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Question for all the experienced PharMDs and Techs

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by CaPhamT, May 5, 2007.

  1. CaPhamT


    May 5, 2007
    Ok, to start, I'll introduce myself. I'm living here in Houston, Texas, and I'm about to take my Pharmacy tech certification test on the 12th. I've been studying, but that's not what concerns me. What I want to ask, is if those of you who have worked in all areas of a pharmacy would choose a retail setting or institutional one like a hospital. So far, I've considered working at the following:
    And really any hospital that would hire me.

    Also, I have read that pharmacies on the retial side make you work long hours and sometimes without eating. Also, you have to familiarize yourself with different insurance plans and coverage. In a hospital setting, this is not the case, right? Insurance is handled by someone else, and I'm not sure about how "busy" it would get considering every floor should have a medcart or something along those lines, with all the patients' medications for the day. So I would assume the busy part would rely on how many new patients are received. Anyway, before this gets too long, let me know what you all think and have experienced. Also, is it true that now pharmacies are more about who you know, rather that what you know? Thanks for your replies.
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  3. eeyore spice

    eeyore spice 10+ Year Member

    Apr 6, 2006
    the fifth quadrant
    This is true, and reason #2 why I would never work retail.

    1. Somebody has to stock those medcarts, in my hospital's case every bloody day.

    2. You'd be surprised how incredibly frigging busy it can get just with new orders and new patients.
  4. sdn1977

    sdn1977 Senior Member 10+ Year Member

    Jul 28, 2005
    I've done (& do) both - hospital & retail as a pharmacist.

    When you're a pharmacist, you have to be able to do all the jobs - from the mundane to the interesting. So, over time, you learn to take the good with the bad.

    As a tech, you will get more patient interaction in a retail setting - that has its ups & downs (there are great patients/families & some who are just PIAs). Insurance is an issue, but is becoming easier & easier with uniformity in BIN #s, PCN #s,etc. In a hospital, you may get more variety in your work - med carts to IVs to pyxis fills - but....after a few years - its all routine.

    You should never work such long hours that you don't get a meal. You're an employee & covered by state & federal employment laws. You'll rarely, if ever, need to be in a situation so emergent that someone else can't step in so you can get lunch/dinner, whatever. That is not just illegal - its unsafe. If you're a tech - there is always a pharmacist who can do whatever is needed so you can get your meal or break.

    Try all the positions early on if possible - even if you work relief positions. Who knows what might interest you? What works for one might not work for you.

    Good luck!
  5. VCU2011

    VCU2011 7+ Year Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    I've been a tech at Costco for 3 years now and heres their deal as far as breaks go: you get one unpaid 30 min and two paid 15's each day. I've worked at a couple of different costco's and they're different. One is very structured and each person is on a schedule as to when they get their 15's and 30's. The other one i worked at really could care less, you kind of have to look out for yourself, which is what i like. basically if you're getting tired or hungry you just tell the pharmacy manager that you're going to lunch or going to take a 15 and just head out the door. But the shifts are 8 1/2 hour shifts so the days can get a bit long.

    One thing that is nice about costco though which im not sure but i dont think many other retail chains have it is that costco has a workflow system where two different programs work in sync with each other and it has moved the pharmacy away from a tag and bag system. Literally everything is stored in the computer including the number of a bin you put the perscription in once its filled so theres no more looking through bags to find the perscription.

    Anyways, long story short, retail can be pretty annoying at times but depending on the staff at the pharmacy it can either be unbearable or quite a lot of fun.
  6. VCU2011

    VCU2011 7+ Year Member

    Mar 16, 2007
    forgot to add: Costco also pays very well, especially for beginning techs. I guarentee that any of those places listed you will start MUCH higher at Costco than the CVS's or rite-aid's
  7. pharmagirl

    pharmagirl 5+ Year Member

    Aug 25, 2004
    I think this is such a great idea!! Nothing makes me feel like more of an idiot than looking through 100's of prescriptions for that one lost bag that someone misfiled! :laugh:
  8. CaPhamT


    May 5, 2007
    Thanks for the tips; I don't think an institution would hire a tech without any pharmacy experience anyway. I was also thinking that Costco would be the best retial job I could get, mostly because I would have to put up with much of the same b.s. at any other retialer, but I would be getting paid more to compensate. My only other concern is that I'm in school full time, and now I'll be taking summer school to get through my undergrad that much faster. Is it possible to work part time in a pharmacy? Let's say, about 4-5 hours, 3-4 days a week? Once I get my acceptance from U of H, I'm going to stop working and make school my full time job. Would you agree that this is the best way to go? Or is there maybe something I have overlooked?
  9. YanaB


    Apr 16, 2007
    Ahh so true!!

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