Pharmacy job market-which is more to blame, lack of work experience or solely lack of jobs?

WhYMee

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I definitely can see that the jobs in this market are obviously not as abundant as it used to be with all the new grads out there and with companies and hospitals downsizing, but how much are these new grads lack of experience to blame? As I mentioned before the market has changed. But I also noticed that lot of these stories that you here of students not getting jobs, do not have work experience besides their rotations, which is absolutely ridiculous.

When I was in pharmacy school, I commuted across 2 boroughs to go to pharm school and I still worked at a pharmacy for 2 to 3 days a week. Also there is a huge corrolation in my experience between students who worked more and how adequate of a pharmacist they become later in life. For the most part, the ones that worked during school became much better pharmacists than the ones that came in cold.

I graduated awhile ago, but my wife is a fairly new grad (graduated in 2011). Due to the fact that she worked throughout pharmacy school and made the right connections, she was highly sought after when she graduated. She was also fast tracked through the company. She actually left that company and now is a manager at a long term-care pharm.

The point I am trying to make is "get out there and work"!!! When I graduated we had the pharmacist shortage, but that never stopped me from working through pharm school. Not with the market this tight, I am in shock that I still here students have no real work experience......it blow my mind. When the market is crappy, make yourself more desirable....no brainer.

Don't want to be negative, but wake up guys. I'm not writing this to bash, but to maybe encourage prospective job seekers to understand that experience can be your most important asset, even moreso than your GPA.

Good luck out there!
 

Gombrich12

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There have been multiple posts in this forum about students being unable to find tech or internship jobs after long searches. You would think people would start to get the hint when they can't even find an entry level position, but here we are. If there are only 100 jobs a year and 125 pharmacists graduating someone is being left in the cold no matter what.
 

anon89

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I kinda agree with this. I graduated this past May and I have no experience other than my rotations. I'm also Still looking for a job. I've applied to I don't even know how many so far, but I either haven't heard from places or have been straight out rejected.

But also, I know a lot of people in my class who worked at pharmacies through their whole 6 years at pharm school, and weren't given an offer (even the ones that worked at the same place for 6 years). Some were able to sign on with other companies (Rite Aid, CVS) but some weren't.

I definitely do think that have experience is very important, I think my lack of xp is at least part of the reason why I can't find a job now. That plus the overwhelming number of new graduates. But I can't really go back and change the past now, so I'm kinda stuck.

Edit: I forgot to mention, connections can only go so far if there is a lot of competition and/or lack of jobs. I have 2 very strong recommendations/connections in a company and there was an opening I applied for, but even with that, I still haven't heard back. Granted I may need to wait a bit, but it's not guaranteed.
 
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BMBiology

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There have been multiple posts in this forum about students being unable to find tech or internship jobs after long searches. You would think people would start to get the hint when they can't even find an entry level position, but here we are. If there are only 100 jobs a year and 125 pharmacists graduating someone is being left in the cold no matter what.
This is exactly right. If you can't find a tech job or internship, what makes you think you will be able to find a pharmacist job without much work experiences?

I am also wondering if these companies are cutting down on internship positions. Why hire interns when they can get them for free thru pharmacy school rotations?

Just look at the pre pharmacy forum. You will see many students with subpar GPA getting accepted to multiple pharmacy schools. Has admissions changed or these pharmacy schools are just desperate for students and more importantly, their tuition?

Saturation. Free labor. Too many students. All of these factors lead to a lack of opportunity.
 
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StellargalS

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17 year RPh here. Lack of jobs. Plain and simple. Were it more balanced your experience could be a factor. Right now it's musical chairs and sometimes inexperience is more desired. I live in San Diego. My perspective is ahead of the Midwest and other less sought after areas. Like aforeposted if there are 100 jobs and 125 pharmacist some of us won't always grab a chair. I am not sure what the OP's point or motive is.
 
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WhYMee

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I am not sure what the OP's point or motive is.
The motive is 3-fold. The 1st is I posted legitimate question...which is more to blame market or experience. The 2nd, if it is lack of experience, maybe more people will see this thread and try to improve their chances. The 3rd is I have a prospective and very eager pharm student who is a co-worker/friend and I would like to get opinions/facts out there so that I can help make sure that he finds a job when he's done.
 

anon89

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The motive is 3-fold. The 1st is I posted legitimate question...which is more to blame market or experience. The 2nd, if it is lack of experience, maybe more people will see this thread and try to improve their chances. The 3rd is I have a prospective and very eager pharm student who is a co-worker/friend and I would like to get opinions/facts out there so that I can help make sure that he finds a job when he's done.
I guess my question to you is, if there are no jobs/internships/tech positions, then how would one improve their chances due to a lack of experience?
 

StellargalS

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The motive is 3-fold. The 1st is I posted legitimate question...which is more to blame market or experience. The 2nd, if it is lack of experience, maybe more people will see this thread and try to improve their chances. The 3rd is I have a prospective and very eager pharm student who is a co-worker/friend and I would like to get opinions/facts out there so that I can help make sure that he finds a job when he's done.
Ok so you say. I am tired of arguing and would simply like a healthy debate. If my words offend this is not my intent. This is honest inquiry into what you propose your motive to be.

It seems to me that your post is a rhetorical question that doubts the efforts and experience of many a man whose shoes you have never walked in. I could sit here and tell you I am an excellent pharmacist but what good is that? I mention this due to your observation that working Prior to graduation is requisite to the best outcomes of professional competency, which I beg to differ on. And we are both entitled to our opinion.

You want to help your intern. Then help himher network and it is a done deal IMO. I lack popularity in the professional setting. Some have said I am too passionate and they are absolutely right. Perhaps this advice will help your intern to. I think there are alot of successful pharmacists out there but what defines success is subjective. Summarily supply and demand dynamics can be better navigated with the right pals and attitude but in this day and age I think we (I that is) must give up lofty aspirations like " to thine own self be true".
 
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Jul 2, 2013
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I definitely can see that the jobs in this market are obviously not as abundant as it used to be with all the new grads out there and with companies and hospitals downsizing, but how much are these new grads lack of experience to blame? As I mentioned before the market has changed. But I also noticed that lot of these stories that you here of students not getting jobs, do not have work experience besides their rotations, which is absolutely ridiculous.

When I was in pharmacy school, I commuted across 2 boroughs to go to pharm school and I still worked at a pharmacy for 2 to 3 days a week. Also there is a huge corrolation in my experience between students who worked more and how adequate of a pharmacist they become later in life. For the most part, the ones that worked during school became much better pharmacists than the ones that came in cold.

I graduated awhile ago, but my wife is a fairly new grad (graduated in 2011). Due to the fact that she worked throughout pharmacy school and made the right connections, she was highly sought after when she graduated. She was also fast tracked through the company. She actually left that company and now is a manager at a long term-care pharm.

The point I am trying to make is "get out there and work"!!! When I graduated we had the pharmacist shortage, but that never stopped me from working through pharm school. Not with the market this tight, I am in shock that I still here students have no real work experience......it blow my mind. When the market is crappy, make yourself more desirable....no brainer.

Don't want to be negative, but wake up guys. I'm not writing this to bash, but to maybe encourage prospective job seekers to understand that experience can be your most important asset, even moreso than your GPA.

Good luck out there!
It's not that I didn't get a job in pharmacy school b/c I was lazy or I just wanted to focus on school, I couldn't even get a pharm intern job at all. I applied to a bunch of places, even the same places multiple times throughout the years, went to multiple stores in person, got multiple intern licenses from different states. Maybe I could have started workin as a tech in my pre-pharm years, but I didn't have a car nor was I sure I was staying in the pharmacy program, so I waited out until I actually started my P1 year to find a job...which most people did anyway. Don't know why it was a tough haul for me. Another friend of mine is having that problem and I hear it's getting more common with the classes below mine.

I'm not really interested in retail though, I came to pharmacy school to do mostly something clinical based, but it's rough applying to residencies without much work experience other than that I volunteered at my school's medical services.
 
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WhYMee

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I guess my question to you is, if there are no jobs/internships/tech positions, then how would one improve their chances due to a lack of experience?

It's not that I didn't get a job in pharmacy school b/c I was lazy or I just wanted to focus on school, I couldn't even get a pharm intern job at all. I applied to a bunch of places, even the same places multiple times in the year, went to stores in person, got multiple intern licenses from different states. Maybe I could have started workin as a tech in my pre-pharm years, but I didn't have a car nor was I sure I was staying in the pharmacy program, so I waited out until I actually started my P1 year to find a job...which most people did anyway. Don't know why it was a tough haul for me. Another friend of mine is having that problem and I hear it's getting more common with the classes below mine
If there really are no tech/intern jobs out there, then it does really does deem my suggestion irrelevant. My suggestion/oberservation is only valid if a student can gain experience early on and land them a job post-graduation. If a student only applies P3 or 4, it may be too late. But if Kendrick was saying that even in P1, there is difficulty finding a job. When I used to hire, I would eagerly look to hire P1 and P2 and pre-pharmers because they would stick around. By the later years of academia, there was "less return on investment"

The student I am talking about has been working in our pharmacy in a volunteer then employee capacity since high school. I am telling him to expand his work experience to include the chains, in order to become acquainted with it as well as networking.


Ok so you say. I am tired of arguing and would simply like a healthy debate. If my words offend this is not my intent. This is honest inquiry into what you propose your motive to be.

It seems to me that your post is a rhetorical question that doubts the efforts and experience of many a man whose shoes you have never walked in. I could sit here and tell you I am an excellent pharmacist but what good is that? I mention this due to your observation that working Prior to graduation is requisite to the best outcomes of professional competency, which I beg to differ on. And we are both entitled to our opinion.

You want to help your intern. Then help himher network and it is a done deal IMO. I lack popularity in the professional setting. Some have said I am too passionate and they are absolutely right. Perhaps this advice will help your intern to. I think there are alot of successful pharmacists out there but what defines success is subjective. Summarily supply and demand dynamics can be better navigated with the right pals and attitude but in this day and age I think we (I that is) must give up lofty aspirations like " to thine own self be true".
Don't worry. No offense taken. Generally from what I have ascertained from my experience, is that prior to licensure work experience has lead to some of the best pharmacists I know. But I will agree that it is just an opinion.

As far as the student I am talking about, I have never seen someone more eager to be a pharmacist (since I first met my wife...haha). So in that regard he is motivated. He is also very personable and people are drawn to him, so if anyone will make it, I have faith in him
 
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Jibby321

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I was a tech for 3 years before starting pharm school. My employer promoted me to an intern once I got my license no problem. My GF is also in pharm school and has absolutely no experience in a pharmacy but upon speaking to my supervisor and introducing her she was offered an internship on the spot. So it really is a not what you know but who you know kinda market out there. Just my 2 cents.

While in school I still work 8-10 hrs a week.
 
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I'm not all in on this one.
When I went to school, my parents said I couldn't work because they were spending good money so I could learn, not earn $4/hour as a tech. Although I was on a full scholarship, they still said it anyway. They were unbelievably vested in my education. They also rejected my first job offer from Rite Aid for $25/hour, after I accepted it. They made me call back and reject it. Rite Aid countered with $30/hour. I/we accepted. I learned how to negotiate. Thank you, Mom and Dad.
Their argument, not applicable in my case, was sound. Failing one course: would cost thousands more on education, lost wages as a pharmacist and time. For what, the honor of earning $4/hour playing tech while in school.

Over the decades I've worked with greenhorns and work experienced, pharmacy graduates. Both still required much seasoning. They suffer from a dearth in confidence and approachability issues, that makes them employment difficult. They come in with that I am the Pharmacist bravado or plagued by professional insecurity. Unfortunately, school doesn't prepare students for the social aspects required to work with the public or other healthcare professionals. Pharmacists need to be genuinely social creatures and most aren't. Look at how critical and negative we are towards each other in the profession. If you think employers aren't trained to recognize the undesirable traits of people applying for jobs, then I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn, real cheap.

We all have the same license. Something else must be at play here why some are people getting hired, while others aren't. It's not all about education either. Having your triple post residency, graduate fellowship, A#1 clinical whatever isn't the answer either. Although some positions may require certain educational paperwork, most don't. Trust me, if a position required some schooling past PharmD, I'd still wager a dozen donuts, I'd get the position over the other +90% of applicants. That's not even factoring in my rugged good looks.

Remove the stick from your arse, be genuine and confident (not cocky) when approaching your job interviews. You'll get hired or you'll at least be memorable enough to get a position, when one is available.
Remember when interviewing: Boys should be politely disheveled. Girls shouldn't be fretting over their significant other.
 

StellargalS

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If there really are no tech/intern jobs out there, then it does really does deem my suggestion irrelevant. My suggestion/oberservation is only valid if a student can gain experience early on and land them a job post-graduation. If a student only applies P3 or 4, it may be too late. But if Kendrick was saying that even in P1, there is difficulty finding a job. When I used to hire, I would eagerly look to hire P1 and P2 and pre-pharmers because they would stick around. By the later years of academia, there was "less return on investment"

The student I am talking about has been working in our pharmacy in a volunteer then employee capacity since high school. I am telling him to expand his work experience to include the chains, in order to become acquainted with it as well as networking.




Don't worry. No offense taken. Generally from what I have ascertained from my experience, is that prior to licensure work experience has lead to some of the best pharmacists I know. But I will agree that it is just an opinion.

As far as the student I am talking about, I have never seen someone more eager to be a pharmacist (since I first met my wife...haha). So in that regard he is motivated. He is also very personable and people are drawn to him, so if anyone will make it, I have faith in him
I do agree with you later posting about the strength of the pharmacist that started from P1 vs after. This makes good sense and is not even a matter of opinion just good common sense. I was thinking that late starters were nonredeemable in you opinion but I see this is not the context in which you were referring. Good diplomacy and good discussion. Thanks
 
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I invested a ton of time applying early in my P1 year and P2 years. By P3 year, I was giving up hope, just sparsely applying to wherever I could if I had a chance. One hospital had an opening and the lady was honest she wanted a P1 or P2, but I noticed a kid in my class got hired as a P3 for that same position. So I am assuming quite a lot of it is about really who you know.
 

anon89

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I didn't apply to any jobs because I wanted to focus on school and getting through that first. Plus, I fed into the exaggeration that employers would be fighting over me when I graduated, so I didn't feel overly compelled to apply. But I guess it wouldn't have helped anyway, I wouldn't have gotten any offers.

I think we can all agree that starting earlier is better -- isn't that the case with all things? Not that starting late is nonredeemable, but the issue here is, what if you can't start at all?

As far as networking, that's great. But it seems like lately even that isn't anywhere near 100%.
 

BMBiology

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I didn't apply to any jobs because I wanted to focus on school and getting through that first. Plus, I fed into the exaggeration that employers would be fighting over me when I graduated, so I didn't feel overly compelled to apply. But I guess it wouldn't have helped anyway, I wouldn't have gotten any offers.

I think we can all agree that starting earlier is better -- isn't that the case with all things? Not that starting late is nonredeemable, but the issue here is, what if you can't start at all?

As far as networking, that's great. But it seems like lately even that isn't anywhere near 100%.
When you were applying to pharmacy schools, did you any research? Did you talk to pharmacists? Recent grads?

I asked because the job market started to get bad around 2009.
 

bananaface

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I just put up a poll to see how hard it has been for recent grads to find jobs lately. Wish we had more than 10 poll options.

I graduated in 2011. I felt like the market in the areas I wanted to work sucked in 2012 then got a little better in 2013. Not great but better in the relative sense.
 
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When you were applying to pharmacy schools, did you any research? Did you talk to pharmacists? Recent grads?

I asked because the job market started to get bad around 2009.
I came into my program in 2008. I joined this forum and looked elsewhere, to be honest I didn't really realize how bad it was till late 2011, maybe early 2012. I feel like many of my classmates are oblivious to this as well because around a good chunk of my classmates seem to be employed as interns and as far as I know, several received and have accepted offers already. I was almost thinking about dropping from pharmacy school after commencing my pre-pharmacy studies (in May 2010) to pursue med school, but I decided not to because I didn't want to take that risk then. Had I known how bad it was, I would have been more inclined to drop and get my BS.
 
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I didn't apply to any jobs because I wanted to focus on school and getting through that first. Plus, I fed into the exaggeration that employers would be fighting over me when I graduated, so I didn't feel overly compelled to apply. But I guess it wouldn't have helped anyway, I wouldn't have gotten any offers.

I think we can all agree that starting earlier is better -- isn't that the case with all things? Not that starting late is nonredeemable, but the issue here is, what if you can't start at all?

As far as networking, that's great. But it seems like lately even that isn't anywhere near 100%.
I was gonna ask if you had a job now, but I saw the above post, nm.
 

MatCauthon

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work experience is huge, but I can attest that it is very difficult to find a paid internship these days. I received my first offer in 2008, and I had to apply to about 15 companies to get it. Now, I think my chain has pretty much stopped paying interns-- this may or may not be a trend in the future. Some of the hospitals are also utilizing more volunteer internship programs--- and they very competitive to get.

Most of friends that got a job either already worked at their company as intern, impressed their preceptor during a rotation, or had excellent connections with a hiring manager.

I feel bad for students that didn't get to work as an intern during school. I really felt like my 3 years of intern experience really helped me to gain confidence both during and after pharmacy school. Even though my chain was unable to hire me into a salaried position, they let me stay on as a prn pharmacist and that job has been critical for allowing me to have leverage in finding other employment, negotiating wages, etc.
 
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anon89

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When you were applying to pharmacy schools, did you any research? Did you talk to pharmacists? Recent grads?

I asked because the job market started to get bad around 2009.
Nope, I didn't have the sense to to honestly. I was too naive. That and I entered pharmacy school in 2007.

I was gonna ask if you had a job now, but I saw the above post, nm.
Yeah... still applying and searching :( I'm thinking that I might have to find something else to do because why would someone hire me over a new graduate?

Back on topic though, I really do feel that my lack of experience hurt me big time.
 

DiomedeaExulans

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Do the inters who got hired by their chains tend to get hired within their district or do they still need to move away? How much does the length of the internship matter in deciding who goes where or even gets an offer at all? Anyone able to comment on this?
 

BenJammin

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You guys are also forgetting about the relocating aspect. I had a classmate who had family in Clinton, OK and refused to move so it was no wonder she couldn't find a job until she started telling employers she was willing to move.
 

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Our rulers are determined to loot and destroy the middle class

Granted, we may share their outlook on the lower middle class as filthy peasants who don't deserve their money, but that still leaves the question as to why some sleazy nouveau rich ruler deserves it
 
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in pharmacy, as in life, opportunities come with connections. who you know and who will hook you up. maybe it wasn't like this during the shortage, but now that the market is saturated, this holds absolute truth. I feel like the people i know who have no job are usually the introverted, socially awkward guys who may have been brilliant in pharm school but didn't make enough friends to hook them up. your wife did the right thing and opportunities landed right on her doorstep. but not everyone is a social butterfly.
 
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BMBiology

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Everybody thinks they are better than the next guy and reality doesn't hit them until their 3rd year.

(1) I go to a well known school: CVS doesn't care where you have graduated. They only care about their metric numbers. Get ready to be used and abused.

(2) I will be able to pay off my loan easily with my pharmacist salary: take your salary x 0.65 = your take home salary after all of these taxes and health insurance. If you put money in your 401 k, salary x 0.55 = take home salary. 6.8% interest rate? If you borrowed 100 k, that is almost 7 k just in interest per year.

(3) I can buy a house within a few years: you won't even qualify for a mortgage if you are getting just 30 hours a week and you want to buy a house in a big city. Your debt to income ratio is too high, even if you are able to save for a down payment. Besides you may be stuck in a "hard to fill" location aka high crime areas, boonies.

(4) I will just do a residency: jobs for residency trained pharmacist are very selective nowadays since everyone and their mother are doing a residency. You are just going from one saturation to another
 
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Sugoi Travis

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Quick question but...how much better is work experience than school ECs (leadership positions, volunteer work, etc etc)? I want to do retail (don't ask why) and am pulling ~20 hrs/week at my internship (I'm a P1), but I feel like I might be screwing myself over in the long run because of how gung-ho I am in getting work experience over school ECs.
 

HouTX

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get the work experience and do some volunteer work. u do not need to hold any leadership positions
 

type b pharmD

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Both.

There is a distinct lack of new openings to hire all of the new grads each year.. but.. also a lot of the people out there having problems finding jobs have no work experience.

That said, there are jobs out there for both people with experience and people without experience.
 

type b pharmD

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Quick question but...how much better is work experience than school ECs (leadership positions, volunteer work, etc etc)? I want to do retail (don't ask why) and am pulling ~20 hrs/week at my internship (I'm a P1), but I feel like I might be screwing myself over in the long run because of how gung-ho I am in getting work experience over school ECs.
No way. Work experience beats all for retail jobs. At least in my experience and based on what ive heard from preceptors.

Make sure your work experience is high quality though and not just "punching the clock" .. you need to use your work hours to impress people, form a network, become highly competent, and contribute strongly to the team/company/store .

I have met a lot of interns that basically treated their retail job as a min. wage retail job .. this is pretty sad to see. And no, they did not get offers.
 

UoCfin

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So, i hear...*we have a shortage of physicians*
then, i hear...*we have way too many PharmDs*
So, lets cut those PharmD figures...to what value?
then, lets increase those physician figures...to what value?

***sigh***