Hello! I would greatly appreciate any advice here.
I failed one of my P1 classes last year due to medical reasons and was a little immature. I had a good start in pharmacy school (with As and Bs) my 1st semester, but my grades fell dramatically my 2nd semester. I was lucky in that my school allowed me to remediate, and was told by one of my professors that if I want to do residency, I would need to start getting mostly As in my classes. I did a research project and took some graduate coursework during my year off, and remediated that same class with an A. With all that has happened, my GPA is now just slightly above a 3.0.
I went into pharmacy school after doing extensive research on the field: being involved in a pre-pharmacy club, doing research, and working in a pharmacy setting. I still really like learning and am passionate about the field. I knew of the job market saturation prior to enrolling, but thought that if I worked hard enough, my future might be secure.
With the job market saturation and the dent in my academic record, would it be recommend I drop school to work as a technician or stick it out? Does anyone know of a person either in their class or school that was in similar situation as me, but ended up succeeding?
I come from a low-income background where my education was mostly funded by financial aid and scholarships. I was lucky enough to graduate college with just a few thousand dollars in loans. However, the dent in my record provides me with a higher financial burden, and I'm not sure if it is financially plausible enough anymore to risk not be able to practice.
Thank you for taking the time to read this thread!
With knowledge of the job saturation and a drop in an academic record (but still in the program), did you have the main goal to do residency and avoid retail?
I do apologize for not being specific.
Honestly, I was aiming for a niche position and wanted to do a hospital residency because I like how there are more opportunities to learn, gain new skills, and make improvements in the pharmacy setting.
I don't really mind retail. I had experiences in both settings and find them both rewarding (and sometimes not so rewarding) in different ways. I like how in the hospital setting, we get to monitor labs, give drug recommendations, make IVs, TPNs, and unit dose. There's still a lot I don't know about pharmacy practice... but so far I like both. Though I don't really like prior authorizations and other administrative work, I do like the patient interaction you get in the retail setting.
But with job market saturation, even if I'm not able to do hospital, I still wanted a residency so that I could have more opportunities to network and get my skills recognized at conferences. I was told that it's important to network because it's hard to know how much health care is going to change. Though... I don't know how much of this is true.
Similar question is what do you define as successful? Full time employment? Working inpatient? Geographically landing your career in an ideal prominent location? As for finding yourself in a financial burden that will depend on your estimated overall debt by graduation. Keep in mind many graduates are struggling to pay off their debt.
What I meant by success is simply getting a full-time job and being able to practice. I don't mind working hard, but my biggest fear is not being able to work or pay off my loans. I would preferably like to do inpatient and don't mind if the location is less than ideal. I know that even people with stellar grades that did residency might have to relocate. And some with residency might not be able to find their desired job...
I am not sure what you mean by dropping school and working as a technician. Are you implying to take another break from school and work as a technician or do you wish to be done with school altogether? If you turn away from pharmacy, what is your back-up? Do you still wish to pursue a healthcare profession and if so do you have the pre-requisites?
Hmmm... hard to say. I was thinking about dropping out of school to work as a pharmacy technician and be done with school all together. I think I'd want to find some way to get my pharmacy loans forgiven as well... If I end up dropping, I don't believe I would want to re-enroll because that would be money and time lost from taking the first year classes.
As for prerequisites, I have a B.S. in Pharmacology, but might need to take some additional classes depending on the school and field. I knew since high school that I wanted to do something in the health professions, but didn't know what - a couple of the doctors and nurses I talked to when volunteering told me that pharmacology was what they struggled with most in school.
However, I'm not sure about pursuing another healthcare profession at this moment. I did consider nursing at one point, but decided not to because I had always been a little squeamish. I might consider nursing again, seeing how I'm pretty much desensitized by now (maybe a CRNA or ACNP).
I would consider what the other professional programs might think of your transcript showing that you (at one point) could not keep up with the rigors of grad school. I do not want to assume but the situation sounds like your ultimate goal is residency no matter what. If this is the mindset, you need to understand that their is a possibility that you may not reach your career goal.
Definitely a point to consider, thank you! Will health professional schools would look at a pharmacy school transcript when selecting candidates, especially if it's not grades for their prerequisite requirements? Do you think it is something I should bring up if I were to apply to another school? If anything, I think this experience made me a better person. I was able to develop better coping mechanisms that will help me stay focused despite external circumstances, learn how to take better care of my health, and learn more about how to learn more effectively. I think it also made me much more empathetic towards others.
Not being able to keep up with the rigors of pharmacy school at one point in my life is also my biggest fear about the quality of my application for residency. I know that heath professionals can be very risk averse. Entering pharmacy school, we swore an oath to "First, do no harm." Also, the cost of attendance...
We were given advice during orientation that mistakes can happen, and when it does, it's important to fix it quickly and learn from it; but one mistake at work can really ruin a patient's life.
I think my biggest question is how much would it set the quality of my application back, and whether or not there is still an opportunity for someone to consider me if I were to improve from this point forward.
If you have hopes of getting a niche position in pharmacy, you need to re-evaluate your career goals. My program has had many students repeat school and still land a job but very few of them were able to get a residency.
Glad to know that it was possible! Do you mind sharing, if you know, what other qualities they had that made them competitive despite having to repeat school?