pharmhan

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Hello,

I've been interviewing at residency programs this month, and it's been a big jump for me since I'm coming off a year long maternity leave after working 4 years in retail. :oops: The interviews have been going well (just one more to go), and I'm just wondering if anyone has anything to say in regards to family-work balance while in a residency program. Is it doable?

Is it possible to complete the year of residency, and then take a few years off to have kids/raise children, and then come back to work without harmful effects to one's clinical pharmacy career? I've done so much of the work in applying this year, plus it being something I've always wanted to do, I'd like to go ahead with the residency this year. I know it would make more sense to start the residency when I can commit to working right away after finishing the program, but I want to go back to raising the children full time after completing the residency program, then return to work after the children are in school (~5 years). Will doing a residency and then taking several years off right afterward mean that it would be difficult to find the same level of jobs that I would have been offered had I not taken the break? Does the benefit of doing the residency "fade" with time in regards to finding clinical pharmacist jobs if I take time off right after the residency?

I hope someone has some words to share on this topic. Thank you in advance! :)
 

sdn1977

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Hello,

I've been interviewing at residency programs this month, and it's been a big jump for me since I'm coming off a year long maternity leave after working 4 years in retail. :oops: The interviews have been going well (just one more to go), and I'm just wondering if anyone has anything to say in regards to family-work balance while in a residency program. Is it doable?

Is it possible to complete the year of residency, and then take a few years off to have kids/raise children, and then come back to work without harmful effects to one's clinical pharmacy career? I've done so much of the work in applying this year, plus it being something I've always wanted to do, I'd like to go ahead with the residency this year. I know it would make more sense to start the residency when I can commit to working right away after finishing the program, but I want to go back to raising the children full time after completing the residency program, then return to work after the children are in school (~5 years). Will doing a residency and then taking several years off right afterward mean that it would be difficult to find the same level of jobs that I would have been offered had I not taken the break? Does the benefit of doing the residency "fade" with time in regards to finding clinical pharmacist jobs if I take time off right after the residency?

I hope someone has some words to share on this topic. Thank you in advance! :)

I think this depends on the kind of residency you're trying to obtain. Are you doing ambulatory care, geriatrics??? Those might be ok....but, whatever contacts you've made will be lost. You'll also not get very good references from your preceptors or program director if they don't feel you're very committed.

If you're thinking of doing oncology, nuclear pharmacy, neonatology...no - you can't take 5 years off and still get a competetive job. Those fields change way too fast.

Personally, I've never known anyone who took 5 years off completely ever come back and obtain a competetive job anywhere, no matter what education they completed. You will always be asked why you had such a lag in your work resume and child care, albeit an honorable thing, won't be looked on highly. Part-time work is always an option.

What does your SO have to say about picking up the slack while you do the residency? Does he know what is involved in the job you're looking at having ultimately? Do you?
 

pharmhan

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Hmmm...you ask if I know what's involved in the job? Well, please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong since I don't have firsthand experience in hospital or clinic pharmacy work, but I assumed that working as a "clinical pharmacist" would require a lot more critical thinking, problem solving, drawing on clinical knowledge, than retail work which focuses more on the distributive aspect of pharmacy practice. And that's been the main draw for me to switch career gears. But as far as the hours go, I thought it was as flexible as retail where I chose to work part time due to childcare issues. Is this incorrect? Is it more difficult to obtain part time work in clinical pharmacy than in retail? I'm hoping to work on a part time basis after the residency, but are part time clinical pharmacist jobs plentiful? Til now I've only heard of people going to work post-residency into full time positions. Ideally I'd like to work part time for ~5 years, then take on full time work afterwards.

Why is slowing down one's career for childrearing looked upon unfavorably by employers? What is the rationale for this? Shouldn't employers understand the need for women (and men) to raise their children, and encourage them to take the time to do that, knowing they will ramp up their careers when kids are older? I think employers need to be more creative in defining job hours (ie. job sharing, part time work, etc.) because there's a whole host of pharmacists who have higher priorities besides their work, and if in fulfilling their other callings in life the career takes a hit, then so be it. I've taken the road less traveled in getting to this point in my pharmacy career, I figure I'll continue to do what works for me and our family even if it goes against the trend. I'm counting on working hard during the residency and afterward in whatever part time job I'm at, it's just that I'm not willing to put our family planning goals on hold for the sake of my career. And I don't think it has to be either or. I suppose I'm one of those people who thinks we can have it all if we change the system a bit.
 
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Tessalon

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I'm not willing to put our family planning goals on hold for the sake of my career. And I don't think it has to be either or. I suppose I'm one of those people who thinks we can have it all if we change the system a bit.


A good friend told me that "you CAN have it all, but not all at once." I believe that to be so true. I understand where you are coming from. I applied for a residency, and over the past year I have debated over whether or not to do one b/c my husband and I do want to have kids in the near future. It is so difficult to get so far along in your career and have to make this decision. I don't know that doing a residency and then taking a 5 year leave would be a great idea - even though it would be nice. I think if it came down to it, I would try to go part time for awhile just to stay caught up with everyone. Now if you really want to do a residency no matter what, then do one, and look for a program that has a younger staff dealing with the same issues. Try to find a manager that understands what your priorities are in life, but reassure them that you are not going to leave them high and dry after spending all of that time and energy training you on a residency.

I really do think that a lot of employers are becoming a lot more compromising with new moms and family priorities. They are going to have to with over 50% of the pharmacy classes being female:D . I know that medical students are struggling with these issues more and more, and they HAVE to do a residency if they want to practice.
 

onepharmer

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I really feel that you should follow your heart--it sounds like you are committed to both a more clinically-oriented career and an active family life and I say go for it! =-)
I am a resident and also married, planning to start a family within the next 1-2 years. I am also starting a fellowship immediately following my residency and although I recognize there will be challenges, both are very important to me and I think you can have both. I do agree that throughout your life your involvement in career/family activities will shift in the amount of time you devote (not that you won't always be devoted to your family but I think you know what I mean.) For example, I have always been very active in professional organizations and although I intend to remain so, I will likely pull away a bit when my kids are young and go back to pursuing chair positions, etc later.
In my field (ambulatory care) there are certainly part-time positions s/p residency and there are amb care faculty at my institution who work part-time, are excellent clinicians, and also spend time at home with their babies =-) I anticipate taking a faculty position after res/fellowship and will definitely be interested in shifting to part-time for a few years. I would just encourage you to continue to be involved/working to some extent b/c it will help you to keep up clinically. I also have a physician friend who does this--she works just one day a week but it fulfills her career needs while allowing her time at home.
As for residency, it can certainly be challenging but I would be open with programs about your commitment to family (I was and I don't regret it). You probably don't want to work with people that pretend you have no life outside of pharmacy. When I interviewed for residency, I really knew I was looking someplace special when my (now) director called the benefits office in front of me to make sure that the health insurance I'd have would meet my husband's medical needs (he has a chronic condition). In addition, I have been supported tremendously during my program, encouraged to spend plenty of time with family/friends. My program is challenging and I work long hours but the people I work with really "get" that (for me at least) nothing is more important than my family. I appreciate that b/c I'm challenged to be a great pharmacist....but still hear about it if they think I'm not sleeping, eating healthy, seeing my husband, etc =-)

I wish you the best!
onepharmer
 

GatorRxGirl

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One pharmacist I work with had her BS in pharm, worked retail for eleven years, got married twice, had kids, then decided to do a residency. She's one of the best clinical pharmacists I've met. Of course, this is very rare.
 

legrita

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I am so excieted to see so many like-minded people around...I thought I was losing my mind interviewing. My criteria for ranking the programs I chose were the following:
How many other moms were interviewing me?
How many days off? and
How many weekends on?

I know it sounds kinda bad...I truly am commited to a residency...I alwasy have been...but family comes before career!
 

wrek92

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I guess it really depends which programs you talk to. I did my Ambulatory care clerkship at the Orlando VA and their setup is somewhat unique in that it is actually just primary care/outpatient. So, the residency that they offer is primary care/ambulatory. The residents got to go home at 5:30pm and no weekends as best as I could tell because the entire facility shuts down at that hour. Also, the director over there seemed very accomodating to the clinical pharmacists on staff that were female and raising families. I even saw two part time PharmDs sharing a position because both had young kids and didn't want a full time committment.

Unfortunately, I am not sure that gig is going to hold up forever because Orlando VA is supposed to become a full blown hospital around 2010-2011. But, as far as the ambulatory side I can definitely vouch for the people there as I found them to be very friendly and supportive when I rotated through there on my clerkship.

Hope that helps.
 
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