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Readers Respond: The Real Life of a Pharmacist

Responses: 23

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When choosing a career, it is helpful to get information about it from those who actually work in the occupation one is considering. Please share information about your career as a pharmacist so that those thinking of entering this field can make an informed decision.

  1. Describe what you do as a pharmacist?
  2. What do you like about being a pharmacist? What don't you like about it?
  3. With the proper training, how easy or difficult is it for someone to get an entry level job as a pharmacist?
  4. Are you happy you became a pharmacist? Why or why not?

too many pharmacy schools

Go to Nursing School!! Pharmacists are going the way of the shoe repairman...being replaced by outsourcing, automation, and technicians.
—Guest kirok

AVOID PHARMACY DEGREE

I finished my pharmacy degree in dec 2010 and now in may 2012 am still unemployed!! Its soooo difficult to find work!! You go to university to get an education and a job that will pay the bills, not struggle to find work and be unemployed!! Alot of my class mates are in the same position! If your smart then go into dentistry, medicine or optometry!! I regrrt doing pharmacy, its a wadte of time and money!!
—Guest fay

Really stressful

I"m a registered pharmacist in the Caribbean and wow, I didn't realize others in the profession felt the same way I did. When people come to the dispensary they are impatient and act rudely. I sometimes wonder did I ever behave like this before entering this field....
—Guest Shane

Pharmacists ...we're better than this!

I agree with all responses regarding how regrettable the profession is for those who have a true passion for caring. I am a Doctor of Pharmacy and I also have a masters in public health. Several things annoy me. Pharmacists are one if the most educated professionals that have been minimized to being Bill, Catherine or Tonya. Personally that is unacceptable in my professional setting. Do patients walk into a physicians practice and say "hey John". Absolutely not! It is not a slight against pharmacists who received degrees in pharmacy prior to PharmD's being the standard at all. However, even college professors and school principals and other PhD's carry their professional credentials when dealing with patients. Why do we succumb to just accepting that! The retailers have made this profession ridiculous but WHY are we not standing up for ourselves and demanding some changes. Hours, Schedules, Holidays etc. all need to be addressed. It is insane that you can rarely get a minute to eat a meal.
—Guest Casey

DON'T DO IT!!!

Turn around and run, DON'T WALK, the other way!!! Pharmacists get paid well - but you are selling your soul to the devil! It is one of my most regrettable decisions I have ever made in my life!! I have a PharmD an a BS in Biology and I can not find a different job to save my life! This career has made me hate people. The large retail companies are out here for a buck - they could not care less about their employees, much less their customers.
—Guest drdj

Rxy Mgr

I have been a pharmacist for 30+ years. Each year the stress increases and so does the demand. I've been saying for some time not to go into pharmacy, once we had it made now we're just highly paid pawns in a money exchange. Take time and listen to people that tell of the opening of 26 rxy schools in 3 years no jobs due to the decreasing economy. These factors are real, please do plenty of research and stay out of pharmacy. Look at the jobs listed nationally and then think of the 200,000 pharmacists out there.
—Guest Paul

No Job

I gave up my job in Wisconsin to join my husband in Massachusetts. With a BS and Master's degree licensed in 5 states including Massachusetts and New Hampshire I can't find a job. Lots of experience-last job in a clinic for an Indian Tribe. Not even an interview. Never had this problem before. I attribute this job market to a Pharmacist glut and age discrimination.
—Guest Jean5720

Market is saturated

Pharmacists get paid decently. Up until a few years ago, there were many jobs to choose from. However, the market is very competitive these days because of the influx of new graduates from pharmacy programs without enough positions to meet the supply. Employers are now on top having their pick from the big pile of applicants. The job satisfaction itself isn't really that bad but it all depends on the people you work for. Despite the stress and sometimes long hours, working with a great staff will make your day go well and prevent you from looking elsewhere for another job. But I guess this goes for most jobs out there in my opinion.
—Guest rob from drugschools.com

Great job.........in the Past!

Pharmacy was a promising career 15 years ago when I qualified. Since then it has slowly but surely slipped down the pan. Added stress, added services, more paperwork, less staff hours, and it gets worse as time goes. My advice to anyone wanting to pursue pharmacy as a career...DON'T. it's not worth it anymore.
—Guest Manny

Market is Flooded With Pharmacists

I have been looking for a job for 8 months, but no success. They called me for an interview, but no hiring. Also, as I have retail experience, none of the hospitals replied to me; and on top of all that, none of the retailers are hiring. People who called me for an interview are 60 miles away from my place.
—Guest Rphjobseeker

Very limited employer choices to choose

Do not spend 6+ years in school only to find that there are no jobs out there for pharmacists. New pharmacy schools are popping up all over the place resulting in a glut of pharmacists. When supply over strip demands, unemployment occurs. Salary will go down. Benefit will decrease. Worst of all, there are very few employers out there. Community pharmacies can't compete with chains. Even chains are killing smaller chains. In any particular market you are lucky to see 3 competitors out there. What that means is that you have at most 3 employers to choose from for your entire career. They know that too. So they can abuse you anyway they want. The job is stressful. Customers treat you like a fast food worker. Managers pushing more responsibility on you without help. Good luck if you can get a bit to eat during your shift. Staying late without pay to get your work load done to avoid being written up for 'poor performance'.
—Guest jn.1457

Allan in Kansas

It is indeed sad that community pharmacy is dominated by chains that place profit well above patient care! Chain managers seldom understand our highly stressful roles, judging job performance by Rx sales, not by patient satisfaction or outcomes. In most settings, pharmacy technicians have almost no formal training--chosen to fill an opening because they worked somewhere else in the store--not because they understood our roles. The state tech exam is a total joke! Chain managers do not want National Tech Certification to be required (demonstrating a basic level of knowledge and competency), as that would cost more. Therefore, pharmacists must continually train new "techs" off the street---responsible for their errors---while performing a heavy workload within a substandard workplace. Another factor negatively impacting pharmacy is drive-up windows, reducing communication with patients and promoting an impression that we are no more than glorified McDonald's with a little longer wait.
—Guest Allan

Still the optimist

Wow....I did my own small scale research on this profession. I went and talked to 3 different pharmacists working retail within my local area. I had great feed back and encouraging comments. I will be in my mid 40s when I graduate and I am determined to graduate on top of my class. But now I am also considering the advice about gaining hospital experience at the very beginning and I can see why that increases my odds of a secured career. I am a veteran and when I was in the service I was an army medic and was stationed in BAMC, an army medical center and enjoyed that experience of working directly with in/out patients, physicians and pharmacist.
—FuturePhrmStudent

Pharmacy going down the drain

I have been practicing for ten years now and the profession is lost. There was a big push towards clinical pharmacy when I was in school (though most of our professors had "side" jobs in retail because that's where the money is). Now there is a push for immunization training????? For pharmacists???? The above post about gimmicks is dead on as well; retail is all about the bottom line, not patient care. When I started pharmacy school many of the pharmacists I talked to said "don't do it, go into physical therapy or some other field". I sure wish I'd listened. There are other opportunities besides retail but they are not/were not under a shortage and are becoming more scarce. Good luck young folks!
—Guest tom

the economy is to blame

I still believe the zero growth economy is to blame more than a glut. Part timers going full time, not being able to retire, fewer stores opening - this is all the result of an awful economy. I do think there are too many schools and I am so unimpressed with the new graduates (can't think outside the box and don't know half of what's in the box), but if the economy picks up, you should still have employment. However, stagnant salaries, no growth opportunities, poor working conditions, those are here to stay. If you're smart enough, go to med school. If not, work for the federal government - an inflated salary, ridiculous benefits and a less than 40 hour work week equals a better deal.
—Guest rph23

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