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Are you truly passionate about pharmacy?

Discussion in 'Pre-Pharmacy' started by stoichiometrist, Jul 15, 2018.

  1. stoichiometrist

    7+ Year Member

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    Many of you are on here because you believe that you are passionate about the pharmacy profession. It might have been having had positive interactions with other pharmacists, having worked in a pharmacy and enjoyed the experience, or because someone told you it’s a good profession. Yet a lot of you say that you do not want to go into retail, which makes up the vast majority of jobs available to pharmacists and remains the bread and butter of the profession. Many of you are not willing to relocate to find a job.

    Remember that there are many artists, actors, teachers, etc. that are truly passionate about their professions and are willing to make immense sacrifices, including working minimum wage jobs outside of their profession to make ends meet. Many times they will donate their money and volunteer their own time to support the causes which they believe. Think about that – as a pharmacist, are you willing to make similar sacrifices?

    With the job market being saturated and getting worse each year, pay dropping, and tuition continuing to rise, it is likely that the pharmacist will end up with a take home pay no more than a teacher when you take into account taxes and student loans. Work conditions also continue to get worse as employers have a practically unlimited supply of new grads with $200k+ in loans willing to work harder and longer with less compensation.

    You should question whether you truly are passionate about pharmacy if any of the following apply to you:

    1) Not willing to work retail or being very selective of a particular niche (i.e. informatics, ambulatory care, industry, PBM, etc.)

    2) Being selective about where you work and live after graduation, especially if in a saturated metro area
     
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  3. Peterpiper1

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    Seriously, you don’t know how many students I’ve met who say they hate retail and will never work retail. News flash, the large majority of jobs are in retail. How do you spend 4 years busting your ass, racking up a ton of debt, only to hate 80% of the available jobs?
    Some of these pre-pharm students need to re-evaluate what they’re doing before they’re stuck with a job they hate and have no way out.
     
  4. CaNvWa farm

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    The majority of my class says they are ok with retails even though they don't like it. They also say they're willing to relocate. But they probably have no idea how rural areas are like. Will see!
     
  5. Saisri_PharmStdnt

    Saisri_PharmStdnt Class of 2023

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    Maybe it's just my age talking, but many people I know don't want to start at the beginning rung of the ladder to work their way up to where they eventually want to be. They want to start at the top rung. Life doesn't always work out that way. You have to put your time in for it to pay off in the long run. And quite frankly, that's with any job, pharmacy or not.
     
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  6. stoichiometrist

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    Even worse is when they don’t bother to step foot in a pharmacy until their rotations and realize they can’t handle retail or even hospital AFTER they graduate with $200k+ in loans.
     
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  7. NWIRPH

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    This is a reality check, I work with a pharmacist who is 30 years old, he has been out of school for about 3 years. He has over $200,000 in debt. He works only part-time in a hospital pharmacy, the only job he can find. He took $10.00 less per hour for just a part-time job. The pharmacists who have been in the organization abuse him, make him work the bad hours, blame him for mistakes he did not make. He does not figure he can pay off his loans until he is ready to retire. He has no health insurance so any medical issues he pays out of pocket. He is not in default with his loans but he is not making progress paying them off. He drives for Lyft and works in a Starbucks as side hustles. He figures he will never own a home and will pay his loans off at about retirement time. When we did the math we figured out the full-time techs were in a better financial situation than he was. So if you are passionate about pharmacy being a Tech in this market might be a better option.
     
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  8. NWIRPH

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    There are many pharmacists who will start at the bottom rung and work their way up, but with the glut in the market of pharmacists, they will be laid off to be replaced by someone who will work for less money or two people who work part-time with no benefits. What a boon to the employer (who are the folks funding many of the pharmacy schools). The pharmacist will then have to start all over again at the bottom rung for less money if they can find another job. This is what is happening now, it is only going to get worse.
     
  9. Saisri_PharmStdnt

    Saisri_PharmStdnt Class of 2023

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    Not discounting any of that. My statement was more or less directed for those that don't want to relocated, or travel, or work in a location that isn't their ideal location.. Sometimes what you describe ends up happening at the desired job, and then they have to resort to looking for one of the "less desirable" positions.

    I would also say, if you are thinking of pharmacy, work in pharmacy. If you can't get into the retail store, is there a PBM near by? There's entry lvl at call centers, etc.. Something! Get your foot in the door any way you can, become a valuable team member, work on those networking skills so that you have people to reach out to once your degree is done. Having connections, real connections, can help you later and set you apart from other applicants.
     
  10. Modest_anteater

    Modest_anteater Austin, Texas, USA.

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    Stoichiometrist hit the nail on the head with this post. Please every potential pharmacy school student read this post.
     
  11. ornithoptor

    ornithoptor long time observer
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    With the same conclusion but I like to take a different stab at this.

    In general, pharmacy students with bachelor degrees are typically introverted smart individual who wanted to do more than just lab tech who got their chem or biology degree. There are also pre-pharmacy students who have read from CNN or Yahoo on top ten jobs articles. Most have no experience in retail setting at all before rotations.Third category would be pharmacy technician who are envious of the pay of the pharmacist.

    Once they got into the school, they are bombarded with message from professors on patient care delivery and counseling. That set up the expectation and frame work on how community pharmacy should work . Unfortunately, corporate pharmacy has upped the game when saturation happens. Corporate retail chain now has the upper hand and is not afraid to use it. Everyone is expected to do more with less.

    "Don't hate the game, hate the player"

    Practice in retail setting was enjoyable, interaction with public, counseling; we were trusted and respected. It is the corporate structure that changed the setting and changed our profession. All actions must lead to revenue. As long as saturation exist, they have the upper hand and calls the shot.

    Back to the topic: be open to settings and locations. Work hard and find a niche will help you get out of retail. With loan in one hand and limited offer in another please think it through before you commit topharmacy education.
     
    #10 ornithoptor, Sep 5, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2018
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  12. UGAZ

    UGAZ SDN Gold Donor
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    A lot of students who claim to be "passionate " about pharmacy...have no clue what they get themselves into. As someone mentioned above, I've seen so many students doing rotation at my hospital in their 3rd year ...yet have no freaking clue what they are in for. Worse, in their minds, pharmacist is a person who makes rounds with doctors and has full authority to change/alter/adjust medications. Pharmacy schools keep preaching the same bs** everyday. Very sad, indeed.
     
  13. Saisri_PharmStdnt

    Saisri_PharmStdnt Class of 2023

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    This is truly why I feel blessed how my pharmacy "career" has started out. I work with a team of pharmacists who help to manage Right Drug Right Patient. The even larger pharmacist team next to us helps manage patients who have several major disease states and who are on multiple medications, helping them with compliance, understanding, questions they may have, questions they should be asking, etc..

    I've worked with these teams for 15 years now, so I know exactly what I want to do, how I will fit into those types of roles, what I bring to the table. I would encourage anyone who is considering school to go work for a healthcare company. Don't get me wrong, retail is important. It's changing, but it's important. But managed care is growing and they are looking for pharmacists, but there isn't an overabundance of spots open - at least at this point.

    The pharmacy world is still incredibly competitive. Many new pharmacists have on their resume "Worked as a tech in [insert name] pharmacy." If you want to really stand out, get some more experience that most incoming pharmacists don't have. It will give you another, perhaps different, perspective of the pharmaceutical world, and maybe help aid or deter to your decision when you discover more of what pharmacists can do.
     
  14. Pharmsophiat

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    I am passionate about pharmacy. I got accepted to pharmacy school in 2011 in nigeria. I was in my 3rd year first semester when my family moved to america in 2014. I thought i would be able to transfer to a school hear but i couldn't. I had to start over. I wanted to start my prepharmacy in 2014 when i got here. But for instate tuition i had to wait a year befor applying. So i started my prepharmacy in 2015 and just got accepted into a pharmacy school.my classmates in nigeria are already practicing and i just got accepted into a pharmacy school. Please is that not passion?. I could have chosen another profession but i decided it is pharmacy. I love the profession. My classes in school were nice and fun.
     
  15. BC_89

    2+ Year Member

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    Determination and / or dedication alone are not substitutes for competence and / or good financial investments.

    That being said: act on what you want to be and not what you could have been.
     
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  16. Pharmsophiat

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    What i want is to be a pharmacist.
     
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  17. stoichiometrist

    7+ Year Member

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    Problem is that a lot of pre-pharms who claim they have passion about the profession have never even set foot in a pharmacy, let alone a very busy, chaotic retail pharmacy where you're on your feet all day getting chewed out by customers and corporate. Such is the environment where the majority of pharmacists work, not the top 5% that work in cushy clinical or industry position where they get to sit at desks from 9-5.

    Just because you're passionate about a particular niche, i.e. ambulatory care, informatics, industry, etc. doesn't mean that you'll end up in one, especially since these make up probably less than 5% of all pharmacist jobs. Just look all the pre-med students who claim that their medicine is their passion but cannot make it into med school. As the saying goes, many are called but few are chosen.
     
  18. giga

    Pharmacist U.S. Public Health Service 10+ Year Member

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    Not to mention even among those who make it into med school and become physicians, many deal with burn out and are not satisfied with their jobs even though they are/were very passionate about medicine. Passion, especially if it is based on a romanticized view of the profession, is usually not enough to sustain motivation to work a job that otherwise beats you down in every way.


    I'll also add my 2 cents to this conversation: It is important for pre-pharmers to be aware of how competitive the job market is now and for the foreseeable future. Having a PharmD and license alone will not make it easy for you to find a job, you also have to have interpersonal skills and a good work ethic/grit. You need to know how to apply to jobs, how to write good cover letters and resumes/CVs, and how to be resourceful. There are no jobs handed on a silver platter in pharmacy anymore. Even in rural areas, they still want folks who won't jump ship within a few months, and need some evidence that you are committed to working in a rural area (e.g. you've completed several rural rotations, or have lived/worked in rural areas before).

    It's totally fine if your main goal is to work as a pharmacist in a non-retail setting, as long as you understand the requirements you have to go through and the risks involved. You will have to do residency, be an above average performer, have great interpersonal skills, be decent at public speaking, and know how to network and market yourself. You will have to bring your work with you home (read journal articles on your own time, train yourself in new skills after hours). You will have to prove your worth over and over again. Even then, there is no guarantee that you will find a clinical/niche job, or that you will find a job in a desirable geographical area. (Some people have more resources/connections than others and don't need to do any of these things in order to get the job they want. Although I imagine most folks looking for help at SDN don't have the privilege of nepotism)

    Successfully completing pharmacy school does not entitle you to anything. You will still have to work hard to get a job after finishing pharmacy school and getting your license. As long as you keep this in mind and still decide that you want to take the risk, and you cannot envision yourself being satisfied and successful doing anything else, then go for it.

    TL;DR: You can no longer write your own ticket just by getting a PharmD. Non-traditional pharmacist jobs are far and few, and require lots of hustling. Do your research before you commit to pharmacy school and really know what risks you're taking on and what you're committing to. You will save yourself a lot of heartache by doing your homework now and taking your time to make this big decision. Getting a PharmD costs more than buying a modest house in certain parts of the country. It is a big investment - don't make it lightly. Have a backup plan.
     
    #17 giga, Sep 17, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2018
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  19. Secret_Informant

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    Not everybody gets those opportunities during their P1 year, before their P1 year, or even years after graduation. Even if you know what you want to do, the support is not always there for you. That was the case with me at the University of South Florida College of Pharmacy.

    The issue was not "knowing" what pharmacists can do. The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) posts this information during the PY1 year. The issue is being allowed the opportunity to do it.

    I agree with stoichiometrist on this one.
     
    #18 Secret_Informant, Sep 24, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2018
  20. Saisri_PharmStdnt

    Saisri_PharmStdnt Class of 2023

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    I understand the agreement with him on this one. (this one! :p)

    Sometimes you have to make the opportunity happen. No one said you had to go right into Pharm school. Sure it would have been nice to be already 20 years into my pharmacy career, but it didn't work out that way. I said it in another thread, too.. If you're unsure, and want to know what opportunities are out there, go work in some of those settings.. Work in a specialty pharmacy, work for a PBM, do something. I don't agree with anyone who goes into any career blindly. You have to know what you're signing up for..
     
  21. Secret_Informant

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    I agree with the "blindly" part.

    Having said that, if you are not granted the license to practice, you can't work for any pharmacy (PBM, specialty, or even an independent pharmacy if there there are many independent pharmacies left) especially if clinical duties are involved. The fact of the matter is you could already know what you signed up for and still not get what you need.

    During pharmacy school I had an academic advisor assigned during the beginning of my PY1 year and two research mentors during my time in Pharmacy School for the PLRP project we were required to complete prior to graduation. That project was done alone, without a team and with no true help except from my second PLRP mentor during my PY4 year. The academic advisor changed during my PY3 year as all students had to be reassigned due to some arbitrary rule with no reason given. This circumstance is not exactly helpful when every single internship you apply to results in too many rejections due to the ignorance of others and due to policies no one in our class or in previous classes foresaw. It has nothing to do with being "unsure" of your path or your reasons to do pharmacy; it has to do with getting the results you need when you need them when others just don't get it.

    Even if you go into pharmacy school with a variety of strategies and back-up plans, you still lose out. That is what pre-pharmacy students do not understand. You also speak as if a PharmD guarantees you to work in other settings: it does not. It only serves as a boost if the transferable skills are applicable to the job you are applying to (and if the employer decides to invite you for an interview).

    I've done my research since 2011 Saisri_PharmStdnt. It is up to you to keep up.
     
    #20 Secret_Informant, Sep 25, 2018
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2018
  22. DOOM N GLOOM

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    That’s exactly why pharmacy is all about compromises.

    Everyone wants to become that model “clinical pharmacist” after graduation. But the barriers to getting the right experiences to be competitive for residencies or jobs are ridiculous. Consider that:

    You’d have to get leadership positions in orgs during P1-P3 year which we all know is all just a popularity contest.

    You’d have to get the right types of internships in school (hospital, amb care etc) which is what everyone else is also gunning for.

    Then, you’d have to get the right APPE rotations in your desired area of specialization and we all know that you can’t exactly “pick” rotations these days, since most schools use a lottery system these days. Commited to going the industry route from day 1 of pharmacy school and ranked all your industry rotations high on your list only to get beat out by your classmate who has no experience and decided to rank an industry rotation for fun because your school decided to give everyone a “fair” chance at getting any rotation? You got it.

    The end result is, there are too many dominoes that can not fall in your favor in pharmacy school, most of which is not in your control, that will unfortunately dictate where you end up.
     
  23. Saisri_PharmStdnt

    Saisri_PharmStdnt Class of 2023

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    I never said I do a pharmacist's work now, though I do work very closely with them. I'm fully aware my situation is different and I have said that. I'm glad you've done your homework since 2011. I've been working here since 2003 :) I've done my fair share, too. I suggested more people do homework on the profession.

    Sadly though, I'm also aware that nothing I say really matters to you, so.. I'm done in this thread :)

    I hope you guys have a great day!
     
    Doktor_dud3 likes this.
  24. Amicable Angora

    Amicable Angora Lagomorpha
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    You guys need to put up your troll shields... some new pup who is graduating in 2023 and knows nothing comes in the thread and baits hardcore for responses.
     
  25. Melazine

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    This definitely does not happen often: there are hospitals (I shall not name) have overworked their resident pharmacists, that a very few died. I couldn’t believe it when I first heard about it. I guess I’m not as passionate about this field as they were.
     
  26. GypsyHummus

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    Pharmacy doesn’t seem like a bad deal if you can get into a state school.
     
  27. allantois

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    Sounds more like dentistry to me where the problem is with the tuition costs, pharmacy issues are with saturation more than anything else.
     

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