StringTheorist

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2007
362
1
0
Gainesville
Status
Pharmacist
(Edit: oops, title should say "search"... you can trust me with filling your Rxs, I swear! lol....)
Hi,

I would appreciate any serious input on this matter....

I am going to be a 2011 grad and have interned at the retail level for 2 summers and have worked retail for 6 years... Graduation is FAR away right now (over a year) but I have received an offer for an interview for a possible early-commit for a retail job. I am 95% sure I'd be okay with doing retail, about 100% sure I'd be good at it, and about 95% sure I'd be burned out after a while....

After some experience, I am pretty sure I would like to be a nuclear pharmacist. However, jobs are few and far in between, especially if you want to be selective about the state you want to work and be licensed in... obviously, not as many nuclear pharmacies as there are retail pharmacies...

Now, because of the current economic situation and jobs are tight, even on the pharmacy level, what is your opinion on accepting a retail job (with great salary, benefits, job security, ease of transferring to another retail if you had to move) vs waiting it out for a nuclear pharmacist position (job satisfaction high, less stress, but may not ever come along...)

In this time, would you be thankful for an offer for an early commit, or would you stick it out for the possibility of a dream job that may never come?
(oh, and if you reject the early commit, basically count them out for future offers....)
 

type b pharmD

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2009
2,130
204
181
Status
Pharmacist
(Edit: oops, title should say "search"... you can trust me with filling your Rxs, I swear! lol....)
Hi,

I would appreciate any serious input on this matter....

I am going to be a 2011 grad and have interned at the retail level for 2 summers and have worked retail for 6 years... Graduation is FAR away right now (over a year) but I have received an offer for an interview for a possible early-commit for a retail job. I am 95% sure I'd be okay with doing retail, about 100% sure I'd be good at it, and about 95% sure I'd be burned out after a while....

After some experience, I am pretty sure I would like to be a nuclear pharmacist. However, jobs are few and far in between, especially if you want to be selective about the state you want to work and be licensed in... obviously, not as many nuclear pharmacies as there are retail pharmacies...

Now, because of the current economic situation and jobs are tight, even on the pharmacy level, what is your opinion on accepting a retail job (with great salary, benefits, job security, ease of transferring to another retail if you had to move) vs waiting it out for a nuclear pharmacist position (job satisfaction high, less stress, but may not ever come along...)

In this time, would you be thankful for an offer for an early commit, or would you stick it out for the possibility of a dream job that may never come?
(oh, and if you reject the early commit, basically count them out for future offers....)
well you got no nuke experience...so.. applying for nuc jobs, you will be in the same position both now, and in several years when one opens up in your state. so taking a retail job doesnt seem like it would really hurt you in that regard. I work in nuke and will have 3 yrs intern experience by the time i graduate, and while nuke jobs are definitely available if you have experience one thing you should know is that jobs in desirable locations usually have a good chance of being taken by people transferring from inside the company, so they may not be available to people on the "outside" so to speak. What i mean by this is, if you want to break into the nuke industry, without prior experience, you will probably need to move across the country to take one of the few nuke openings, and depending on where you live, I wouldnt expect to have a good chance at waiting for one and applying from retail if you live in a "hot" location like west coast of CA, nyc, boston, south florida, etc. Right now there are a lot of nuke jobs open in ohio that dont seem to be getting filled. You might look into moving there if you are interested. Otherwise, if you're living in the midwest, south, mountain west, you may have a better chance of moving from nuke to retail in the future with no experience - I know a few people in the nuke community around here who came from retail without experience.

With the job market getting tough for the next few years (at least until HCR kicks in) I would choose what you want to do in the future right now.

Be sure to consider the pros and cons of each. Also, I have encountered fewer burned out retail pharmacists in rural areas, the pace of work there is much slower and patients tend to be a lot friendlier and less rude. You could always transfer locations if you feel you are burning out at one. Nuke, you wont really be able to transfer.

Retail pluses obviously are fast paced work, high pay, getting to interact with people. Nuke pluses are more vacation, getting to sit down, and getting to have breaks. Downsides of nuke are obviously the schedule, only working with the same 2-4 drugs, and of course never using 99% of what you learned in pharmacy school. (I would say retail , you still use maybe 15% of what you learned).

Let me know if you have any more questions about nuke pharm - it's what I went to pharmacy school to do, more or less. If I get out and there are no nuke openings, I'll probably just work a throwaway job and go live with my parents for a few months.

I've been watching the nuke job market for a few years now, and one thing that is definitely true is that jobs rotate around through different areas. If one is not open where you live now, it should be eventually, even if it takes 5-10 years. And right now, even at the bottom of the market, so to speak, there are still maybe 30 ish (maybe more unadvertised) nuke job openings across the country, and usually encompassing somewhere between 10 and 20 states to choose from at a given time, so that is somewhat reassuring. However if it gets worse, you'll be competing for fewer positions with the same number of people inside and people with intern experience in the future, so you might want to jump on nuke now if you can.

One other downside i would see to going nuke is.. there seem to be a number of pharmacists who go nuke and decide it isnt for them (probably due to the hours and maybe the repetitive nature of the work). If you go nuke and later decide to go back to retail, you may find that the market has tightened up so much that you wouldnt be able to get back into retail in your particular area. Also nuke will need to invest 6-8 months to train you, so thats a pretty big investment on your part and theirs, so make sure it's what you want to do before taking that step.

Edit
You say you have some nuke experience -- I just read that now -- if you do, I would say waiting to transfer into nuke might be a little safer - due to the fact that the number of people with nuke experience is not going to increase as the # of pharmacy schools increase -- there are very few places with nuke internships and it's not likely that having more schools will result in more competitive nuke applicants. In 5 years if a nuke job opens where you live, having had that experience will put you at an advantage over the hundreds of new grads and possibly new-school grads in your area, whereas the reverse -- going from nuke back to retail, seems like it would be harder because retail hires anyone with a pulse, and from a numbers standpoint the market is going to fill up faster.
 
Last edited:

KARM12

Super Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2006
2,634
340
281
East
Status
Pharmacist
(Edit: oops, title should say "search"... you can trust me with filling your Rxs, I swear! lol....)
Hi,

I would appreciate any serious input on this matter....

I am going to be a 2011 grad and have interned at the retail level for 2 summers and have worked retail for 6 years... Graduation is FAR away right now (over a year) but I have received an offer for an interview for a possible early-commit for a retail job. I am 95% sure I'd be okay with doing retail, about 100% sure I'd be good at it, and about 95% sure I'd be burned out after a while....

After some experience, I am pretty sure I would like to be a nuclear pharmacist. However, jobs are few and far in between, especially if you want to be selective about the state you want to work and be licensed in... obviously, not as many nuclear pharmacies as there are retail pharmacies...

Now, because of the current economic situation and jobs are tight, even on the pharmacy level, what is your opinion on accepting a retail job (with great salary, benefits, job security, ease of transferring to another retail if you had to move) vs waiting it out for a nuclear pharmacist position (job satisfaction high, less stress, but may not ever come along...)

In this time, would you be thankful for an offer for an early commit, or would you stick it out for the possibility of a dream job that may never come?
(oh, and if you reject the early commit, basically count them out for future offers....)
If you know you want to work retail and want to stay with the same company, I would take it.
 

StringTheorist

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2007
362
1
0
Gainesville
Status
Pharmacist
well you got no nuke experience...so.. applying for nuc jobs, you will be in the same position both now, and in several years when one opens up in your state. so taking a retail job doesnt seem like it would really hurt you in that regard. I work in nuke and will have 3 yrs intern experience by the time i graduate, and while nuke jobs are definitely available if you have experience one thing you should know is that jobs in desirable locations usually have a good chance of being taken by people transferring from inside the company, so they may not be available to people on the "outside" so to speak. What i mean by this is, if you want to break into the nuke industry, without prior experience, you will probably need to move across the country to take one of the few nuke openings, and depending on where you live, I wouldnt expect to have a good chance at waiting for one and applying from retail if you live in a "hot" location like west coast of CA, nyc, boston, south florida, etc. Right now there are a lot of nuke jobs open in ohio that dont seem to be getting filled. You might look into moving there if you are interested. Otherwise, if you're living in the midwest, south, mountain west, you may have a better chance of moving from nuke to retail in the future with no experience - I know a few people in the nuke community around here who came from retail without experience.

With the job market getting tough for the next few years (at least until HCR kicks in) I would choose what you want to do in the future right now.

Be sure to consider the pros and cons of each. Also, I have encountered fewer burned out retail pharmacists in rural areas, the pace of work there is much slower and patients tend to be a lot friendlier and less rude. You could always transfer locations if you feel you are burning out at one. Nuke, you wont really be able to transfer.

Retail pluses obviously are fast paced work, high pay, getting to interact with people. Nuke pluses are more vacation, getting to sit down, and getting to have breaks. Downsides of nuke are obviously the schedule, only working with the same 2-4 drugs, and of course never using 99% of what you learned in pharmacy school. (I would say retail , you still use maybe 15% of what you learned).

Let me know if you have any more questions about nuke pharm - it's what I went to pharmacy school to do, more or less. If I get out and there are no nuke openings, I'll probably just work a throwaway job and go live with my parents for a few months.

I've been watching the nuke job market for a few years now, and one thing that is definitely true is that jobs rotate around through different areas. If one is not open where you live now, it should be eventually, even if it takes 5-10 years. And right now, even at the bottom of the market, so to speak, there are still maybe 30 ish (maybe more unadvertised) nuke job openings across the country, and usually encompassing somewhere between 10 and 20 states to choose from at a given time, so that is somewhat reassuring. However if it gets worse, you'll be competing for fewer positions with the same number of people inside and people with intern experience in the future, so you might want to jump on nuke now if you can.

One other downside i would see to going nuke is.. there seem to be a number of pharmacists who go nuke and decide it isnt for them (probably due to the hours and maybe the repetitive nature of the work). If you go nuke and later decide to go back to retail, you may find that the market has tightened up so much that you wouldnt be able to get back into retail in your particular area. Also nuke will need to invest 6-8 months to train you, so thats a pretty big investment on your part and theirs, so make sure it's what you want to do before taking that step.

Edit
You say you have some nuke experience -- I just read that now -- if you do, I would say waiting to transfer into nuke might be a little safer - due to the fact that the number of people with nuke experience is not going to increase as the # of pharmacy schools increase -- there are very few places with nuke internships and it's not likely that having more schools will result in more competitive nuke applicants. In 5 years if a nuke job opens where you live, having had that experience will put you at an advantage over the hundreds of new grads and possibly new-school grads in your area, whereas the reverse -- going from nuke back to retail, seems like it would be harder because retail hires anyone with a pulse, and from a numbers standpoint the market is going to fill up faster.
Thanks for that thorough response, I really appreciate it...
I wasn't able to intern(though Lord knows I tried many a time...) but I did get a rotation there... I talked to the pharm supervisor and he basically said the same as you... top pick is intern experience, then rotation, then none(since I guess those are the only ranks...)

I think I would be less stressed as a nuc pharm and lets face it, the title is cool... the awesome factor is a big kicker for me ;)
It's just the anxiety of "this is your future, choose your path" that places a lot of stress on me... especially choosing so early... and with having experience in retail, hospital, and a little nuclear, I feel nuclear is the best fit.
I think, due to needs vs wants, I may see what the offer is from the retail company(if I get one) and then after paying off loans, see what positions are available for nuc pharm....

Why do you say "With the job market getting tough for the next few years (at least until HCR kicks in) I would choose what you want to do in the future right now?"
 

StringTheorist

10+ Year Member
5+ Year Member
Apr 19, 2007
362
1
0
Gainesville
Status
Pharmacist
If you know you want to work retail and want to stay with the same company, I would take it.
Thats the thing... it's a BIG retail company and they're all about numbers, paperwork, and dollar signs. The true essence of pharmacy is lost in it all... and I know this will keep me from loving my job there...
:(
What ever happened to respect for your employees and the profession of pharmacy?
 

KARM12

Super Member
10+ Year Member
Apr 4, 2006
2,634
340
281
East
Status
Pharmacist
Thats the thing... it's a BIG retail company and they're all about numbers, paperwork, and dollar signs. The true essence of pharmacy is lost in it all... and I know this will keep me from loving my job there...
:(
What ever happened to respect for your employees and the profession of pharmacy?
Isn't that all retail? :)
 

OCizzle

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2008
113
0
141
Florida
Status
Pharmacy Student
How do you think the HCR will affect Nuclear Pharmacists? I read somewhere that radiologists get kind of screwed with the cuts to imaging and whatnot. I can't imagine that being good news for Nuclear Pharmacists.
 

type b pharmD

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2009
2,130
204
181
Status
Pharmacist
Why do you say "With the job market getting tough for the next few years (at least until HCR kicks in) I would choose what you want to do in the future right now?"
Well, we all know there are more schools opening up, and the economy , in my view and in a good handful of economists, is not going to really pick up that much in the next few years. So likely, with the new grads and the economy lagging, the job market is likely to get tighter in the near future. On the other hand, in the long run, there is healthcare reform, baby boomers entering their peak drug using years, and the eventual government takeover of healthcare (either officially or defacto), and with the focus on dollars and the lagging economy, drug use is probably going to go up since it is cheaper than procedures and doctor visits, as far as healthcare outcomes go.

So i guess what i meant is that , if things get really tight for the next 5 or so years .. lets say you picked nuke, and decided to go back to retail, there is a very real chance you wouldnt be able to find a job in any individual area.. or, you picked retail and decided you wanted to go to nuke, well there might be fewer jobs there too, and just as many applicants with intern experience who will be hired before you would. So i would put some stock into picking what you want to do now, because it may be hard to switch if the job market is really bad. -- When i started pharmacy school, i figured that the job market would be so bad by the time i got out , (may or may not be true but i am hedging my bets), that I knew i should start getting intern experience in the company i want to work for when i graduate, starting fall of p1. So now im working for the company I hope to basically never leave until i retire, and will have the edge over people who didnt decide what they wanted to do until 3rd or 4th year and didnt have as much experience.

You already are in a super-awesome position being that you have a guaranteed job that can probably be a lifetime job if you dont screw up, making in the top 4-5% of incomes, at a time when the economy sucks and is not likely to recover soon, and many americans are living at the end of their financial rope.. So consider yourself lucky... and thats why i say, like the other poster .. take the retail job if you know you'll like it.. opportunities (guaranteed early job contracts) dont come around too often, and you may or may not get the nuke job you want.

On the other hand, if nuke is your dream, pursue it as hard as you can, because wasting a lifetime in a career that you didnt want to go into would be sad. If I was facing working in retail, I would probably leave the pharmacy profession, personally.
 

type b pharmD

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2009
2,130
204
181
Status
Pharmacist
How do you think the HCR will affect Nuclear Pharmacists? I read somewhere that radiologists get kind of screwed with the cuts to imaging and whatnot. I can't imagine that being good news for Nuclear Pharmacists.
Well, when reimbursement goes down, volume goes up. :D seems to be the universal rule of specialty doctors' offices. My friend's dad is an opthalmologist.. back in the day he was getting paid like $3,000 a day to do a couple of lasiks, now reimbursement has been cut so much he is doing like 8 day after hiring support staff to help. lol.

Ya also gotta consider, nuclear is one of the cheaper imaging modalities. MRIs are much more expensive..

The radiology cuts were a long time in the making, imho, and radiologists at this point are basically just taking advantage of the system that pays them an inordinate hourly amount per patient , per study. Dont let them see this though or i'll get flamed like hell.
 

OCizzle

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Oct 18, 2008
113
0
141
Florida
Status
Pharmacy Student
Well, when reimbursement goes down, volume goes up. :D seems to be the universal rule of specialty doctors' offices. My friend's dad is an opthalmologist.. back in the day he was getting paid like $3,000 a day to do a couple of lasiks, now reimbursement has been cut so much he is doing like 8 day after hiring support staff to help. lol.

Ya also gotta consider, nuclear is one of the cheaper imaging modalities. MRIs are much more expensive..

The radiology cuts were a long time in the making, imho, and radiologists at this point are basically just taking advantage of the system that pays them an inordinate hourly amount per patient , per study. Dont let them see this though or i'll get flamed like hell.
Fair enough. You seem very knowledgeable in the subject and I just wanted to see your opinion. For some reason I was under the impression that the components used in Nuclear Pharmacy was one of the reasons why imaging was so expensive. I guess the whole Nuclear thing just makes it sound out there lol. Good to hear that our fellow Nuclear Pharmacists are relatively in the clear. An increase in volume is definitely a good thing. :thumbup:
 

type b pharmD

10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Feb 24, 2009
2,130
204
181
Status
Pharmacist
Fair enough. You seem very knowledgeable in the subject and I just wanted to see your opinion. For some reason I was under the impression that the components used in Nuclear Pharmacy was one of the reasons why imaging was so expensive. I guess the whole Nuclear thing just makes it sound out there lol. Good to hear that our fellow Nuclear Pharmacists are relatively in the clear. An increase in volume is definitely a good thing. :thumbup:
I dunno im just a 2 month old intern, so i dont know much at all really, but it seems like if reimbursement got cut on one of your procedures, you're not going to start doing fewer scans. And there will always be enough people out there wanting to go into radiology. . I'm not sure how expensive nuke med is to be honest, but I always just assumed it was cheaper to build a radiation detector than it was to build a huge motorized magnetic chamber.