Sep 19, 2017
1
0
Status
Pharmacy Student
Background: BS in human bio, minor in chemistry. Current P2. Volunteered at a VA (both inpatient and outpatient) before applying to school. Currently work at a psych hospital as a pharmacy extern.

My issue is that I am extraordinarily ambivalent about being in pharmacy school.

P1, fall: Pharmacy school was nothing like I had expected. Too clinical, mostly. It didn't help that a close relative was hospitalized on my second day of class for what turned out to be metastasized lymphoma, so my personal life was a mess.
P1, spring: I dreaded coming back. The only reason I didn't drop out is because by the time I made my decision, I would not have received any tuition back. I tried to give it another shot, dove into the semester, and then took a PCCA Compounding course over the summer to see if I at least liked that.

It turns out that I loved compounding. I see a lot of value in it, healthcare-wise, and do think it is rewarding. But the only other topics in class I personally appreciate tend to be broader, public health topics. These, I get excited about. I go to public health summits and am also involved in my COP's OTC Medication Safety outreach program.
But when I'm trying to learn about drugs, indications, and dosages--the entire point of pharmacy--I am apathetic at best. It is not what I want to be learning about, as it turns out (bring me more courses on bioethics!). I'm strongly considering transferring into an MPH program, but don't know how my job prospects will look without any other healthcare degree. At the same time, I've had instructors tell me that they think I will make a good pharmacist and that the profession needs pharmacists that don't want to work in pharmacies. In that sense, Managed Care seems like an option, but I am going to have to fight for a residency first--not to mention survive three more didactic semesters plus rotations.

My questions for anyone who made it this far in my post are: Did you know anyone like me in pharmacy school? Did they end up becoming pharmacists? Should they have?
 

CetiAlphaFive

2+ Year Member
Apr 12, 2016
4,128
4,579
Status
Pharmacist
Background: BS in human bio, minor in chemistry. Current P2. Volunteered at a VA (both inpatient and outpatient) before applying to school. Currently work at a psych hospital as a pharmacy extern.

My issue is that I am extraordinarily ambivalent about being in pharmacy school.

P1, fall: Pharmacy school was nothing like I had expected. Too clinical, mostly. It didn't help that a close relative was hospitalized on my second day of class for what turned out to be metastasized lymphoma, so my personal life was a mess.
P1, spring: I dreaded coming back. The only reason I didn't drop out is because by the time I made my decision, I would not have received any tuition back. I tried to give it another shot, dove into the semester, and then took a PCCA Compounding course over the summer to see if I at least liked that.

It turns out that I loved compounding. I see a lot of value in it, healthcare-wise, and do think it is rewarding. But the only other topics in class I personally appreciate tend to be broader, public health topics. These, I get excited about. I go to public health summits and am also involved in my COP's OTC Medication Safety outreach program.
But when I'm trying to learn about drugs, indications, and dosages--the entire point of pharmacy--I am apathetic at best. It is not what I want to be learning about, as it turns out (bring me more courses on bioethics!). I'm strongly considering transferring into an MPH program, but don't know how my job prospects will look without any other healthcare degree. At the same time, I've had instructors tell me that they think I will make a good pharmacist and that the profession needs pharmacists that don't want to work in pharmacies. In that sense, Managed Care seems like an option, but I am going to have to fight for a residency first--not to mention survive three more didactic semesters plus rotations.

My questions for anyone who made it this far in my post are: Did you know anyone like me in pharmacy school? Did they end up becoming pharmacists? Should they have?
You're never going to make it through therapeutics. P2 or P3 is the hardest year, depending on the specific school.
 
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Lnsean

10+ Year Member
May 26, 2009
2,341
1,564
Status
Medical Student
you gonna be doing this for 40 years...learn to like it or do something else.
 

Abby Atwood

2+ Year Member
Jan 4, 2017
643
391
Status
Pharmacist
I had a couple interprofessional classes with public health students while I was in pharmacy school. If you hate pharmacy, sticking it out might not be worth it; however, in my experience, public health majors often have to catch up on the basics when it comes to specific disease topics. Even if you are more interested in public health, the PharmD degree isn't worthless :)
 

giga

U.S. Public Health Service
10+ Year Member
Aug 23, 2005
787
1,297
On the land and the sea for humanity
Status
Pharmacist
Honestly, you sound a lot like me. I was always more interested in "broader picture" public health issues like health education, health policy, and social determinants of health. I did well academically in pharmacy school, found some therapeutic topics more interesting than others, but I cant say I really ever got excited about learning how to dose vancomycin or what have you. I was able to pick some engaging non-traditional rotations and clinical experiences during my APPEs, which made my 4th year of school much more tolerable, and even worthwhile.

I still struggle with really finding my "life's work" in the pharmacy profession, and looking back, I probably would have enjoyed going through a combined MD/MPH program more than the pharmacy program I went through. Plus, I would have more work opportunities in line with my current interests.

Nonetheless, there is definitely great and important public health work that PharmDs can do: pharmacoeconomics and public health insurance formulary management, compliance and consumer safety, emergency prepardness and response (maintaining drug caches and medication supply logistics), pharmacovigilance and pharmacoepidemiology, clinical pharmacy services in underserved populations (including immunization services and tobacco cessation services), and so on. You will also be better off, job-wise, if you have a professional degree, such as a PharmD, with an MPH rather than an MPH alone.

Even though I made it through pharmacy school succesfully (as well as through a competitive pharmacy residency program), if I hadn't been able to get a commission with the USPHS I'm not sure I would still be in the pharmacy profession. Being in PHS lets me wear many different public health hats (in addition to wearing a spiffy uniform) that aren't pharmacy-specific, and even the pharmacy-related work I do is mostly on a population health level, which I find more interesting. It is highly competitive to get into USPHS these days, but if you do decide to stick it out with pharmacy school, I would recommend looking into it, and consider applying to their Junior and Senior COSTEP programs.
 

Amphetamine Salts

2+ Year Member
Oct 31, 2015
364
193
Status
Pharmacist
most people that go to pharmacy school aren't really in love with the clinical stuff. I'd say more than half of the students in your class are just doing it to do it. either they're too far in debt or too far into the program to just quit. for whatever reason they made the decision to continue even though they're not very passionate with the profession. nothing wrong with that. higher education gets A LOT of kids. young, naïve 17-18 year old kids that just graduated and have been told since the beginning of high school that college is a must and the end all be all of all life. aka if you don't go to college your doomed at mcdonalds or a garbage truck driver. so yeah, that's how most kids end up in debt or in professions they don't very much enjoy and are too far along to just quit
 
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