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Retail Vs Hospital Pay?

josh6718

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    How much difference is their in pay on average between a pharmacist working in a retail store like CVS compared to working in a public hospital? And why is there such a difference in pay?
     

    pharmdgto

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      josh6718 said:
      How much difference is their in pay on average between a pharmacist working in a retail store like CVS compared to working in a public hospital? And why is there such a difference in pay?

      Their used to be a decent difference in pay between retail and hospital but since the shortage, hospitals have had to up their pay rates to attract and keep pharmacists. I am currently at 104k and a friend of mine just graduated and works for a large inner city hospital in chicago and was about 12k difference right now.

      Hospitals have to pay the physicians (they get preference over everyone and everything) and therefore have budget constraints. Billion dollar companies like walgreens have plenty of money to pay whatever they want and generally set the pay standards for retail.
       

      sdn1977

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        pharmdgto said:
        Their used to be a decent difference in pay between retail and hospital but since the shortage, hospitals have had to up their pay rates to attract and keep pharmacists. I am currently at 104k and a friend of mine just graduated and works for a large inner city hospital in chicago and was about 12k difference right now.

        Hospitals have to pay the physicians (they get preference over everyone and everything) and therefore have budget constraints. Billion dollar companies like walgreens have plenty of money to pay whatever they want and generally set the pay standards for retail.

        I have to disagree here:

        Our hospitals don't pay physicians here in CA. In a teaching hospital, the hospital might do the billing for an attending. But we have no physicians who actually care for pts who are employees of the hospital. There are a few who do research who might do research, but these folks don't see pts clinically. Otherwise, physician income is based on billed services. (oh...this excludes residents who are employees, however, their funding comes from many sources - some of which is federal money).

        Market demands & labor agreements set pay rates in my opinion. Some S.CA retail pharmacists are unionized, so their pay scale is negotiated within a union contract. In N.CA, the pay is determined by how difficult or easy it is to find pharmacists to staff the sites. On our north coast, for example....they can make much more than those of us here in the Bay Area because there are so few pharmacists.

        Hospital pharmacist pay & retail pay in N CA Bay Area is comparable - varies up & down over an 18-24mo period......it just takes time to adjust for economic factors.
         
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        ZpackSux

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          pharmdgto said:
          Their used to be a decent difference in pay between retail and hospital but since the shortage, hospitals have had to up their pay rates to attract and keep pharmacists. I am currently at 104k and a friend of mine just graduated and works for a large inner city hospital in chicago and was about 12k difference right now.

          Hospitals have to pay the physicians (they get preference over everyone and everything) and therefore have budget constraints. Billion dollar companies like walgreens have plenty of money to pay whatever they want and generally set the pay standards for retail.


          Base pay for hospital pharmacists may be lower. But there are evening, night, and weekend differentials along with more vacation time and opportunity for overtime pay. So, hospital pharmacists can match retail's salary at a better working environment.

          Hospitals do not pay all physicians. There are select few physicians where hospitals guaranty an income but those are usually specialty surgeons who bring in a load of revenue for the hospital. On contract are radiologists, hospitalists, ER docs and etc... but which is a peanut compared to the largest hospital expense which is the salary for the hospital employees.

          But that is not why hospital pharmacist salary is lower but rather it's a more attractive option for pharmacists than a sweat shop retail setting.
           

          sdn1977

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            ZpackSux said:
            Base pay for hospital pharmacists may be lower. But there are evening, night, and weekend differentials along with more vacation time and opportunity for overtime pay. So, hospital pharmacists can match retail's salary at a better working environment.

            Hospitals do not pay all physicians. There are select few physicians where hospitals guaranty an income but those are usually specialty surgeons who bring in a load of revenue for the hospital. On contract are radiologists, hospitalists, ER docs and etc... but which is a peanut compared to the largest hospital expense which is the salary for the hospital employees.

            But that is not why hospital pharmacist salary is lower but rather it's a more attractive option for pharmacists than a sweat shop retail setting.

            Hmmmm - 11-7 as the lone pharmacist with 1 tech who take 5-1/2hrs to load the pyxis machines???? Or...how about working 2 out of 3 holidays between Thanksgiving & New Years.....Or how about having your schedule determined by a nutcase who has control issues & only gives people 2 days off together once a month or does a rolling day/evening/night rotation.....not always a more attractive option.

            That is not to say you do this. I've never actually had a DOP who gets involved in scheduling unless it becomes a problem (like pharmacists quit). But....things may be different in TX.

            Hospital work, IMO is far, far, far less about pay than about lifestyle. To put up with the lifestyle of some places, they have to pay you! (Especially since hospital benefits are much lower than retail.)

            At my hospital now & the previous one before - we have no contracted employee physicians. The "groups" which staff ER, radiology, anesthesia, etc...contract with the hospital to allow exclusive access, scheduling & billing only. None of them are employees here. We used to have one who was the ICU chief, but now with hospitalists, that is not done any longer either.
             

            ZpackSux

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              sdn1977 said:
              Hmmmm - 11-7 as the lone pharmacist with 1 tech who take 5-1/2hrs to load the pyxis machines???? Or...how about working 2 out of 3 holidays between Thanksgiving & New Years.....Or how about having your schedule determined by a nutcase who has control issues & only gives people 2 days off together once a month or does a rolling day/evening/night rotation.....not always a more attractive option.

              That is not to say you do this. I've never actually had a DOP who gets involved in scheduling unless it becomes a problem (like pharmacists quit). But....things may be different in TX.

              Hospital work, IMO is far, far, far less about pay than about lifestyle. To put up with the lifestyle of some places, they have to pay you! (Especially since hospital benefits are much lower than retail.)

              At my hospital now & the previous one before - we have no contracted employee physicians. The "groups" which staff ER, radiology, anesthesia, etc...contract with the hospital to allow exclusive access, scheduling & billing only. None of them are employees here. We used to have one who was the ICU chief, but now with hospitalists, that is not done any longer either.

              Every Hostipal (as my daughter used to call it) is different and the work environment does depend on the leadership some what.

              I have 14 pharmacists and 20 techs for a 240 bed(soon to be 300) hospital. Every pharmacist (except for the graveyard folks) does 1 week of evening every 6 weeks, 1 weekend every 8 weeks, and every part timers do 1 saturday every 3 weeks but never a Sunday.. and we rotate holidays.. and I am in the mix. It's fair, everyone is happy, and every day shift has 1 extra pharmcist buffer.

              Income guaranty for physicians usually occur when we're trying to recruit profitable physician to the hospital. The guaranty only lasts year or 2 until the physician can get their practice up and running. We don't make a habit out of it.

              If a tech is taking 5 hours to fill Pyxis, he or she is out doing other stuff. Or if it's a truly large hospital, then you need 2 techs and 2 pharmacists during graveyard. Never leave a pharmacist alone in the pharmacy ... that's my rule.
               

              sdn1977

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                ZpackSux said:
                Every Hostipal (as my daughter used to call it) is different and the work environment does depend on the leadership some what.

                I have 14 pharmacists and 20 techs for a 240 bed(soon to be 300) hospital. Every pharmacist (except for the graveyard folks) does 1 week of evening every 6 weeks, 1 weekend every 8 weeks, and every part timers do 1 saturday every 3 weeks but never a Sunday.. and we rotate holidays.. and I am in the mix. It's fair, everyone is happy, and every day shift has 1 extra pharmcist buffer.

                Income guaranty for physicians usually occur when we're trying to recruit profitable physician to the hospital. The guaranty only lasts year or 2 until the physician can get their practice up and running. We don't make a habit out of it.

                If a tech is taking 5 hours to fill Pyxis, he or she is out doing other stuff. Or if it's a truly large hospital, then you need 2 techs and 2 pharmacists during graveyard. Never leave a pharmacist alone in the pharmacy ... that's my rule.

                You really must be a good DOP with enough influence w/administration to get such support behind your staff.

                The hospital I left because of staffing issues - 320 beds (officially 360 if you count every neonatal crib & ER gurney) & 42 bed SNF. 10 pharmacists, 4 of which were part-time, 10 techs, coverage from 6A-12MN w/ 1 designated on call pharmacist 365days. Went to 24hr coverage (not a teaching institution...very little order changing - just admissions from ER, L&D). However, prior to this 24 hr....it was not uncommon to come in at 6A - be the only pharmacist with 3 techs, 3 chemo orders (which hadn't been checked for labs, math, tech instructions, etc...) waiting, ICU backed up with orders waiting to be put in so they could access their pyxis, OR requests waiting because the OR pharmacist's kid was sick & couldn't come in until later & the next pharmacists doesn't come in until 9A. Oh....and the DOP - this guy was ALWAYS in a meeting off site or worse - leaving to play golf at 10 knowing all hell had broken loose that morning. Funny - he couldn't figure out why 4 pharmacists quit in the course of a year. Personally....I never wanted to kill someone because I was working short staffed & not paying close enough attention or overlooking something.

                But...you sound like a nice guy & very considerate of your staff & most importantly - supportive!

                For all of you out there looking at hospital jobs.....if you can...talk to the staff.....if they are happy then what the DOP is saying is true. If they aren't happy....there is a disconnect with what is said & what actually happens.

                There is no amount of money which will help you sleep at night if you think you've made a mistake!
                 

                ZpackSux

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                  sdn1977 said:
                  You really must be a good DOP with enough influence w/administration to get such support behind your staff.

                  The hospital I left because of staffing issues - 320 beds (officially 360 if you count every neonatal crib & ER gurney) & 42 bed SNF. 10 pharmacists, 4 of which were part-time, 10 techs, coverage from 6A-12MN w/ 1 designated on call pharmacist 365days. Went to 24hr coverage (not a teaching institution...very little order changing - just admissions from ER, L&D). However, prior to this 24 hr....it was not uncommon to come in at 6A - be the only pharmacist with 3 techs, 3 chemo orders (which hadn't been checked for labs, math, tech instructions, etc...) waiting, ICU backed up with orders waiting to be put in so they could access their pyxis, OR requests waiting because the OR pharmacist's kid was sick & couldn't come in until later & the next pharmacists doesn't come in until 9A. Oh....and the DOP - this guy was ALWAYS in a meeting off site or worse - leaving to play golf at 10 knowing all hell had broken loose that morning. Funny - he couldn't figure out why 4 pharmacists quit in the course of a year. Personally....I never wanted to kill someone because I was working short staffed & not paying close enough attention or overlooking something.

                  But...you sound like a nice guy & very considerate of your staff & most importantly - supportive!

                  For all of you out there looking at hospital jobs.....if you can...talk to the staff.....if they are happy then what the DOP is saying is true. If they aren't happy....there is a disconnect with what is said & what actually happens.

                  There is no amount of money which will help you sleep at night if you think you've made a mistake!

                  Holy cow.. that hospital is jeopardizing patient care by being so severly understaffed.

                  I went to the administration and demanded that I needed 24 FTE regardless of patient census. And it can't be flexed. But I also promised them that the drug cost will be cut by $250,000 to Million a year.

                  75% of pharmacy cost is in the supplies...25% in the salary. 10% cut in salary is nothing compared to 10% cut in supplies.

                  When adequately staffed with robust clinical programs, patient care improves and the durg cost comes down. That's a known fact. If an administration can't see that, then it's not worth working for that hospital. My administration understands what I believe in...and they can fire me if they choose to.. I'm going to staff my pharmacy the way I believe it should be.

                  And if adminstration won't back me..then I'll move on.
                   

                  sdn1977

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                    ZpackSux said:
                    Holy cow.. that hospital is jeopardizing patient care by being so severly understaffed.

                    I went to the administration and demanded that I needed 24 FTE regardless of patient census. And it can't be flexed. But I also promised them that the drug cost will be cut by $250,000 to Million a year.

                    75% of pharmacy cost is in the supplies...25% in the salary. 10% cut in salary is nothing compared to 10% cut in supplies.

                    When adequately staffed with robust clinical programs, patient care improves and the durg cost comes down. That's a known fact. If an administration can't see that, then it's not worth working for that hospital. My administration understands what I believe in...and they can fire me if they choose to.. I'm going to staff my pharmacy the way I believe it should be.

                    And if adminstration won't back me..then I'll move on.

                    Which I did - move on, I mean. Again...not worth making a mistake I'd regret all my life.

                    Actually....before you get to work ;) my question on Novo Seven, which got lost in that thread was a serious one...

                    What did your P&T decide to do? Put it on formulary? With restrictions to service, situation, none? I'm curious - its expensive stuff, but useful in the right place - a waste of money in the wrong place.

                    Just interested in what others are doing with it off label....thanks! :)
                     

                    ZpackSux

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                      sdn1977 said:
                      Which I did - move on, I mean. Again...not worth making a mistake I'd regret all my life.

                      Actually....before you get to work ;) my question on Novo Seven, which got lost in that thread was a serious one...

                      What did your P&T decide to do? Put it on formulary? With restrictions to service, situation, none? I'm curious - its expensive stuff, but useful in the right place - a waste of money in the wrong place.

                      Just interested in what others are doing with it off label....thanks! :)

                      Novo-7 wasn't a P&T subject..rather a bleeder in OR. So we provided it to the patient. Definitely less cost effective than Desmopressin but this is a subject I'm going to have to delve in to. Since it's a blood product, it falls out as an exclusion drug..which means it doesn't penalize me in my pharmacy financial calculation. Sometimes it's a numbers game.
                       

                      ZpackSux

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                        dgroulx said:
                        Knowing some recent graduates in the Tampa Bay area, I can tell you that hospital staff starts in the 70's, clinical in a hospital after a specialty residency pays in the low 80's, retail now pays $50 per hour - just over $100k.

                        I worked for a FL corporate hospital chain and my current co has over 20 hospitals in FL... their staff pharmacists start at low to mid $40 per hour with clinical managers at $50 per hour. No way that Tampa Bay hospital can keep pharmacists at that kind of pay.
                         
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                        pharmdgto

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                          ZpackSux said:
                          Base pay for hospital pharmacists may be lower. But there are evening, night, and weekend differentials along with more vacation time and opportunity for overtime pay. So, hospital pharmacists can match retail's salary at a better working environment.

                          Hospitals do not pay all physicians. There are select few physicians where hospitals guaranty an income but those are usually specialty surgeons who bring in a load of revenue for the hospital. On contract are radiologists, hospitalists, ER docs and etc... but which is a peanut compared to the largest hospital expense which is the salary for the hospital employees.

                          But that is not why hospital pharmacist salary is lower but rather it's a more attractive option for pharmacists than a sweat shop retail setting.

                          I highly doubt that the hospital can come close to matching retail salaries regardless of overtime opportunities. Maybe a clinical pharmacotherapist post lengthy residency or something (maybe I am wrong) but I have the opportunity to work as much ovetime as my body can handle at 75 bucks an hour. Current salary is 104k. Managers are averaging 115-125k a year with bonus. My 104 doesn't include end of year bonus which averages 2-4k as a regular staff pharmacist. I currently recieve 3 weeks paid vacation with 5 personal/sick days paid.

                          and hey....I love my sweat shop 6 figure salary!!! :D
                           

                          ZpackSux

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                            pharmdgto said:
                            I highly doubt that the hospital can come close to matching retail salaries regardless of overtime opportunities. Maybe a clinical pharmacotherapist post lengthy residency or something (maybe I am wrong) but I have the opportunity to work as much ovetime as my body can handle at 75 bucks an hour. Current salary is 104k. Managers are averaging 115-125k a year with bonus. My 104 doesn't include end of year bonus which averages 2-4k as a regular staff pharmacist. I currently recieve 3 weeks paid vacation with 5 personal/sick days paid.

                            and hey....I love my sweat shop 6 figure salary!!! :D

                            I don't know.. I know what my pharmacists get paid.. which isn't far off from retail pay. When I was in Northern Cal, I paid $4 per hour more than retail did...and Wags was always trying to catch up. And it wasn't a sweat shop environment... and they all got their lunch breaks.. got to work sitting down.. at a leisurely pace.
                             

                            ZpackSux

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                              pharmdgto said:
                              I highly doubt that the hospital can come close to matching retail salaries regardless of overtime opportunities. Maybe a clinical pharmacotherapist post lengthy residency or something (maybe I am wrong) but I have the opportunity to work as much ovetime as my body can handle at 75 bucks an hour. Current salary is 104k. Managers are averaging 115-125k a year with bonus. My 104 doesn't include end of year bonus which averages 2-4k as a regular staff pharmacist. I currently recieve 3 weeks paid vacation with 5 personal/sick days paid.

                              and hey....I love my sweat shop 6 figure salary!!! :D

                              Our staff accrue 4 weeks of PTO per year + 6 holidays and 2 weeks of sick days. $2 per hour differential in the evening, $6.50 per hour differential night, $4 per hour differential during weekend, and $10 hour differential weekend evening. Time and half for over 8 hours per day and/or over 40 hours per week. And no insurance issues to deal with.
                               

                              ForcedEntry

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                                ZpackSux said:
                                Our staff accrue 4 weeks of PTO per year + 6 holidays and 2 weeks of sick days. $2 per hour differential in the evening, $6.50 per hour differential night, $4 per hour differential during weekend, and $10 hour differential weekend evening. Time and half for over 8 hours per day and/or over 40 hours per week. And no insurance issues to deal with.

                                will work for Zpack in four years :love:
                                 

                                sdn1977

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                                  Z-pack - I think CA is the outlier in pharmacist situations!

                                  I get lunch when I work retail. I get overtime - more than 8hr/day & 40hr/wk. I work sitting down. I get 10 paid holidays, 12 days of sick time per year, 4 weeks vacation & 24hrs/wk is considered full time! When I work hospital, I get the same, except I'm not considered a full time person, so I don't get full time benefits, but my pay is increased to reflect the lack of benefits.

                                  Sometimes....pharmacists are their own worst enemies! You deserve to get paid & be in a respectful situation. When that situation is not good, as mine was, choose to leave. I say that glibly, but it was a decision which took me a year to come to! That doesn't mean being arrogant or rude or disrespectful...but...get involved in your state's pharmacy political action groups & labor relations groups. Personally, decide what the line will be that you won't cross professionally.

                                  My husband's dental hygienists get paid $50/hr to start - 2 years of cc & a great situation to work in (granted....you have to clean teeth all day & pay your own insurance, retirement, etc....) but...you get the idea.

                                  As Z-pack said - explore the space....The world is large & you just have to pass whatever boards are out there to allow you to work. You'd be surprised what others are paid & most importantly, what others are doing professsionally!
                                   

                                  dgroulx

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                                    ZpackSux said:
                                    I worked for a FL corporate hospital chain and my current co has over 20 hospitals in FL... their staff pharmacists start at low to mid $40 per hour with clinical managers at $50 per hour. No way that Tampa Bay hospital can keep pharmacists at that kind of pay.

                                    It's not just pay. At the hospital I just left it was working conditions. One pharmacist said that they are abused like retail, only they sit down and get paid less. You had to type in orders as quickly as possible. If the queue started to get backed up, the director would come out and want to know what the problem was.

                                    One day, a pharmacist left to go use the bathroom. After 10 minutes, the pharmacy director went into the men's room to see why he was taking so long.
                                     

                                    ForcedEntry

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                                      ZpackSux said:
                                      Gene.. really.. explore the space.

                                      I was taken too literal.

                                      To clarify: Someone like Zpack that apparently believes in fighting for his staff, provides fair shifts, and promotes a healthy work place. All of this in one package is hard to find.

                                      It's not all money. I would gladly sacrifice gross income for happiness on the job. Kinda like leaving a miserable $60K/yr career to make $10per/hr and go back to school full time. ;)
                                       

                                      ZpackSux

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                                        ForcedEntry said:
                                        I was taken too literal.

                                        To clarify: Someone like Zpack that apparently believes in fighting for his staff, provides fair shifts, and promotes a healthy work place. All of this in one package is hard to find.

                                        It's not all money. I would gladly sacrifice gross income for happiness on the job. Kinda like leaving a miserable $60K/yr career to make $10per/hr and go back to school full time. ;)

                                        ...but the last time I checked...we don't have many songs that feauture the cowbell... :thumbup:
                                         
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                                        ZpackSux

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                                          dgroulx said:
                                          It's not just pay. At the hospital I just left it was working conditions. One pharmacist said that they are abused like retail, only they sit down and get paid less. You had to type in orders as quickly as possible. If the queue started to get backed up, the director would come out and want to know what the problem was.

                                          One day, a pharmacist left to go use the bathroom. After 10 minutes, the pharmacy director went into the men's room to see why he was taking so long.

                                          For every one of those abusive hospitals, there are 10 worse retails.
                                          One hospital does not make it a trend for the entire system.
                                           

                                          pharmdgto

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                                            I think its just the kind of person you are and what you can handle. I love retail, I honestly do, but I don't cower down from my customers either. Usually pharmacists hate retail because they lack the interpersonal skills to do it. Not saying this is the norm but I have heard so many pharmacists that I work with say that they do whatever the patient wants because they don't want to get yelled at. Now who is the gatekeeper of the medication here? You or your customer. I also keep hearing about these forced 12 hour a day, no breaks retail jobs, but I have yet to see that.

                                            It's all relative though. If you want to work retail or hospital, do whatever makes you happy. To me a 6 figure salary with endless 75 dollar an hour overtime, 3.27 to 1 profit sharing, 3 weeks paid vaction that escalates to 5 weeks, paid holidays/personal and sick days plus opportunity for advancement all around the corne which includes corporate is what I like.
                                             

                                            PharmD2b

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                                              im currentluy a graveyard hospital pharmacist in jersey city ,nj. ive done graveyards at retail and here. it sucks either way. it takes a specific type of person to do this job . i find that graveyard guys are exceptional people. i hate this shift and i hate the hours. i did this because its hard to go to hospital after you do retail for a couple of years. i find that night guys are expected to do all the dirty work. here i have no tech , i do all the ivs for the morning dose , profile all the orders, fill them, do phone calls, everything. at walgreens it was worse. it had a drive thru. i am currently looking to get out of this. i reccomend you reconsider.
                                               

                                              pharmdgto

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                                                man, I don't understand why its so hard to run a drive thru and multi-task at the same time. I am wondering if some pharmacists were not techs before they entered pharmacy school or at least interned before graduating. It's not rocket science. Really....
                                                 

                                                beachsaki101

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                                                  Does anyone have a range of pay for pharmacists who work in the hospital versus those who work in retail pharmacy in northern California? I am told by several classmates that they are around $50 to $55/hour with not much difference. Is this true? Please share your information.

                                                  Thanks.

                                                  Beachsaki101
                                                   

                                                  sdn1977

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                                                    Does anyone have a range of pay for pharmacists who work in the hospital versus those who work in retail pharmacy in northern California? I am told by several classmates that they are around $50 to $55/hour with not much difference. Is this true? Please share your information.

                                                    Thanks.

                                                    Beachsaki101

                                                    Beach - right now...Kaiser is the leader in N Ca - pays about $57/hr. All of us have OT in CA, with some exceptions. Retail is still about $52-53....we'll see - currently we have a shortage, but some stores are closing - so again - it takes time to settle out. Other hospitals currently run the high 40's to low 50's - again depends on experience, duties, how much you work, benefitted or not. VA is always less here because of how their pay is structured, but their benefits always outweigh ours. If you're an out-of-state person who just wants to live in CA for a bit - work the VA - you don't need a CA license.

                                                    N CA is diffferent from the south. Our saturation is less here - too expensive to live actually.

                                                    What else do you want to know????
                                                     

                                                    meg

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                                                      I have 14 pharmacists and 20 techs for a 240 bed(soon to be 300) hospital. Every pharmacist (except for the graveyard folks) does 1 week of evening every 6 weeks, 1 weekend every 8 weeks, and every part timers do 1 saturday every 3 weeks but never a Sunday.. and we rotate holidays.. and I am in the mix. It's fair, everyone is happy, and every day shift has 1 extra pharmcist buffer.

                                                      Gosh zpack.. hope you don't have to do that schedule by hand... :scared:
                                                       
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                                                      sdn1977

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                                                        Dental hygienists get paid $50/hr?! :eek: I thought they were paid a lot less.

                                                        Yep - my husband has two hygienists & their hourly pay has always matched mine....at least for the last 20 years. The difference...they don't get benefits & usually don't work full-time (mostly their choice!).

                                                        Don't just think of your hourly pay - hard, I know, right out of school.
                                                         

                                                        dgroulx

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                                                        Jan 10, 2003
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                                                        7
                                                        Woodinville, Washington
                                                        1. Pharmacist
                                                          So what is so special with the VA?

                                                          You're working for the federal government. You get all the federal holidays off. For instance, I didn't have to go to my rotation on Monday for Columbus Day. The hospital is a ghost town by 4:30pm. The benefits health insurance, savings, etc are very good.

                                                          All patients are seen by pharmacists. You make decisions, order labs, prescribe meds and change patient meds if needed. There is a lot more autonomy.

                                                          This is my third week there. I've seen happy, unstressed nurses and happy pharmacists. It's a great place to work, so they don't need to recruit you with a high salary.
                                                           

                                                          sdn1977

                                                          Senior Member
                                                          10+ Year Member
                                                          Jul 28, 2005
                                                          3,547
                                                          19
                                                            You're working for the federal government. You get all the federal holidays off. For instance, I didn't have to go to my rotation on Monday for Columbus Day. The hospital is a ghost town by 4:30pm. The benefits health insurance, savings, etc are very good.

                                                            All patients are seen by pharmacists. You make decisions, order labs, prescribe meds and change patient meds if needed. There is a lot more autonomy.

                                                            This is my third week there. I've seen happy, unstressed nurses and happy pharmacists. It's a great place to work, so they don't need to recruit you with a high salary.

                                                            Also....you can work in any VA with any license, so allows flexibility if you need/want to try to live in another state & it will be temporary or you aren't sure you really want to live there permanently.

                                                            Cons - for high cost of living states, like CA & others, the pay doesn't match comparable non-VA pay, so it would be hard to live on it by yourself. As a second income, its a good gig.

                                                            Also...these are hard jobs to get. VA pharmacists don't move around much...for all the reasons cited above. Its like Kaiser...you have to start on the bottom of the seniority list & wait to move up. But..this is also probably geographic specific....I don't know about other VAs than in my state.
                                                             

                                                            dgroulx

                                                            Night Pharmacist
                                                            10+ Year Member
                                                            15+ Year Member
                                                            Jan 10, 2003
                                                            2,642
                                                            7
                                                            Woodinville, Washington
                                                            1. Pharmacist
                                                              Also...these are hard jobs to get. VA pharmacists don't move around much...for all the reasons cited above. Its like Kaiser...you have to start on the bottom of the seniority list & wait to move up. But..this is also probably geographic specific....I don't know about other VAs than in my state.

                                                              That's true here, too. They have several residencies which you can apply for to get your foot in the door. Without a residency, I doubt that anyone would stand a chance.
                                                               

                                                              TheChemist

                                                              Senior Member
                                                              10+ Year Member
                                                              Dec 12, 2005
                                                              197
                                                              0
                                                              44
                                                              N California
                                                              1. Pharmacy Student
                                                                So what is the pay difference in northern california for VA? And what makes keiser special? Sorry I'm a first year coming in to school with no experience so I'm trying to get a little more educated and figure out what I want to do.
                                                                 

                                                                sdn1977

                                                                Senior Member
                                                                10+ Year Member
                                                                Jul 28, 2005
                                                                3,547
                                                                19
                                                                  So what is the pay difference in northern california for VA? And what makes keiser special? Sorry I'm a first year coming in to school with no experience so I'm trying to get a little more educated and figure out what I want to do.


                                                                  Don't quote me....this is the last I heard: VA in CA (GS-12, everyone) - about $46 + benefits, Kaiser - w/o experience other than intern experience - $53, w/experience $57 - comparable benefits.

                                                                  The pros & cons are about the same. The hierarcy is similar, the jobs are similar, the hours/days/coverage is similar.

                                                                  But...as a first year in CA....it is WAAAY too soon to figure out what you want to do. Try a lot of things first! Take every opportunity which crosses your path - who knows where it might lead?
                                                                   
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