Quantcast

New Grad - Hospital nights or Walgreens float?

This forum made possible through the generous support of SDN members, donors, and sponsors. Thank you.

slrpharmd

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
I know, I know...read old forums. I have :) Any additional advice would be welcome.

I am a new grad and was an intern with Walmart all through school. Due to Walmart's recent cuts I did not get to stay on with them. I received a job with Walgreens about 2 weeks ago for 32 hrs/week floating. The furthest store in the district is 30 miles (45 minutes) away so driving and what not wouldn't be that bad. I have trained for 1 week with them. There is the obvious cons to working in retail, and from what I've seen so far its even worse at Walgreens than Walmart. However, I love working with patients. Even the tough patients screaming in my face don't phase me too much (I'm sure it will eventually).

My only hospital experience is from IPPE/APPE hours. And even those experiences were minimal, as I did my hospital rotation in a very small critical access hospital. But every preceptor I had (even on retail) said I would do very well in hospital and tried to push me towards a residency. Obviously I am not doing a residency for several reasons I won't go into right now. After my rotations I questioned my whole goals of being a retail pharmacist and started considering hospital.

I interviewed for a hospital nights position about a month ago and had all but given up on the job. But I just got a call back with a job offer. I honestly thought I would never come to this dilemma. What large (for our area, >500 beds) hospital would hire a new grad with no hospital experience or residency??? Its 7 on 7 off. Base pay is not great, but with the night differential it puts me at almost $5 more an hour and almost 10 more hours per pay period. There is also at least one other pharmacist on with me.

I want the hospital job and if I listen to what all past forums have said I would be silly not to take it.

So now to my real questions:
- How to I most appropriately and professionally let Walgreens know? Should I try to stay on PRN with them? I could and would pick up shifts on my off weeks. Would Walgreens even allow that and pay me to finish training just to work a few shifts a month?

- How do you night shifters manage life? Any advice on transitioning on and off would be amazing.

- Any major tips for working in the hospital especially at night? This hospital is great about providing a long training period before switching to nights.

Sorry for the book guys! Thank you so much for your advice!
 

Z-Qualizer

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Jul 20, 2015
Messages
294
Reaction score
236
Could you take the night hospital job, AND float for Walgreens (some) during the day? Would Wags let you work LESS than 32 hours as a floater? That way you could build clinical experience, while also keeping that retail experience fresh on your resume (in case you ever need/want to go back).
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

Saiyo

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2010
Messages
358
Reaction score
403
Large hospital, good training program, more than one night pharmacist.

Geez sounds like a dream job to me. I'd probably just wait for PRN opportunity at walmart instead of trying to do wags concurrently. As for hospital tips just make sure you read up on the protocols and ask lots of questions. Experience is what makes a good pharmacist.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 3 users

slrpharmd

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
Could you take the night hospital job, AND float for Walgreens (some) during the day? Would Wags let you work LESS than 32 hours as a floater? That way you could build clinical experience, while also keeping that retail experience fresh on your resume (in case you ever need/want to go back).

That is part of my question/plan. I would love to stay on PRN with Walgreens and work during my off weeks. IDK if Walgreens would be willing to keep me on though. It is definitely a conversation I need to have with the DM.

Large hospital, good training program, more than one night pharmacist.

Geez sounds like a dream job to me. I'd probably just wait for PRN opportunity at walmart instead of trying to do wags concurrently. As for hospital tips just make sure you read up on the protocols and ask lots of questions. Experience is what makes a good pharmacist.

Yes, It is a dream job for sure! I am lacking in experience unfortunately, but I hope to learn quick.
 

metallideth

PharmD 2015
10+ Year Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2010
Messages
156
Reaction score
13
1. Will leave that for someone else to chime in

2. During the 7 days on it's difficult to have much of a life outside of work due to the strange work hours. My routine is just work, sleep, gym, eat, and spend time with my gf. During the 7 days off it's much easier to have more of a social life due to the abundance of free time. When it comes to transitioning to the 7 days on schedule I try to go to bed during the day up until an hour before work starts to get back into overnight mode. On the first day of my 7 day off I'll take a short nap (usually 4 hours) right after work and go on with the rest of my day and then during the evening I'll go to bed for the night to reset my circadian rhythm to a normal nighttime sleep cycle. You may want to invest in black-out curtains.

3. My main tip would be to familiarize yourself with your hospital's different clinical (Vanco/aminoglycosides/anticoag etc) and operational protocols but more importantly know how to find those protocols. During the overnight shift you'll get clinical/operational related phone calls from MD/APRN/PA's and RNs and your familiarity with your hospital/pharmacy protocols will make your night more manageable. Furthermore make sure you have access to good drug information resources and IV compatibility resources like uptodate or micromedex.

During your training period make sure you ask tons of questions regarding the institution's drug information resources, clinical protocols, and operational protocols
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Amicable Angora

Lagomorpha
7+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 6, 2012
Messages
1,409
Reaction score
899
You may want to consider if you are going to try to change your sleep schedule during days off and how that would affect your Walgreens job if you choose to keep it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

gwarm01

Full Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Oct 7, 2009
Messages
2,670
Reaction score
3,630
That is part of my question/plan. I would love to stay on PRN with Walgreens and work during my off weeks.

You might find this less desirable once you actually start doing it. If it were me, I would take the hospital job and enjoy my week off.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

slrpharmd

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
1. Will leave that for someone else to chime in

2. During the 7 days on it's difficult to have much of a life outside of work due to the strange work hours. My routine is just work, sleep, gym, eat, and spend time with my gf. During the 7 days off it's much easier to have more of a social life due to the abundance of free time. When it comes to transitioning to the 7 days on schedule I try to go to bed during the day up until an hour before work starts to get back into overnight mode. On the first day of my 7 day off I'll take a short nap (usually 4 hours) right after work and go on with the rest of my day and then during the evening I'll go to bed for the night to reset my circadian rhythm to a normal nighttime sleep cycle. You may want to invest in black-out curtains.

3. My main tip would be to familiarize yourself with your hospital's different clinical (Vanco/aminoglycosides/anticoag etc) and operational protocols but more importantly know how to find those protocols. During the overnight shift you'll get clinical/operational related phone calls from MD/APRN/PA's and RNs and your familiarity with your hospital/pharmacy protocols will make your night more manageable. Furthermore make sure you have access to good drug information resources and IV compatibility resources like uptodate or micromedex.

During your training period make sure you ask tons of questions regarding the institution's drug information resources, clinical protocols, and operational protocols

Thanks so much! This helps a ton and makes me feel a bit more comfortable about managing my sleep schedule and social life. Currently looking on amazon for good curtains haha!

I currently have the LexiComp app as a resource that I used often on rotations. I know the hospital also has plenty of drug information resources including UpToDate and LexiComp. They are part of a pretty good sized health system and I will have a good chunk of time training. I will have at least one other pharmacist with me plus two other close hospitals in the system that have pharmacists I could call for help.

You may want to consider if you are going to try to change your sleep schedule during days off and how that would affect your Walgreens job if you choose to keep it.

I think during my weeks off I will switch back to a normal schedule if its manageable for me. I am pretty dependent on getting enough sleep to function which slightly worries me about night shifts and transitioning back and forth so I guess we will see how it goes.

You might find this less desirable once you actually start doing it. If it were me, I would take the hospital job and enjoy my week off.

I am really tempted to do this and just might. Those loans looming over my head make me want to keep both though.
 

sakigt

Junior Member
10+ Year Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Messages
961
Reaction score
398
I work 7 on 7 off evenings.

The 7 on sucks, the 7 off is amazing. Plan vacations accordingly. You have to work every other weekend. They generally don't have night shift on the holiday schedule, so if you work Christmas this year youll probably do the same for years until the calendar switches. You don't get anything done on your week on unless you plan ahead and are consistent. Shifts are hard to get covered.

Things that make it easy: Awesome people that do the other 7 on. Right now weve got a super religious person that doesn't care about football or new years, another religious person that loves football (college), and an agnostic that likes the NFL and Halloween. Dream team for switching.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

escanoke

Full Member
5+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Messages
120
Reaction score
31
Worked overnights for 3 months as a tech before starting pharmacy school, black out curtains are definitely a must have.

What I hated about the schedule was that it took my until day 3 off to really get back to normal hours. So it felt like those 3 days were wasted.

When you start you'll be able to fall asleep right when you get out, but once you get into the groove don't be surprised to stay up until noon and sleep to 7-8pm. IMO I liked going to bed right away and waking up around 3-4pm.

You'll also wake up in the middle of the night hungry on your days off if you decide to eat around the 3am mark. I'd eat right before and not have a big meal until breakfast.

Know how to fix everything on your own at least know all the tools you have.

Overnights are awesome, its quiet and you get really close to the people you work with. You'll most likely see the same people outside the pharmacy like custodians, security, and nurses. If it just wasn't for the whole switching back and missing out on things during the afternoon like hanging with friends and whatever, overnights the best shift


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

confettiflyer

Model Citizen™
15+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
10,094
Reaction score
3,617
- How do you night shifters manage life? Any advice on transitioning on and off would be amazing.

- Any major tips for working in the hospital especially at night? This hospital is great about providing a long training period before switching to nights.

I did nights for a long time ago, here are my tips:

Off weeks
1) Discipline yourself and get everything you need to get done during your off week. Outside errands, laundry, groceries, etc... aside from a mid-stretch vegetable and meat run, you probably won't want to do much of anything while you're working.

2) Schedule a massage or other like activity when you're off.

3) Stay hydrated.

4) Maintain a good workout routine.

5) Buy blackout curtains and a good air conditioning unit if you don't have one, nothing like it being bright and hot to screw up your sleeping patterns. If you have other people in the house (family, roommates), figure out in advance the "sterile room" where you'll be sleeping for the next week.

Gearing up for the work week
1) I usually started gearing up about 2 days before shift started, this involved me staying up progressively later (which is easy for me, I'm a night owl) and sleeping in. It got to the point where I would sleep in to about noon-1pm on my work day, and I would mill around the house, eat dinner, take a quick 30min-1hr nap before work, and go in.

ALTERNATELY.... you can maintain a normal/early schedule (wake up 6-7am the day of your shift) and tire yourself out/nap in the mid/late afternoon.

2) Meal prep ahead of time - it's extremely easy to just buy microwave pizzas to eat for dinner and stop by McDonald's on your way home for breakfast. You'll need to either meal prep or have easy/light things to prepare when you get home.

YOU WILL GET FAT IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS. Night shift will cause you to gain weight naturally, you have to work harder to prevent this from going too far.

Work week
1) Personally, day #1 was easy, day #2 was when the time flip caught up with me, and by day #3-infinity I was full blown nights. Everyone is different.

2) Watch your caffeine intake and the timing. Don't chug a Rockstar right before your shift, or you'll overshoot and still have caffeine coursing through your system long after your shift ends.

3) Stay hydrated. Buy a giant 40 oz Hydroflask and fill it up when you start your shift. Avoid sugar/caffeine/etc.. EAT/DRINK clean.

4) Get a good pair of sunglasses and don't let the sun hit your face/eyes on the way home.

5) Sneak in a quick workout after work if you can. I typically ran a few miles after work and was asleep by 10-11am.

6) Sterile room at home should be completely dark/devoid of noise (buy a fan to drown out white noise, disconnect the doorbell, etc...) Other people in the house need to know to not wake you up unless the house is on fire. Figure out the privacy setting on your phone so only certain people can ring through.

7) Make time to make and eat dinner properly - alternately, meal delivery services work wonders - I used Gobble, which was much faster prep time than Blue Apron (the veggies were precut/vacuum sealed). Again, eat/drink clean.

8) Pack good snacks at work - I usually had nuts, baked potato chips in moderation, and fruit to snack on.

Flipping to days
1) At the end of your stretch, it's CRUCIAL that you flip correctly, or you'll spend days recovering.

2) I typically rushed home after my last shift and was asleep by 8-9am, but woke up no later than 12-1pm.

3) I usually spent the day at home, got a workout in, and kept busy until 8-9pm that night. At that point, I went to sleep.

4) If done correctly, you'll wake up the next morning and have successfully transitioned to days (you'll probably be a bit tired, that's normal).
--> If you screwed it up and ended up sleeping more than 3-4 hours after your last day, you'll be pretty much an extreme night owl zombie for at least 2-4 days in your off week. That's fine if you're single and have friends that stay out late, but if you have other commitments (like another job, family, other obligations) it pretty much kills your week.
--> It's probably best to try to avoid set commitments day #1-3 of your off week, if you can.


The tl;dr version = eat clean, drink lots of water, and be disciplined with sleep. You're fighting biology, and weight gain is normal, but is worse if you don't follow good practices.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 6 users

lord999

Full Member
Moderator Emeritus
15+ Year Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2002
Messages
4,037
Reaction score
4,246
I did nights for a long time ago, here are my tips:

Off weeks
1) Discipline yourself and get everything you need to get done during your off week. Outside errands, laundry, groceries, etc... aside from a mid-stretch vegetable and meat run, you probably won't want to do much of anything while you're working.

2) Schedule a massage or other like activity when you're off.

3) Stay hydrated.

4) Maintain a good workout routine.

5) Buy blackout curtains and a good air conditioning unit if you don't have one, nothing like it being bright and hot to screw up your sleeping patterns. If you have other people in the house (family, roommates), figure out in advance the "sterile room" where you'll be sleeping for the next week.

Gearing up for the work week
1) I usually started gearing up about 2 days before shift started, this involved me staying up progressively later (which is easy for me, I'm a night owl) and sleeping in. It got to the point where I would sleep in to about noon-1pm on my work day, and I would mill around the house, eat dinner, take a quick 30min-1hr nap before work, and go in.

ALTERNATELY.... you can maintain a normal/early schedule (wake up 6-7am the day of your shift) and tire yourself out/nap in the mid/late afternoon.

2) Meal prep ahead of time - it's extremely easy to just buy microwave pizzas to eat for dinner and stop by McDonald's on your way home for breakfast. You'll need to either meal prep or have easy/light things to prepare when you get home.

YOU WILL GET FAT IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS. Night shift will cause you to gain weight naturally, you have to work harder to prevent this from going too far.

Work week
1) Personally, day #1 was easy, day #2 was when the time flip caught up with me, and by day #3-infinity I was full blown nights. Everyone is different.

2) Watch your caffeine intake and the timing. Don't chug a Rockstar right before your shift, or you'll overshoot and still have caffeine coursing through your system long after your shift ends.

3) Stay hydrated. Buy a giant 40 oz Hydroflask and fill it up when you start your shift. Avoid sugar/caffeine/etc.. EAT/DRINK clean.

4) Get a good pair of sunglasses and don't let the sun hit your face/eyes on the way home.

5) Sneak in a quick workout after work if you can. I typically ran a few miles after work and was asleep by 10-11am.

6) Sterile room at home should be completely dark/devoid of noise (buy a fan to drown out white noise, disconnect the doorbell, etc...) Other people in the house need to know to not wake you up unless the house is on fire. Figure out the privacy setting on your phone so only certain people can ring through.

7) Make time to make and eat dinner properly - alternately, meal delivery services work wonders - I used Gobble, which was much faster prep time than Blue Apron (the veggies were precut/vacuum sealed). Again, eat/drink clean.

8) Pack good snacks at work - I usually had nuts, baked potato chips in moderation, and fruit to snack on.

Flipping to days
1) At the end of your stretch, it's CRUCIAL that you flip correctly, or you'll spend days recovering.

2) I typically rushed home after my last shift and was asleep by 8-9am, but woke up no later than 12-1pm.

3) I usually spent the day at home, got a workout in, and kept busy until 8-9pm that night. At that point, I went to sleep.

4) If done correctly, you'll wake up the next morning and have successfully transitioned to days (you'll probably be a bit tired, that's normal).
--> If you screwed it up and ended up sleeping more than 3-4 hours after your last day, you'll be pretty much an extreme night owl zombie for at least 2-4 days in your off week. That's fine if you're single and have friends that stay out late, but if you have other commitments (like another job, family, other obligations) it pretty much kills your week.
--> It's probably best to try to avoid set commitments day #1-3 of your off week, if you can.


The tl;dr version = eat clean, drink lots of water, and be disciplined with sleep. You're fighting biology, and weight gain is normal, but is worse if you don't follow good practices.


Same for nuclear staff except that we actually kept the same schedules on our off period unless we had children (we would wake up at 2000 and live until 1000). I find that not converting or keeping a schedule closer to work offsets that weight gain and melatonin problem. It's when I converted to full days that I find myself exhausted as I'm not used to having the sun set on me. When I'm in DC, that's why I have one of the few interior offices.
 

slrpharmd

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
I did nights for a long time ago, here are my tips:

Off weeks
1) Discipline yourself and get everything you need to get done during your off week. Outside errands, laundry, groceries, etc... aside from a mid-stretch vegetable and meat run, you probably won't want to do much of anything while you're working.

2) Schedule a massage or other like activity when you're off.

3) Stay hydrated.

4) Maintain a good workout routine.

5) Buy blackout curtains and a good air conditioning unit if you don't have one, nothing like it being bright and hot to screw up your sleeping patterns. If you have other people in the house (family, roommates), figure out in advance the "sterile room" where you'll be sleeping for the next week.

Gearing up for the work week
1) I usually started gearing up about 2 days before shift started, this involved me staying up progressively later (which is easy for me, I'm a night owl) and sleeping in. It got to the point where I would sleep in to about noon-1pm on my work day, and I would mill around the house, eat dinner, take a quick 30min-1hr nap before work, and go in.

ALTERNATELY.... you can maintain a normal/early schedule (wake up 6-7am the day of your shift) and tire yourself out/nap in the mid/late afternoon.

2) Meal prep ahead of time - it's extremely easy to just buy microwave pizzas to eat for dinner and stop by McDonald's on your way home for breakfast. You'll need to either meal prep or have easy/light things to prepare when you get home.

YOU WILL GET FAT IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS. Night shift will cause you to gain weight naturally, you have to work harder to prevent this from going too far.

Work week
1) Personally, day #1 was easy, day #2 was when the time flip caught up with me, and by day #3-infinity I was full blown nights. Everyone is different.

2) Watch your caffeine intake and the timing. Don't chug a Rockstar right before your shift, or you'll overshoot and still have caffeine coursing through your system long after your shift ends.

3) Stay hydrated. Buy a giant 40 oz Hydroflask and fill it up when you start your shift. Avoid sugar/caffeine/etc.. EAT/DRINK clean.

4) Get a good pair of sunglasses and don't let the sun hit your face/eyes on the way home.

5) Sneak in a quick workout after work if you can. I typically ran a few miles after work and was asleep by 10-11am.

6) Sterile room at home should be completely dark/devoid of noise (buy a fan to drown out white noise, disconnect the doorbell, etc...) Other people in the house need to know to not wake you up unless the house is on fire. Figure out the privacy setting on your phone so only certain people can ring through.

7) Make time to make and eat dinner properly - alternately, meal delivery services work wonders - I used Gobble, which was much faster prep time than Blue Apron (the veggies were precut/vacuum sealed). Again, eat/drink clean.

8) Pack good snacks at work - I usually had nuts, baked potato chips in moderation, and fruit to snack on.

Flipping to days
1) At the end of your stretch, it's CRUCIAL that you flip correctly, or you'll spend days recovering.

2) I typically rushed home after my last shift and was asleep by 8-9am, but woke up no later than 12-1pm.

3) I usually spent the day at home, got a workout in, and kept busy until 8-9pm that night. At that point, I went to sleep.

4) If done correctly, you'll wake up the next morning and have successfully transitioned to days (you'll probably be a bit tired, that's normal).
--> If you screwed it up and ended up sleeping more than 3-4 hours after your last day, you'll be pretty much an extreme night owl zombie for at least 2-4 days in your off week. That's fine if you're single and have friends that stay out late, but if you have other commitments (like another job, family, other obligations) it pretty much kills your week.
--> It's probably best to try to avoid set commitments day #1-3 of your off week, if you can.


The tl;dr version = eat clean, drink lots of water, and be disciplined with sleep. You're fighting biology, and weight gain is normal, but is worse if you don't follow good practices.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!! This is exactly what I was looking for. tl;dr...Is that your blog? I just started following!

To everyone else that has also taken the time to comment thank you so much. Every little bit of insight is appreciated! I'll update tomorrow on how it goes telling Walgreens and what not.
 

Gombrich12

No PCAT Required!
7+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 5, 2013
Messages
777
Reaction score
1,036
I always found it takes a day to adjust after working a night shift. I would take the hospital job for the experience with the plan of moving to days in the future.
 

slrpharmd

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
I always found it takes a day to adjust after working a night shift. I would take the hospital job for the experience with the plan of moving to days in the future.

That is definitely my plan! And for now with paying off loans the extra money on night shift will be nice for a few years.

Just to update on results with telling Walgreens. I wanted to go in person to meet with the DM but he was out and about so I called and talked to him. He was very understandable and actually seemed eager to work with me, even offering a guarantee of more hours if I chose to stay with Walgreens. However, I expressed how hospital lines up more with my career goals and future plans. I would definitely advise anyone in this situation to be upfront and honest with their DM; it may even work out for the better. He did state they could not justify spending money to train me for me to stay on just PRN. So that essentially answered my first question.

Anyway thanks all for the advice! I'm sure I'll be back again at some point. :)
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

slrpharmd

New Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2017
Messages
6
Reaction score
1
The tl;dr version = eat clean, drink lots of water, and be disciplined with sleep. You're fighting biology, and weight gain is normal, but is worse if you don't follow good practices.

Totally just got the tl;dr reference! haha for those who don't know it means Too long; didn't read.......But there is also an awesome pharmacy blog called tl;dr pharmacy (although it makes you pay for some things).
 

confettiflyer

Model Citizen™
15+ Year Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2004
Messages
10,094
Reaction score
3,617
Haha oh sometimes when I write long posts I write a quick summary at the top or bottom and note it's the tl;dr version


Sent from my iPhone using SDN mobile app
 

coronagrey

New Member
10+ Year Member
7+ Year Member
Joined
Nov 16, 2007
Messages
9
Reaction score
1
Take the hospital job. Working nights is tough. Did it for a year. Felt like I aged 3 years in that 1 year. But get the experience. Do it for a year or two, then you can find something more ideal.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user
Top