How do you know pharmacy is for you without any experience?

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Sep 28, 2023
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Hi all,
I am struggling with pharmacy-is-for-me question. Personally I reflect on my personalities and job description often to find out if studying pharmacy is right for me but I’d love to ask for some advices here. Please help me out!!

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It isn’t for you in that case. In fact, it isn’t worth it in any case. Being $200k+ in debt and having to work at CVS seems like a miserable life to me.

There are much better professions, i.e. computer programming, finance, accounting, engineering, etc. that pay well, offer far better job prospects and work conditions, and do not require you to take out $200k+ in loans and spend an additional 4 years of your life in school.
Hi all,
I am struggling with pharmacy-is-for-me question. Personally I reflect on my personalities and job description often to find out if studying pharmacy is right for me but I’d love to ask for some advices here. Please help me out!!
If you are already struggling with the pharmacy-for -me issue, then it's not for you. Don't get me wrong, I have been a pharmacist for 38 years. I enjoy my profession. Pharmacy has been very, very good to me! It has been a prestigious and lucrative profession, but has taken a big hit recently. Too many schools, too many graduates. The present, and future of pharmacy looks grim. Once again, for what it's worth, I am not some burned-out, old retail druggist. You are going to get the same response from almost all of the pharmacist members of this board. Open your eyes, do you not see any red flags?
You are extremely lucky to be on this board and partake of the wisdom of this group.
How many responses would it take to help you decide? If there is one single pharmacist out there that would advocate for you to continue in this field, I would be dumbfounded!
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Hi all,
I am struggling with pharmacy-is-for-me question. Personally I reflect on my personalities and job description often to find out if studying pharmacy is right for me but I’d love to ask for some advices here. Please help me out!!
The obvious answer is to get experience. Retail tech jobs aren't difficult to come by and would give you plenty of opportunity to see what the career is like.

For what it's worth, I don't know a single pharmacist who would still recommend it as a career.
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To be fair, only retail pharmacy is miserable (just like bedside nursing in the last 20 years). All of my non-retail RPh friends are still enjoying their jobs, their pays & the lifestyles that non-retail pharmacy provides.

Pretty much any professional career will provide you a decent pays. Each will have its pros & cons. So the questions you should ask yourself are:
1/ Am I willing to live with the Cons of pharmacy?
2/ Am I willing to pay the price to get to where I want to be as a Pharmacist?

I think any above average person (in term of academic performance) with common sense can become a good pharmacist (if they work hard enough of course). You don't need any special aptitude to become a pharmacist.
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Hi all,
I am struggling with pharmacy-is-for-me question. Personally I reflect on my personalities and job description often to find out if studying pharmacy is right for me but I’d love to ask for some advices here. Please help me out!!
You do not know if pharmacy is right for you unless you get experience. This is one of the few healthcare fields of which you can directly get retail experience as a tech and work side by side with a pharmacist. Yes, the experience would be retail and yes, the majority of jobs are in retail.

That said, and with no experience (Socrates approach): how else would you know pharmacy is for you? Do you know what specific aspect of pharmacy you wish to be apart of? Do you know the qualifications to get such a job? Would you be content in moving? Would you be content with the stress/debt/years of studying vs job availability and job choices that may/may not exist in the next 4-7 years?

Job Saturation: Is Pharmacy Worth it? Here's What You Need to Know

Now that I've said that, here are some examples that might help in getting the question-to-an-answer started:

1) Direct experience that pointed you to the profession (medication counseling you received from a pharmacist that did not require a doctors visit or $)
2) Research experience (the ability to form an abstract, or at the least, gainful experience that required reading/participating in primary literature search)
3) Other healthcare/volunteer experiences that involved person-to-person interaction (communication skills)
4) Working on an interdisciplinary team (organization/clubs with others outside your studies, and how you worked with those with differing views)
5) Shadowing experiences you can talk on (even if its watching a phlebotomist and you realize you don't want to touch people but still help in some way).

That should give you a start.
This is for OP. I am showing my references for my information. Please do the research yourself and review. There will be new jobs but not traditional pharmacist jobs. It may or may not be right for you but it may not be what you are expecting pharmacy to be. Only you can decide.

Since pharmacy is being highly automated and they want to dramatically increase the role of the pharmacy technician they had to come up with new jobs for pharmacist and create opportunities for generating revenue. Pharmacist have always been paid for dispensing but no longer under value based care models. You get paid for value and not volume of prescriptions filled. This means getting paid for outcomes and patient satisfaction. No outcome= no income. They looked at the patient centered medical home model and tried to figure out how to fit the pharmacist in. Well it is the same roles that a registered nurse or clinical nurse specialist is doing in the PCMH. The board certifications are for most of the same populations for CNS and CPS if you look at them (ER, pediatric, ICU, geriatrics, cardiac, others). If you look at the internet you will see all these clinical nurse specialist job posting all over (they have independent practice and prescribing in some state). Guess what it is the same as the pharmacist job! If you choose to go this route you can likely get grants for the same job as a nurse since many are leaving the profession but I do not see pharmacists grants for the same jobs.

The fully autonomous, robot pharmacy coming to a town near you​

from article: "We do not have sufficient numbers of pharmacists. As our solution is fully autonomous, you can have one traditional pharmacy staff taking care of six to eight pharmacies if you divide them between the autonomous ones," he said.

Article from drug topics= it reads that a nurse can do the same job for 70% of the cost:

Not sure on pharmacist independent practice and prescribing but here is the CNS.

Here are articles from pharmacy times: does not sound great to me says profession may not exist in 30 years:

read the ashp pharmacy forecast past couple years:

ASHP Foundation Pharmacy Forecast 2023: Strategic Planning Guidance for Pharmacy Departments in Hospitals and Health Systems​

from above article: The stressors on pharmacy practice models in the next few years could be compounded by projected shortages of nurses, physicians, and hospital staff across the healthcare continuum, which could require pharmacy personnel to perform cross-functional duties traditionally managed by other departments.1 FPs overwhelming agreed (89%) that pharmacy departments will likely be required to perform cross-functional duties (such as patient medication education, care coordination, and diabetes education), further stretching pharmacy departments to do more with less

ASHP Foundation Pharmacy Forecast 2022: Strategic Planning Guidance for Pharmacy Departments in Hospitals and Health Systems​

Pharmacist calling Dave Ramsey show about student loans:

$300,000 In Student Loans and Nervous About the Future!​

Training both pharmacy and nursing students to do the same jobs:

Expanding the primary care patient-centered medical home through new roles for registered nurses
Dianne Conrad, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, FNAP a, b, *, Katie Alfredson, DNP, RN, AGNP-C

Process: expanding roles of nurses within the interdisciplinary PCMH model

In order to achieve improved patient outcomes, processes of care delivery in the Interdisciplinary PCMH Model have been
modified to utilize nursing and clinical personnel to the full extent of their education and training (see Fig. 3). Innovative nursing roles and ,processes in the primary care setting include:

Quality team e this team is led by a registered nurse (RN) along with medical assistants, who extract population data monthly
from the electronic health record reporting system on patients who are not meeting quality measures. These patients are actively engaged to make appointments to address the plan of care with their providers. Documented quality outcomes in the electronic medical record are then transmitted to payers through a registry.

Phone nurses e this team of nurses triage patient calls, report results, and provide patient education for phone inquiries from
patients. Chronic care medication refills are performed according to physician-determined protocols by registered nurses. The
phone nurses also perform transition of care calls soon after hospital, emergency department admissions or other care
transfers that include medication reconciliation and coordination of community services to decrease hospital readmissions.
These transitions of care calls are now tied to reimbursement if the patient is seen by the provider in a determined time frame.

Medicare wellness nurse e the Medicare Wellness nurse is part of the team with providers to administer cognitive, depression
and fall risk screening, update immunizations and other provisions of the Medicare Wellness visit for Medicare

Project management (IT) nurse e this nurse has specialized information technology knowledge to modify EHR templates,
create population reports and special project management duties such as creating processes to meet Meaningful Use measures.
This nurse, with advanced EHR training, also provides daily information technology consulting regarding EHR functionality.

Point of care nurses working with providers e a team composed of an RN and medical assistants work with providers to maximize daily workflow, assess needed quality measures to be ordered/performed on patients seeing the provider in the office enhance patient access to care with prior authorization calls to payers, perform patient education and assist in goal setting and care planning for health promotion.

Care coordinators e as part of a national demonstration project, these RN care coordinators who are employed by the local
physician-hospital organization, work closely with patients with complex medical problems to improve care delivery, address the social determinants of health and reduce costly care including emergency department visits and hospitalizations.15

Specialty services nurses e nurses with specialized training, utilizing evidence-based protocols, provide services in the
ambulatory care setting such as allergy desensitization injection clinics, flu vaccination clinics, travel immunization and anti-
coagulation clinics. These services require a physician available on campus, but are managed by nursing staff.

Pharmacists in ACOs, Part 2: Medication Therapy Management and Annual Wellness Visits​

Pharmacists in ACOs Part 3: Chronic Care Management, Chronic Disease State Management, and Transition of Care​

Pharmacists in ACOs, Part 1: Accountable Care Basics Every Pharmacist Should Know​

Dispensing is dying by 2030 pharmacist will be paid based on outcomes

Choosing Evolution over Extinction: Integrating Direct Patient Care Services and Value-Based Payment Models into the Community-Based Pharmacy Setting​

Amanda R. Mercadante, Mai Yokota, Angela Hwang, Micah Hata, and Anandi V. Law*

Webinar Series: Implementing Nurse-Run Hypertension Care

Apr 11, 2018 • Focus Area: Population Health • Program: Preventing Heart Attacks and Strokes Everyday (PHASE)

Registered Nurses: Partners in Transforming Primary Care

from article:
Registered nurses, the largest health profession in the nation with over 3.5 million members, are ideally suited to provide the bulk of care for people with chronic illnesses. In primary care, RNs may assume at least four responsibilities: 1) Engaging patients with chronic conditions in behavior change and adjusting medications according to practitioner-written protocols; 2) Leading teams to improve the care and reduce the costs of high-need, high-cost patients; 3) Coordinating the care of chronically ill patients between the primary care home and the surrounding
healthcare neighborhood; and 4) Promoting population health, including working with communities to create healthier spaces for people to live, work, learn, and play.

This is pharmacy in the NHS doing population heath: Review this and see if it interests you. This is where we are heading in pharmacy.

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