagues are also enjoying his content, with some pharmacists from other branches telling him they watch his videos during their lunch breaks. He also let his boss know when the account started to blow up.
‘My boss loves them. He understands that they’re lighthearted, but I did say that if a video ever oversteps the boundary to let me know and I’ll take it down,’ he says.
‘I work at a large multiple, so I have an agreement with my boss that I don’t mention where I work on my account, after all, it's separate to my job; my TikTok – it’s a personal hobby.’
To watch some of Georgi’s videos, click here.