student12399

5+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2013
40
1
I'm currently a sophomore in college. I have taken all of the prereqs for Rutgers pharmacy so far and I consider myself as a pre-pharmacy/chemistry major. Since high school I had my mind set on becoming a pharmacist. But lately I've heard from so many people and websites like indeed.com from pharmacists themselves that pharmacy is not what it used to be and it is boring and stressful. So this got me into thinking about becoming a high school chemistry teacher since I absolutely love teaching and science! I also love passing down my knowledge and helping others.
I have worked as a science and SAT tutor and based on my experience I know that I love teaching. I am not so sure about pharmacy since I LOVE learning about medications and science, but I have no idea what the actual profession is like first hand. Since h.s. I've been trying to get a job as a pharm tech but had no luck with that. Pharmacy or teaching chemistry are my only two options since I am a female and don't want to spend too long of a time in school since I wish to have a family in the future (God willing).

So here are my options:
- get my BS in chemistry (and minor with my school's honors college - of which I get a small scholarship from) and become a h.s. chemistry teacher (and if anything get my MBA or higher in the future). however would doing this limit myself from my full potential?
- OR become a pharmacist, learn about medicines (something which i also love) and apply chemistry to the real world (but also go through the stress of applying to rutgers pharmacy and taking the PCAT, getting letters of recommendation, etc.)

I am going to try to shadow a pharmacist if I can, but due to my schedule I need to make this tough decision really soon. Also important to note: money or the status of a job isn't as important to me as being happy with my job, but I also don't want my life to be my job - I want time for family, friends, etc. Either path I will make sure to put all my effort, I need help deciding which one I should follow.

Please give me any helpful advice to help me make my decision, I really appreciate it!
 
Sep 2, 2012
3
1
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Pre-Pharmacy
I completely understand where you are coming from. I'm a senior that is going to graduate with a BS in pharmacology (not pharmacy) March 2014. I've always wanted to be a pharmacist since high school, but after hearing all about how it is not how it use to be and the job market being saturated with pharmacist I might have to reconsider is it really what I want to do. I haven't had any experience in a pharmacy either. I live in New York and I already know that there are a lot of individuals going for pharmacy and lots of small individual pharmacy businesses, so I already know getting a job in the next few years might be difficult in my area

Being in the pharmacology program, I have to do research work in a laboratory in various institutes. I've worked in biochemistry labs conducting peptide synthesis to culture work and I must say I've learn to love bench work. I've learned more things in a course of 2 months than in my regular classes throughout all three years in college and just like you, I love the feeling to have knowledge and empowering other individuals with what I've learned. Obviously, you aren't going to go to a party and start talking to people about peptide synthesis are you now? Don't worry I've done that before. lol. Also I feel much more stimulated in conducting my own experiments and if it is a success I feel like I won the lottery. If it doesn't work; try, try again.

In the end, I'm just saying do what you feel you have the most passion for. From what I read, you really love medicine (me too!!) and teaching it. You would probably be very interested in the realm pharmacology (learning how pharmacokenetics and pharmacodynamics of various drugs).

Didn't mean to give you my life story, but I hope this helped. Best of luck.
 
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Jun 1, 2013
55
2
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Pharmacy Student
any other stories from teachers or pharmacists or people with a similar situation?
I just got accepted to pharmacy school as I've shadowed a lot of clinical pharmacists and really love it. I suggest shadowing the different specialties within in a hospital, they don't get paid as much as retail pharmacists but I find retail to be extremely boring and overwhelming (I work at CVS as a pharm tech). The one pharmacist I shadow quite a few times is a good family friend. She is specializing and also teaching at a pharmacy school. She absolutely loves her work both in the hospital and in academia. As long as you network and shadow, you should be in good shape!
 

student12399

5+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2013
40
1
I just got accepted to pharmacy school as I've shadowed a lot of clinical pharmacists and really love it. I suggest shadowing the different specialties within in a hospital, they don't get paid as much as retail pharmacists but I find retail to be extremely boring and overwhelming (I work at CVS as a pharm tech). The one pharmacist I shadow quite a few times is a good family friend. She is specializing and also teaching at a pharmacy school. She absolutely loves her work both in the hospital and in academia. As long as you network and shadow, you should be in good shape!
great thanks for sharing! do you mind telling me more about your experience whilst shadowing and your observations at clinical pharmacies versus retail? :)
 

Amicable Angora

Lagomorpha
7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2012
1,392
864
Status
Pharmacist
may you expand on your answer please
I'm not the original poster, but as a woman, a teaching occupation is a great lifestyle to raise kids on. You get so many vacation days, you can spend a lot of time with your family, etc.
 
Jun 1, 2013
55
2
Status
Pharmacy Student
great thanks for sharing! do you mind telling me more about your experience whilst shadowing and your observations at clinical pharmacies versus retail? :)
Sure thing! So the first time I shadowed her she was on her Oncology rotation. She was able to compound chemotherapeutic drugs as well as mix IV bags together for nutrition. She also met with interns to go over a "Drug of the Day" type of thing was awesome and she made rounds with the doctor to each patient. Each patient was asked questions by the doctor and proper exams were taken and then the pharmacist would ask the patients about their conditions and go voer possible drug therapy with the doctor. All notes were taken on an iPad as each patient had a separate chart. She was and is still at UH (University Hospital). The second time I shadowed her she was on her internal medicine rotation. This was similar to her last rotation except she went over current research studies going on in the field of pharmacy with another pharmacist. She also Skyped in on a class at Findlay University as she is currently an assistant professor at NEOMED and needed to complete her academia portion of her residency. Through all of this, she was also studying for a board exam (I believe it was for mental health, BCPS?).

I also spent a day at Southwest General Hospital where I was able to rotate to each pharmacy specialty. One rotation was the community pharmacy in the hospital which was terrible. It was exactly like retail just smaller. Here were the rest of the rotations I went to and what I liked and didn't like about them:

2. Surgery. Not as exciting as you'd think. The pharmacist sat in the same room all day and has no patient interaction. Rarely present in the actual OR while a surgery is taking place. She was responsible for making sure that the surgical trays were ready to go before operations, specialized to each patient of course. On the positve side, there is a lot of downtime to work on emails or catch up on some other type of work.

3. Emergency room. Again, not as exciting as you'd think. The pharmacist I shadowed was very dull to begin with in this rotation so that didn't help my perception much. Their was a Code Blue (cardiac arrest) which turned out to be a false alarm but when it happened, the pharmacist sat their calmly and was like, "Oh, we should probably go check that out." I'm like uh yeah, probably! This was my strangest experience of the rotations here. He also had minimal patient interaction.

4. Clinical pharmacy. I was confused on this man's title. I thought clinical pharmacist was just any pharmacist working in the hospital but apparently it's a specialty! This was my one of my top two specialties that I shadowed. He basically did the same exact thing that the other pharmacist that I shadowed at UH did. A high level of patient interaction, "Drug of the Day" with interns, computer work, and solving the most complex cases at the hospital. The latter was one of the key things I enjoyed about his role as well. The task of problem-solving. He had to come up with drug therapies that basically determined life and death.

5. I can't quite remember what it was called, but I shadowed the overnight pharmacist in the basement pharmacy. This is the central location for all of the medications in the hospital besides nursing stations. This was a really laid back role as the pharmacists checked for errors in the prescriptions put in by doctors and suggested alternate medications if they disagreed with what the doctor ordered. If everything was good, then they approved the request and the technicians filled it and shipped it up to the requesting department. Minimal patient interaction.

6. Oncology. Same experience as before, except there were two pharmacists working in an enclosed room rather than just one. No patient interaction.

7. Discharge pharmacy. This was the other one of my top two favorite rotations. She was responsible for patients being discharged from the hospital. She would go over each medication with the patient and when to take each one at home. Made sure they know the possible side effects and all that good stuff. High level of patient interaction, a lot of down time, computer work, and a lot of interaction with the doctors and nurses.

8. Coumadin Clinic. This pharmacist basically acted as a primary care physician but for Coumadin patients. Since this drug follows an extremely strict time schedule and diet, it is vital that patients come in for monthly or weekly appointments. He went over current diets with patients, made sure they are taking their Coumadin at the same time every day, and made sure that they were in good health. High level of patient interaction but meetings are repetitive and short (maybe 15 minutes).

Hope this helps too! If you have any questions I didn't clarify or if there's more details about a specialty that I may have forgotten, just let me know. Oh, and the pharmacists eat together at lunch and talk about their current cases, very cool ;)
 
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student12399

5+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2013
40
1
also
Sure thing! So the first time I shadowed her she was on her Oncology rotation. She was able to compound chemotherapeutic drugs as well as mix IV bags together for nutrition. She also met with interns to go over a "Drug of the Day" type of thing was awesome and she made rounds with the doctor to each patient. Each patient was asked questions by the doctor and proper exams were taken and then the pharmacist would ask the patients about their conditions and go voer possible drug therapy with the doctor. All notes were taken on an iPad as each patient had a separate chart. She was and is still at UH (University Hospital). The second time I shadowed her she was on her internal medicine rotation. This was similar to her last rotation except she went over current research studies going on in the field of pharmacy with another pharmacist. She also Skyped in on a class at Findlay University as she is currently an assistant professor at NEOMED and needed to complete her academia portion of her residency. Through all of this, she was also studying for a board exam (I believe it was for mental health, BCPS?).

I also spent a day at Southwest General Hospital where I was able to rotate to each pharmacy specialty. One rotation was the community pharmacy in the hospital which was terrible. It was exactly like retail just smaller. Here were the rest of the rotations I went to and what I liked and didn't like about them:

2. Surgery. Not as exciting as you'd think. The pharmacist sat in the same room all day and has no patient interaction. Rarely present in the actual OR while a surgery is taking place. She was responsible for making sure that the surgical trays were ready to go before operations, specialized to each patient of course. On the positve side, there is a lot of downtime to work on emails or catch up on some other type of work.

3. Emergency room. Again, not as exciting as you'd think. The pharmacist I shadowed was very dull to begin with in this rotation so that didn't help my perception much. Their was a Code Blue (cardiac arrest) which turned out to be a false alarm but when it happened, the pharmacist sat their calmly and was like, "Oh, we should probably go check that out." I'm like uh yeah, probably! This was my strangest experience of the rotations here. He also had minimal patient interaction.

4. Clinical pharmacy. I was confused on this man's title. I thought clinical pharmacist was just any pharmacist working in the hospital but apparently it's a specialty! This was my one of my top two specialties that I shadowed. He basically did the same exact thing that the other pharmacist that I shadowed at UH did. A high level of patient interaction, "Drug of the Day" with interns, computer work, and solving the most complex cases at the hospital. The latter was one of the key things I enjoyed about his role as well. The task of problem-solving. He had to come up with drug therapies that basically determined life and death.

5. I can't quite remember what it was called, but I shadowed the overnight pharmacist in the basement pharmacy. This is the central location for all of the medications in the hospital besides nursing stations. This was a really laid back role as the pharmacists checked for errors in the prescriptions put in by doctors and suggested alternate medications if they disagreed with what the doctor ordered. If everything was good, then they approved the request and the technicians filled it and shipped it up to the requesting department. Minimal patient interaction.

6. Oncology. Same experience as before, except there were two pharmacists working in an enclosed room rather than just one. No patient interaction.

7. Discharge pharmacy. This was the other one of my top two favorite rotations. She was responsible for patients being discharged from the hospital. She would go over each medication with the patient and when to take each one at home. Made sure they know the possible side effects and all that good stuff. High level of patient interaction, a lot of down time, computer work, and a lot of interaction with the doctors and nurses.

8. Coumadin Clinic. This pharmacist basically acted as a primary care physician but for Coumadin patients. Since this drug follows an extremely strict time schedule and diet, it is vital that patients come in for monthly or weekly appointments. He went over current diets with patients, made sure they are taking their Coumadin at the same time every day, and made sure that they were in good health. High level of patient interaction but meetings are repetitive and short (maybe 15 minutes).

Hope this helps too! If you have any questions I didn't clarify or if there's more details about a specialty that I may have forgotten, just let me know. Oh, and the pharmacists eat together at lunch and talk about their current cases, very cool ;)
thanks for this!! also if you don't mind me asking, how did you do on your pcats and did you do 2 years of prereqs or applied to pharm school with a bachelors?
 

student12399

5+ Year Member
Nov 3, 2013
40
1
also, discharge pharmacy really appeals to me from your description! how were you able to shadow so many pharmacists i am currently calling retail pharmacies but due to patient confidentiality it is hard to find a shadowing position
 
Jun 1, 2013
55
2
Status
Pharmacy Student
Hi sorry! My responses are delayed sometimes just because I get bombarded with schoolwork at once. I am finishing up my bachelor's degree in Biology right now and will graduate in spring of 2014. I think two more years make a big difference in terms of maturity and life experiences.
I scored in the 87th percentile on my PCAT I'd have to look up my scores for each category. My highest was 92 in Verbal and lowest was I think 68 in Reading. 85ish for Quantitative (somehow lol), 84 in Biology and 78 in Chemistry. Believe those are the scores I got. I have a 3.87 GPA as well.
But yeah! I really really enjoyed the Discharge rotation. Honestly I just emailed the coordinator who handles all the shadowing opportunities at UH and she emailed me back pretty quickly and was more than happy to set me up with the shadowing day. She came up with the whole schedule for me and everything. It was very nice! So I'm not sure what to tell you, I did have to fill out some paperwork for confidentiality and what not but other than that it went pretty smoothly.
And I believe you can teach any pharmacy class with a pharmD but you need to go through part of your residency in academia I believe. Or to make sure you like it, your P4 year of pharmacy school you can do an academia rotation as an elective.
 

Amicable Angora

Lagomorpha
7+ Year Member
Oct 5, 2012
1,392
864
Status
Pharmacist
The more scientific and theory based the class, the more likely you will be asked to have a Ph.D.
 
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