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Hospital pharmacy vs retail internship

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by Pintobeans, Feb 27, 2007.

  1. Pintobeans

    Pintobeans Junior Member 5+ Year Member

    Feb 9, 2006
    I know there's probably a thread out there about this, but I'll try to be more specific. I currently work in retail as an intern and was offered a position to work in a hospital inpatient pharmacy.
    My questions are:
    1) pros and cos in working in a hospital compared to retail
    2) what are the career advacements in both settings?
    3) Does inpatient pharmacy offer an opportunity to work with patients, ie, maybe not directly, but follow up closely with doctors to plan a drug regimen for patients?
    4) Does an internship in a hospital help to get a clinical position in a hospital without doing residency? (I heard because of the demand, some hospitals don't require residency although they prefer it; at least here in CA)

    Thanks in advance!

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  3. ZpackSux

    ZpackSux Retired Banned

    Feb 25, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    What the heck are you going to learn in a retail setting? How to be an insurance clerk? Don't waste your education...go to hospital unless your goal is to own your pharmacy.
  4. psychoandy

    psychoandy Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 30, 2005
    I don't know why you *wouldn't* want a job in a hospital setting, regardless of whether you want to work retail once you graduate. Everyone likes well-rounded candidates and even if you don't like it, you'll have personal experience knowing what it's all about. Change is good!

    As far as pros/cons, hospitals have no insurance, no cranky patients, usually pays more than retail, and is generally a lot more laid back, of course ymmv. Cons are that you have little to no patient contact; as an RPh I'm sure you could have more if you tried (doing med rec, discharge rx counseling) but generally speaking most of the pharmacists I work with don't mind being behind the scenes approving/entering/suggesting orders. Additionally hospitals may want you to work weird hours.

    Where I work, the closest interaction with patients I have is dropping off the occasional thing into an ICU room. Work obviously has more importance and learning comes secondary to everything getting done. However, if you don't have that much work to do and a very nice preceptor, they can take you up to the floors and teach you things. The thing is you usually won't know enough to be of any use on the floors, unless you're a P3/ which case, you'd already be on rotations.

    As far as rounding goes...I personally have not done it, since I don't feel my pharmacy knowledge is anywhere near enough to hang with a pharmacist and walk around with med students, interns, and attendings. That, and it looks bad, seeing as you're being paid to work and not being paid to go upstairs and play tag-along with preceptor. But it is possible, by say shadowing your preceptor when you're not on the clock.

    #4: I know at least 5 pharmacists who interned at my hospital while in school and jumped on after graduation.
  5. bananaface

    bananaface Pharmacy Supernerd Pharmacist Moderator Emeritus Lifetime Donor Classifieds Approved 10+ Year Member

    Apr 24, 2004
    gone to seed
    People skills! :smuggrin:
  6. sdn1977

    sdn1977 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    I'm going to be brutally honest with you. If you choose just a retail setting for all your experience - Zpak is completely correct - in'll be an insurance clerk & part-time tech (&/or robot) checker.

    There WILL be choices within the retail setting in the future. But, if you don't have the clinical skills, you won't be able to obtain those positions. In fact...there is tremendous movement toward credentialling to be able to provide MTM management. No amount of people skills will get you the ability to be clinically skilled enough to not get yourself &/or your pt in trouble!!

    The very hard & brutal fact is - few retail pharmacists retain their clinical skills unless they've been drilled into them over time & honestly, there is just not enough time in 4 years of pharmacy school to get good at it.

    The pros of working in a hospital setting - you'll get really, really good at clinical skills & you'll get to actually see how & when the "textbook" version of something doesn't apply - this is why so many pharmacists can't speak knowledably with physicians about the non-cookbook pt or an off-label use of a drug. The cons are - you can get stuck doing medication reconcilliation - dead end!!!

    Career advancement - unlimited for someone who really wants to advance in both fields. But....tremendously limited for someone who is "stuck" in the past - for both fields. Every hospital needs a pharmacist to check IV's (not even pyxis in CA anymore!!!) & every retail setting needs a pharmacist to check the robot or the tech. Again - dead end - both!

    Inpt hospital work doesn't really allow you much time to interact with pts. Again, the honest & brutal truth is because of time - we don't keep the pts very long! Will you plan medication management with the physicians? No - in my experience - no....I don't "plan" it - the physician does that. But...I'm there to either implement the plan (ie - start anticoagulation or tpn) or I'm there to suggest alterations of the plan (change the dose of the once daily gent). Remember - we are not the primary care provider - we work "shifts". The physician is the one responsible 24/7 - we are not.

    Sure - being an intern helps to obtain a job - thats true in any field! They get to know you for nearly free! They can see if you "fit" in with their system.

    But - it seems here that folks are shying away from residencies. Yeah - I know you want to go out & make those "big" bucks - but - it really is just a year (or two) & could make all the difference in the type of job you get. If all you want is just a job - then don't put in that extra year - don't try to get as much training and experience as you can possibly get & make yourself attractive to employers (likewise - becoming productive professionally in your field). And - if you choose this path - the least education,, the "easiest", the "fastest" - you'll find yourself limited in the future - particularly here in CA!!!!
  7. TheChemist

    TheChemist Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Dec 12, 2005
    N California
    I'm sold. Any northern california hospital internships available currently?:) As it is I'm not very happy with my retail internship right now.
  8. ryerle23


    Feb 20, 2007
    The 'ma, WA
    I have worked inpatient hospital for 3 years, walgreens for 6 months, and a rehab hospital for 8 months. Each place has its pro's and con's. Hospital is a lot of variety, but also some weird hours and weekends. Clinical knowledge will improve greatly. Walgreens I like too, more patient interaction, feels like you can make a difference on a more personal level, counseling skills improve but angry people and insurances. I enjoy both, but I like the hospital side do to the variety and everyday being different

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