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Pharmacy School or DO School?

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FinallyOnTrack

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Good Morning everyone!

I am at the stage to where I am applying to pharmacy school for 2018 cycle. If I go this route, I am looking at 3 year programs - focusing on South College as my Early Acceptance.

I have worked in the pharmacy for 10 years now and I absolutely love the retail side of it. For every 9 "PITA" patients, you have that 1 patient that makes you love what you do.

I know the market is horrible - but I am staying optimistic on it coming back around. I am not going into pharmacy for the money - yea, it's great, however I enjoy helping make a difference in someone's over all well being.

Now, I am faced with a choice to apply to DO School instead of Pharmacy School. If I go this route, I would be hopeful for ACOM in Dothan, Alabama because it's close to home.

My choice for DO over MD comes from being able to start seeing and working with patients after the first year.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you continue to pursue Pharmacy or check out DO/MD or even PA?

Thanks in advance,
FinallyOnTrack
 

FinallyOnTrack

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Retail Pharmacy is definitely where the money is.. Now, when I look at and hear about Pharmacists gaining Prescriber status - I feel like this could open the door for more pharmacists - would it not?

BTW; thanks for your reply!
 

LoveWillSaveTheDay

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This question confuses me a little. Have you ever shadowed a DO/MD? I pretty sure it's a requirement for any DO school. These health professions are vastly different in that pharmacy as very little patient contact and DO/MD is the complete opposite. I think you should shadow first before deciding. Going the DO route is benefitting but might not meet your expectations.....
 
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FinallyOnTrack

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This question confuses me a little. Have you ever shadowed a DO/MD? I pretty sure it's a requirement for any DO school. These health professions are vastly different in that pharmacy as very little patient contact and DO/MD is the complete opposite. I think you should shadow first before deciding. Going the DO route is benefitting but might not meet your expectations.....

I know it's polar opposites of each other -- DO/MD is hands on vs. RPh is minimal hands on (unless performing a service like vaccines)..

I was leaning towards changing gears (since they both require the same core pre-requisites) for job security - I'm pretty much set on Pharmacy even with all of the uncertainties that the future brings to it. I do have a background in programming - so I am hoping that worse case scenario I could minor in the computer side of pharmacy and potentially get a job with one of the software companies or even at a hospital defining the drug interactions.
 

lord999

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...are vastly different in that pharmacy as very little patient contact....

Please try to tell me that with a straight face after you have your patients assault or rob you the first time. Probably it would be better to say that patients usually see DOs on the DO's terms outside the ER (which is why ER physicians get special pay and working privileges among physicians), while pharmacists have to see patients on their terms, which is a major source of professional frustration and problems.

To the OP, despite that joking response to the quote, I agree with @LoveWillSaveTheDay 's advice otherwise. That's a fairly different set of requirements, but why not MD? Why are you aiming so low in terms of pharmacy schools (and South is not cheaper)?
 
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PAtoPharm

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Absolutely go to DO school, and for several reasons. Obviously, there's the issue of the job market, which is only getting worse on a year-by-year basis. Also, if you decide you'd like to pursue a career as a hospital pharmacist, prepare to complete at least a PGY-1 residency (and it is possible that a PGY-2 will be required to get a hospital pharmacist job by the time you graduate). Keep in mind that to become an FP or IM physician, it only takes a 3-year residency, so after completing a pharmacy PGY-2, you'd technically only be 1 year away from becoming a practicing physician if you had taken that route. Of course, it would only take one additional year of training after a 3-year IM residency to complete a fellowship and subspecialize as a physician (e.g., cardiologist, gasteroenterologist, etc.), and at that point you'd be looking at earning $300k+.

But even if you're dead-set on becoming a retail pharmacist, you should understand that even the retail job markets are becoming saturated in so many areas, even less desirable ones. It's getting to the point that entire regions of the country (not just the NE or west coast) are now saturated, so if you decide to follow through on becoming a pharmacist, make sure you'd be willing to move to especially rural, isolated areas of the midwest to find a job (or that you'd be willing to undergo close to the same number of years of school/residency it would otherwise take you to become a physician).

Other people on the forum are going to say "he's just a disgruntled ex-student who left pharmacy school after his P1 year, don't listen to him over practicing pharmacists," but everything I'm saying here is based on what I've been told by retail DMs and hospital DOPs regarding the state of the job market (I have even received messages by other members from the southeast who said that they were told the exact same thing by the exact same DM!).
 

steveysmith54

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Retail Pharmacy is definitely where the money is.. Now, when I look at and hear about Pharmacists gaining Prescriber status - I feel like this could open the door for more pharmacists - would it not?

BTW; thanks for your reply!

No. the retail side is dictated by insurance companies and retail chains... in the last decade, we have experienced a lot of consolidation, mergers, mandatory mail order, decease in reimbursement. I have seen multiple independents close and get bought out by corporations. Unless you live in a region of the country where there is still a shortage, it's common to see pharmacists being given only part time hours and have to work in understaffed working conditions.

As far as your comments about prescribing status and need for more pharmacist, If I knew how to use emoji, i'd look for one with biggest smile/laughter.. Since, I don't know how to do such a thing, i will leave it at that and it will have to suffice.
 
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BelowTheMean

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DO all the way dude. Trust me, you wont regret not doing pharmacy. However...if you pick pharmacy, I will bet you will eventually regret not going DO. All my friends doing DO are happy, mostly satisfied. All my friends and classmates in pharmacy...a different story. They would all do MD/DO if given that chance vs pharmacy back then if they had to do it over. That's my 2c.
 
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Abby Atwood

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Going against the grain :)

If you love pharmacy, you may want to pursue a career as a pharmacist. There are downsides to pharmacy and worst case senario you may have to move for a job; however, people in other medical fields are reporting the same thing. There are limits in available jobs for any field, and you may need to move to where you are needed.

If I were you, I would post this question on the DO forums. You have been working in pharmacy, and you know what to expect in pharmacy practice. It might be helpful to get a different perspective.
 
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PAtoPharm

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It's not just a question of having to move to find a job in pharmacy... it's WHERE you'll have to move to that makes the difference. More than likely, you'll have to move to a rural BFE area in the middle of the country (or to some wretched, desolate area of the southeast). Basically, just ask yourself if you'd mind moving to an extremely rural area for an extended period of time (most likely 2-3 years or longer). If the answer is "no," then pharmacy probably isn't for you, even if you enjoy the work/subject matter. It just depends on how much location matters to you. Although, as the national job market becomes more and more saturated with every graduating class, even the rural areas will eventually become saturated.

As an example, if you had been a member of one of the most recent graduating classes (May 2017) at any GA pharmacy school and weren't lucky enough to be one of the few students who had worked for a specific company as an intern for a long enough period of time to be offered a job (I'm talking 6+ years), then you either had to be willing to move to rural south GA to find a job or you had to leave the state, simple as that. If you won't be willing to make such a dramatic move to get a job as a pharmacist (or if you've lived in a non-BFE area for so long that you can't imagine going somewhere desolate), then you won't be happy in pharmacy.

Edited to add: I know someone who worked for a grocery chain for over 10 years (started out as a grocery bagger and eventually became a pharm tech), and the only job the company could find for them was in south GA for 30 hrs/week. Otherwise, this company had no choice but to fire the vast majority of their interns from the c/o 2017 because they simply didn't have jobs for them.
 

Abby Atwood

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For my class of pharmacy grads, I think I'm the only person that moved to a smaller town (not really a rural area) that wasn't actively looking for positions in rural areas due to personal preference. I really wanted to work outside retail pharmacy and I moved for the job I wanted. There have been several pharmacist openings around my original capital city at the retail company I was working for. I keep getting emails.

I empathize with new grads looking for work. It can be difficult depending on what you are looking for and whether you have a license yet; however, there are jobs depending on flexibility. (Can you move? Can you wait a couple months while you get your license?)

Some of the people posting replies on here quit pharmacy school after 1-2 semesters. They have no personal experience, and they don't really know what they are talking about. :)

Addendum: I hope this doesn't seem mean, but I think it would be helpful if people on these "I hate pharmacy, there are no pharmacy jobs" threads would identify the date range for their last job search. By job search, I mean actually sending out applications and actively searching not googling "pharmacist jobs" and your city. I suspect that a lot of people posting haven't really looked for years to decades. I know that some people posting have never actively searched for pharmacist jobs.
 
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nonizondi

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Good Morning everyone!

I am at the stage to where I am applying to pharmacy school for 2018 cycle. If I go this route, I am looking at 3 year programs - focusing on South College as my Early Acceptance.

I have worked in the pharmacy for 10 years now and I absolutely love the retail side of it. For every 9 "PITA" patients, you have that 1 patient that makes you love what you do.

I know the market is horrible - but I am staying optimistic on it coming back around. I am not going into pharmacy for the money - yea, it's great, however I enjoy helping make a difference in someone's over all well being.

Now, I am faced with a choice to apply to DO School instead of Pharmacy School. If I go this route, I would be hopeful for ACOM in Dothan, Alabama because it's close to home.

My choice for DO over MD comes from being able to start seeing and working with patients after the first year.

What are your thoughts on this? Would you continue to pursue Pharmacy or check out DO/MD or even PA?

Thanks in advance,
FinallyOnTrack
Pharmacy school and DO schools are not side orders that you pick up at popeyes.They are both professions that would require good grades, volunteer experiences to determine your interest in them and applying to the various programs for acceptance. Pharmacy might be easier to get in and has great flexibility in terms of hours while medicine could be more difficult to get and wouldn't offer you great flexibility and quick earning. Almost everyone or their parents want them to be a doctor but not everyone can become a doctor. Study for the mcat and shadow a physician to know if you are cut for the chase. Search your conscience to know whether you want to go into the profession for the right reasons. There are medical students who drop out midway in medical school for various reasons and some physicians have decided to quit practicing medicine. Evaluate yourself and do your research before you commit.
 
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PAtoPharm

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Some of the people posting replies on here quit pharmacy school after 1-2 semesters. They have no personal experience, and they don't really know what they are talking about. :)

What part of my post where I said that all my info on the job market came from DMs and DOPs who are in charge of hiring did you not understand? How could I not know what I'm talking about just because I had the foresight to leave the pharmacy sinking ship prior to graduating? If I was actually graduating from pharmacy school right and was told the EXACT SAME THINGS regarding the job market by the exact same DMs and DOPs, would what I posted somehow be magically correct now that it's coming from a Real Pharmacist? Of the information I posted is objectively accurate, that's all that matters. What you said in your post is like telling someone that their answer of 10 to the math problem 5+5 = ? is not correct because they don't have a math degree yet.

I guess that if a real-life pharmacist on here gets in touch with the same DOPs/DMs I have talked to and is told the same things I was told, then the info will be magically accurate. Yeah, right; people are just looking for whatever weak excuses they can find to insist on arguing with anything negative I have to say about pharmacy.
 

LoveWillSaveTheDay

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Pharmacy school and DO schools are not side orders that you pick up at popeyes.They are both professions that would require good grades, volunteer experiences to determine your interest in them and applying to the various programs for acceptance. Pharmacy might be easier to get in and has great flexibility in terms of hours while medicine could be more difficult to get and wouldn't offer you great flexibility and quick earning. Almost everyone or their parents want them to be a doctor but not everyone can become a doctor. Study for the mcat and shadow a physician to know if you are cut for the chase. Search your conscience to know whether you want to go into the profession for the right reasons. There are medical students who drop out midway in medical school for various reasons and some physicians have decided to quit practicing medicine. Evaluate yourself and do your research before you commit.

Agree 100%!!! Is just as many unhappy DO/MDs in the medical forums as there are unhappy pharmacist in this one. I recall reading a "Regret" thread in there.

OP: It's sooooo important to research and work in a field before jumping into it esp if you're doing it because you know a guy that knows a guy that's so happy in his career. There are unhappy people in every career. Just choose what's right for YOU! Both ways will put you in a huge amount of debt, one way has a better job outlook and pay then the other, but both have a potential to make you miserable if it isn't for you.
 
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Apples2Oranges

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Tells everyone to do DO/MD cause it's better. DO/MD turns out to have the highest rates of depression/suicide amongst health professions. Grass always greener? You get more stability and higher ceilings of pay, for sure. But satisfaction or happiness is variable. If anything, do PA or dentistry.

DO school is generally more expensive than a typical state MD school, so you'll leave with ~$300k in debt. That's nothing to smirk at, even if you become a doctor, since most make $180-250k/yr. Considering the years of residency afterwards making average wage, that interest will balloon up quickly.
 
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Genericrph2012

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Absolutely go to DO school, and for several reasons. Obviously, there's the issue of the job market, which is only getting worse on a year-by-year basis. Also, if you decide you'd like to pursue a career as a hospital pharmacist, prepare to complete at least a PGY-1 residency (and it is possible that a PGY-2 will be required to get a hospital pharmacist job by the time you graduate). Keep in mind that to become an FP or IM physician, it only takes a 3-year residency, so after completing a pharmacy PGY-2, you'd technically only be 1 year away from becoming a practicing physician if you had taken that route. Of course, it would only take one additional year of training after a 3-year IM residency to complete a fellowship and subspecialize as a physician (e.g., cardiologist, gasteroenterologist, etc.), and at that point you'd be looking at earning $300k+.

But even if you're dead-set on becoming a retail pharmacist, you should understand that even the retail job markets are becoming saturated in so many areas, even less desirable ones. It's getting to the point that entire regions of the country (not just the NE or west coast) are now saturated, so if you decide to follow through on becoming a pharmacist, make sure you'd be willing to move to especially rural, isolated areas of the midwest to find a job (or that you'd be willing to undergo close to the same number of years of school/residency it would otherwise take you to become a physician).

Other people on the forum are going to say "he's just a disgruntled ex-student who left pharmacy school after his P1 year, don't listen to him over practicing pharmacists," but everything I'm saying here is based on what I've been told by retail DMs and hospital DOPs regarding the state of the job market (I have even received messages by other members from the southeast who said that they were told the exact same thing by the exact same DM!).
Cardiologist fellowship program are more than a year bro

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Genericrph2012

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For my class of pharmacy grads, I think I'm the only person that moved to a smaller town (not really a rural area) that wasn't actively looking for positions in rural areas due to personal preference. I really wanted to work outside retail pharmacy and I moved for the job I wanted. There have been several pharmacist openings around my original capital city at the retail company I was working for. I keep getting emails.

I empathize with new grads looking for work. It can be difficult depending on what you are looking for and whether you have a license yet; however, there are jobs depending on flexibility. (Can you move? Can you wait a couple months while you get your license?)

Some of the people posting replies on here quit pharmacy school after 1-2 semesters. They have no personal experience, and they don't really know what they are talking about. :)

Addendum: I hope this doesn't seem mean, but I think it would be helpful if people on these "I hate pharmacy, there are no pharmacy jobs" threads would identify the date range for their last job search. By job search, I mean actually sending out applications and actively searching not googling "pharmacist jobs" and your city. I suspect that a lot of people posting haven't really looked for years to decades. I know that some people posting have never actively searched for pharmacist jobs.
I applied to one job recently... had a phone interview and an in person interview. No job offer.

I will say I was disappointed they didn't even reach out to let me know I didn't get the job- but I was expecting not to. It wasn't in my specialty of practice for 5 years

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PAtoPharm

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Cardiologist fellowship program are more than a year bro

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Uh oh, in that case, it's totally not worth completing and you might as well do a pharmacy PGY-3 in Sub-Specialty That Leads To An Entry-Level Hospital Staffing Position. Dammit, I shouldn't have quit pharmacy school, what have I done! :laugh:
 

gwarm01

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Uh oh, in that case, it's totally not worth completing and you might as well do a pharmacy PGY-3 in Sub-Specialty That Leads To An Entry-Level Hospital Staffing Position. Dammit, I shouldn't have quit pharmacy school, what have I done! :laugh:

.. he unironically said to a clinical pharmacy specialist working in a desirable city who didn't have to do a residency.

Not that I'm saying this is common, but I just found it funny.
 
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PAtoPharm

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.. he unironically said to a clinical pharmacy specialist working in a desirable city who didn't have to do a residency.

Not that I'm saying this is common, but I just found it funny.

Yeah, and in terms of Contemporary 2017 Pharmacy as it applies to recent, new, and future graduates, how relevant is that? Also, don't forget about the gaping disparity in income, benefits, and job security between a fellowship-trained physician and a residency-trained pharmacist. A local hospital in my area that is owned by a corporate hospital group just announced they're going to make hospital-wide layoffs, and I know for a fact that several clinical pharmacist positions are either being eliminated entirely or being reduced to PT positions (AFAIK, dispensing and outpatient/retail pharmacist jobs are still safe).

The sad thing is, this hospital network doesn't have a residency, but one of the other hospital networks in town does, and they haven't even hired one of their own residency graduates in FOUR YEARS. Before someone argues this last point with me, I was originally informed of this by a member of the SDN pharmacy forums, and I got in touch with a local hospital DOP (one of those I've mentioned knowing before) who verified this to be the case for me.

Yeah, OP, go to DO school if you haven't decided to already.
 

PAtoPharm

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@PAtoPharm

Do you ever tire from spending your free time dissuading people from pharmacy? I get exhausted just reading your posts lol. Not throwing shade btw.

My free time? I make a few posts per day, at the most. It's not like it takes any time or effort to point out the obvious truths I reference in my threads.
 

quickpic007

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    @PAtoPharm

    Do you ever tire from spending your free time dissuading people from pharmacy? I get exhausted just reading your posts lol. Not throwing shade btw.

    I particularly enjoy his/her type of community service-informing others...Real life stories of the struggle!
     

    Lnsean

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    DO all the way...this is a no brainer...unless you hate touching people and stuff.
     

    Amphetamine Salts

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    either decision you make you will be in mountains of debt, which is why you should pursue neither. i recommend looking into business and creating your own future
     

    MackandBlues

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    MD>DO
    Applying to medical school begins over a year before you actually matriculate which means having an MCAT score, tons of shadowing, volunteer work, leadership, as well as a GPA > 3.3-3.5 when you submit applications the DAY it opens in July.


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    MackandBlues

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    "My choice for DO over MD comes from being able to start seeing and working with patients after the first year."

    I'd recommend much more research into DO vs MD because that is not a good reason to go DO. Also if applying for starting medical school in 2018 then you are too late already if you don't have all your application together.


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    DrYoda

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    Two very different jobs. pros and cons to each. Do remember that if you go the med school route you are committing to at least 7 years of training not 4 as residency for physicians is essentially required. pharmacy I imagine has a nicer work/life balance than most physician specialties, but I understand a worse job market. Physician's do make more. but what it really boils down to is what you want and/or are comfortable doing. medicine does have lots of paperwork (no idea about pharmacists), often odd hours and having to take call, do physical exams ect. That said I'm happy personally with my decision to become a physician, it's just not for everyone.

    My choice for DO over MD comes from being able to start seeing and working with patients after the first year.

    That isn't an MD or DO thing. When you start seeing patients is dependent on school curriculum. and unless it's one of the few schools that truly start clinical rotations after 1.5 years what you're hearing is more of an empty sales pitch than anything.
     
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    Z-Qualizer

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    My free time? I make a few posts per day, at the most. It's not like it takes any time or effort to point out the obvious truths I reference in my threads.
    Working on getting an anesthesia tech job before I officially submit my applications; I really think that is going to be a make-it-or-break-it factor for me. Someone else who was kicked out of an AA program was only able to get re-accepted to his AA school after he showed that he was working as an anesthesia tech.

    Have you lined up that anesthesia tech job yet??
     
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    PAtoPharm

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    Have you lined up that anesthesia tech job yet??

    Almost; going to talk with the chief anesthetist of a local anesthesia group this Friday about getting something lined up. It looks like they only want to hire someone to work either PT or PRN, so I'm going to shoot for PT at least. Another alternative that was suggested to me in the event that I really want FT hours is monitor or EKG technician, so I may pursue one of those as an alternative. Also been shadowing the same AAs who wrote me LORs when I applied to AA programs in the past.
     
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    AlwaysContrary

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    A local hospital in my area that is owned by a corporate hospital group just announced they're going to make hospital-wide layoffs, and I know for a fact that several clinical pharmacist positions are either being eliminated entirely or being reduced to PT positions (AFAIK, dispensing and outpatient/retail pharmacist jobs are still safe).

    A few AA positions will probably get eliminated too.

    Damn, I felt like a dick just mentioning someone livelihood is at stake. I don't know how you do it every day PatoPharmtoAAtoprofessionalSDN****poster
     

    nonizondi

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    Almost; going to talk with the chief anesthetist of a local anesthesia group this Friday about getting something lined up. It looks like they only want to hire someone to work either PT or PRN, so I'm going to shoot for PT at least. Another alternative that was suggested to me in the event that I really want FT hours is monitor or EKG technician, so I may pursue one of those as an alternative. Also been shadowing the same AAs who wrote me LORs when I applied to AA programs in the past.
     

    nonizondi

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    Almost; going to talk with the chief anesthetist of a local anesthesia group this Friday about getting something lined up. It looks like they only want to hire someone to work either PT or PRN, so I'm going to shoot for PT at least. Another alternative that was suggested to me in the event that I really want FT hours is monitor or EKG technician, so I may pursue one of those as an alternative. Also been shadowing the same AAs who wrote me LORs when I applied to AA programs in the past.
    anigif_enhanced-8925-1430159283-5.gif
     

    nonizondi

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    Almost; going to talk with the chief anesthetist of a local anesthesia group this Friday about getting something lined up. It looks like they only want to hire someone to work either PT or PRN, so I'm going to shoot for PT at least. Another alternative that was suggested to me in the event that I really want FT hours is monitor or EKG technician, so I may pursue one of those as an alternative. Also been shadowing the same AAs who wrote me LORs when I applied to AA programs in the past.
    View attachment 221810
     

    PAtoPharm

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    A few AA positions will probably get eliminated too.

    Damn, I felt like a dick just mentioning someone livelihood is at stake. I don't know how you do it every day PatoPharmtoAAtoprofessionalSDN****poster

    I doubt it; the AAs/CRNAs are employed by the anesthesia group that is contracted by the hospital, not by the hospital itself. I know the DOP at this hospital just stepped down, so we'll see what happens. I would be willing to bet money that there will be other pharmacists who end up losing their jobs aside from just the "clinical" ones
     
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