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Some General Questions

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by markk122, Mar 5, 2007.

  1. markk122

    markk122 2+ Year Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    Hello, I was hoping some of you could help answer a few of my questions. I am currently a Freshman (second semster) biochemsitry major. My GPA is a 3.94. Thanks for the help in advance, I have class all day so I wont be able to respond until later tonight.

    1) How hard is pharmacy shcool. I hear people say that its "really hard" all the time, but that doesnt really answer my question. What makes it so hard? Is it all memorization? Are there a lot of labs involved? Write ups/Papers? A ton of information?

    2) I know the demand for pharmacists is hight right now, but what is it going to be like in about 5-6 years. I know no one can really know exactly how it's going to be, but am I going to be searching from state to state for a job. Is the pay scale going to go down hill by the time im out of school?

    3) What are a pharmacists actual working hours. I hear some pople say that there extremely flexable and I hear other people talking about night shifts. I didnt even think pharmacys were open then?
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  3. markk122

    markk122 2+ Year Member

    Mar 5, 2007
  4. Tessalon

    Tessalon 2+ Year Member

    Feb 6, 2007
    I graduated with a biochem degree before entering pharmacy school. If you can handle that degree, you CAN handle pharmacy school. I thought getting my bachelor's was harder than going through pharm school. But you also have to take into account all of the study skills and maturity you gain with going through 4 years of undergrad. It gives you a more realistic perspecive on graduate school.
    To try and answer your questions:
    1) Pharmacy school is challenging, but I would not consider it overwhelmingly hard. Yes, there is a lot of memorization, and papers - but you ARE going to be dealing with people's lives one day so the work is necessary. We do have labs but they are nothing like your general chemistry labs (that was a big relief for me). If you manage your time wisely and you can still go to every football and basketball game, and also make time to have fun on the weekends. I never once felt like I didn't have time for a social life, and I am graduating with above a 3.8.
    2) I wouldn't worry about the outlook of pharmacy as far as salary or opportunities go. There are so many different paths a pharmacist can follow beyond your retail and hospital setting. What some people are predicting is that everyone may have to follow up their Pharm D with some type of residency program, which typically last 1-2 years. In order to stay competitive with other grads, you may want to look into it anyways - regarless if it is required. I myself am waiting to match for a residency program because I was happier doing my acute care and hospital rotations than retail. Your rotations will really help guide you to the direction you want to go.
    3) Hours depend on where you work, and what times you want to work. Some chains are open 24 hours 7 days a week, some close at night and on Sundays. One of our hospitals sites schedules their pharmacists one month in advance so you know what your month will look like. It is up to you if you want to work night shift or not - you just have to shop around and find the right fit for yourself - just like any other job. You might sign on to work rotating shifts as well, and some places will let you work 8, 10, or 12 hour shifts (yes, that could mean working 3.5 days a week!) or 7 nights on 7 off. My friends signed on for full time retail, and they will work 42 hour work weeks, day and evening shifts (no nights). Not a bad deal for the salary they will be making.:)
    I hope this helps. Good luck with everything!
  5. markk122

    markk122 2+ Year Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    Thanks a bunch! Im glad to hear that it's not that much more difficult than a biochem major. Some people make it sound like brain surgery. I'm handling it pretty well though (my classes). The only class that gives me a problem is Calculus. But I still found a way to get an A last semester. So I guess I have to wait and see.
    Thanks for your time!
  6. Requiem

    Requiem Senior Member Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Jul 22, 2004

    I'll focus on this one, since the others are pretty black and white.

    We do 7 courses/semester - most undergrads do 3-5.
    Our second year of pharmacology/med chem/metabolism/pathophysiology / therapeutics/ pharmacokinetics etc is much harder than any 3-4 lab course in a chem degree. The chem degrees have agreed.

    It's just a ton of material man, with 7 courses you have a pile of lectures every day, you get home and have a pile of work/assignments/readings to do. It just kinda doesn't end, midterm week is like finals except you have a pile of classes to attend, etc.

    The biochem 4th years take our intro pharmacology course, only about 4-5 of them. About 20% of them fail I think. They say its a "GPA killer for med school" and most stay away.
  7. rxforlife2004

    rxforlife2004 Banned Banned 5+ Year Member

    Jan 13, 2004
    1. Pharmacy school isn't that hard if you know how to study effectively. By that, i meant: finding your own method of study. Some people study by themselves, whereas some study with a small group, big group...whatever...But find yourself an own way so u would benefit the best out of it. There are people who are very serious about studying and they spend like at least 6 hours a day straight post lectures, but still fail. And on the other hand, there are people who just study 1-2 hours/day, then review intensively 4-5 hours/day, 2-3 days before the exam and still do pretty well...
    The workload is pretty intense in therapeutic classes (year 2, 3...). You have tons of information, materials, a lot of memorization that you just can't believe u would have to memorize that much. And case studies are always tough in a sense you gotta apply the lectures into real case study and figure out what you would do if ....A....B...C...
    Don't know how other people are, but during the second year of pharmacy school, i found myself my own method to study: I skipped most of the lectures by sleeping in....then showing up in class late...then copy my friends' lecture notes, and study. Yeah. That's me. 'cuz i figured out by the time if i sit in the lecture room for 6 hours...i'll be damn tired and worn out and sleepy...won't be able to study anymore. So screw it.

    2. Job outlook is pretty good for pharmacists. The pay would be increasing for sure. So u don't have to worry about not being able to find a job. It's just where and what you would do. Another reason why there is such shortage is because many pharmacists quit their full time job to become part-time and do something else, or completing quitting it to pursue another career. It's about job satisfaction. So there will always be people in/out in this field...making it balanced out or shorted....

    3. Pharmacists working hours are varies from places to places. If you work in retails, pretty much you'll be working 8 hours/day x5 days/week clock in, clock out. It could be grave yard shift, too...If you work in the hospital, you can work as 10 hours/day, 4 days/week, or per diem, per yeah, it's flexible....

    Hope that clears up
  8. markk122

    markk122 2+ Year Member

    Mar 5, 2007
    Thanks for all the help. Do you really have 7 lectures and labs on top of that? I guess I understand now... the workload must be like hell. How do you get through all that? Just good study habbits and time managment?

    What is your first year of pharmacy school like?
  9. twester

    twester Senior Member 7+ Year Member

    Aug 3, 2004
    Denver, CO
    First year is a shock to the system. I was stunned by the amount of material and the speed with which it was covered. It seemed that, in undergrad, we spent lots of time covering topics or the material was greatly simplified.

    Our school gives an exam every Monday - unless they decide to throw in a two week hiatus so they can give double exams on two consecutive Mondays :smuggrin: . The exams are thorough and, in some cases, focus on minutiae. For example, I didn't know that I needed to memorize the bond strengths of different types of bonds; I know the word "covalent" but do not understand "carbamoylation"; I am used to understanding concepts and then figuring out details about structures - but I was supposed to memorize what was special about two obscure stereoisomers; the phrase "as discussed in class" pops up frequently in exams and I'm, like, :confused: even though I attend class, etc, ad nauseum.

    Pharm school, so far, is not hard in terms of the intellectual power required. It does require a lot of self-discipline and tolerance of eccentric modes of thought on the part of professors. I think it's a worthwhile process. I'm enjoying it for the most part, in spite of days like today. At the same time, I want it to end ASAP.
  10. JRock

    JRock Junior Member 7+ Year Member

    Nov 11, 2004
    The hardest thing for me was to get used to block exams. We have 7 test over Friday, Saturday and Monday. Other than that, I just had to learn to put more effort in than I was used to.

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