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Thoughts on hospital outpatient pharmacy (i.e. Kaiser) vs. retail pharmacy??

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JadeCA

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Hello,

I would like to hear your thoughts about the pros and cons between hospital "outpatient" pharmacy like Kaiser vs. retail pharmacy.

Everyone always exults Kaiser for their benefits and the fact that pharmacists are unionized but aside from that, how is it better than working at Walgreens or Long's?

Thanks for any and all input! :)
 

shal

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At Kaiser, you won't have to deal much with insurance issues or phone calls. At least in northern california, I know the calls are routed to a call center. The only contact you really get with patients are consultations at the window. Hardly anybody asks for OTC advice. My order of preference for working would be Target / Safeway > Kaiser > Walgreens / Longs. The script volume at Target is pretty low and it allows for more time with patients doing consultations etc.
 

JadeCA

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At Kaiser, you won't have to deal much with insurance issues or phone calls. At least in northern california, I know the calls are routed to a call center. The only contact you really get with patients are consultations at the window. Hardly anybody asks for OTC advice. My order of preference for working would be Target / Safeway > Kaiser > Walgreens / Longs. The script volume at Target is pretty low and it allows for more time with patients doing consultations etc.

Thank you for your input. I am in Northern CA and will be graduating in June 2009. I thought I would have made a decision as to where I want to work but am just finding myself constantly weighing the options back and forth. Everyone tells me to work for Kaiser but I am not sure if I can get a full-time position there (might have to be a floater for a little while) and I also feel like a robot there. Retail, on the other hand, has more openings and sign-on bonuses.

I hope I can make the right decision!
 

meister

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I would avoid retail pharmacy at all costs. Getting your foot in the door at a hospital or at an outpatient pharmacy like Kaiser would definitely be the way to go. The two worst parts of working at a retail chain are the phone calls and the insurance companies. Working at Kaiser basically eliminates two of the biggest sources of headaches right off the bat. Can't beat that.

Plus to the best of my knowledge you can use therapy protocols to keep MDs in line every now and then, so you also get a little bit of extra authority.
 

JadeCA

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I would avoid retail pharmacy at all costs. Getting your foot in the door at a hospital or at an outpatient pharmacy like Kaiser would definitely be the way to go. The two worst parts of working at a retail chain are the phone calls and the insurance companies. Working at Kaiser basically eliminates two of the biggest sources of headaches right off the bat. Can't beat that.

Plus to the best of my knowledge you can use therapy protocols to keep MDs in line every now and then, so you also get a little bit of extra authority.

Thanks for your input. I absolutely agree with you. The only thing I don't know if I will like about Kaiser is having to work with 2-3 other pharmacists side by side whereas with retail, most of the time you have autonomy. Do you have experience with this? How is it like working next to other pharmacists day in and day out?
 

shal

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I think I would much rather have 2-3 pharmacists nearby than be the only one. There are so many prescriptions processed by Kaiser that it doesn't seem like anyone is stepping on each other toes. You have shifts scheduled, for example you may be scheduled to do consults from 12-2, then verification 2-4 etc. You can go through the Pharmacy Relief Network and typically they have a certain radius where they will be scheduling you. Otherwise, Oakland always has openings for outpatient pharmacists.

I personally got headaches doing patient consults at Kaiser and looking at the long line out the door! Kaiser prescription verification / filling also reminds me of an assembly line.
 
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