What are the UPs and DOWNs of working overnight at retail pharmacy?

Discussion in 'Pharmacy' started by angelil_yu, Dec 20, 2008.

  1. angelil_yu

    angelil_yu Member
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    Hello all,

    Recently, I was offered a future opportunity to work full time as an overnight pharmacist at a retail chain pharmacy. The hours will be from 8 PM - 8 AM daily for 7 days, then 7 days off, and the cycle goes on.

    I am sure that many of you have heard about it... please, let me hear you opinion. For those who have worked overnight for some time, also please share your stories and experiences.

    I need your input, pros and cons, and would you do it if you are offered that position.

    thank you,

    angelil_yu
     
  2. WVUPharm2007

    WVUPharm2007 imagine sisyphus happy
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    Based upon the experience of a good friend that overnighted for Wags in So Carolina.....

    Cons
    Higher percentage of questionable scripts
    Boring
    F'd up sleep cycle
    That 7th day will drag on forever
    No help

    Pros
    Better pay
    7 days off in a row every other week
    Less work to do
    Great for introverts (most pharmacists)
    No idiot store managers breathing down your back
    You don't have to call a physician on any scripts because they aren't working at 2AM
     
  3. loo

    loo Always Sleepy
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    Additional Cons:

    -Your social life will suffer (you'll be sleeping when your friends/family will be doing things). You may be able to cheat yourself of sleep, but do this too much and you will develop a sleep disorder.

    -If you work the 2nd and 4th weeks, you will be working most of the holidays for the next 7 years.

    -It's a little difficult to switch "days" with folks.

    -It can be busy (my store is busy and I have a tech until 2 AM), but the tradeoff is less bs from customers.

    -Get used to the idea of putting away the warehouse drug order by yourself (no help).

    -Depending on region, the pay is not that much more than dayshift

    BTW, you'll get to know the ED docs well 'cause you'll be verifying narc rx's from frequent flyers...
     
    #3 loo, Dec 21, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2008
  4. Snesley Wipes

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    wvupharm2007 pretty much hit it on the head with the pro's and con's... I did nights as a tech ~ 3yrs and it took me ~ 6months to fully recover from the sleep shift disorder.
    Another pro is to look at the vacation time you receive. You get paid more, work less, and get 26 weeks vacation/year. I assume they give you 2-3 weeks in your bank as well. Consider taking 1 week of paid vacation from your bank, that actually = 3 weeks because of your staggered schedule.

    Snes
     
  5. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Did you just say something?
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    If you don't have a family or other compelling reason to keep banker's hours, then overnight might be worth a try. If you're really a masochist, you can double dip and work during your week off and make a killing.

    Someone mentioned a pro as having less BS from the customer. I'll elaborate with what the overnight told me once...since it's usually late at night and you're the only one there, they're usually a lot more forgiving with waiting. He'll mention, "I'm the only one here tonight so it's going to be a little while," and most people appreciate that.
     
  6. museabuse

    museabuse Senior Member
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    I work nights at CVS. You don't work less hoursin AZ. The hours are split equally between 4 pharmacists. We all work 42 hours or 7 12 hour shifts every 2 weeks. The night pharmacists work 7 on and 7 off 8pm-8am. THe day pharmacists obviously work 8am to 8pm but they split up their days so they don't work more than 3 days in a row.

    The pros are:
    I get paid more than the pharmacy manager... I get 5 dollars extra an hour for night differential.

    I can take 2 weeks off and get 3 weeks off. I can travel, or fly back to see family with out having to plan in advanced, great for last minute deal. I also don't have to ask other people to cover for me. Who really knows their vacation a year in advanced(like CVS wants you to request off).

    Picking up extra shifts is no big deal because when its during your week off its easy, not like picking one up on your two days off when you work days.

    Also it is less busy, less stressful. Time to eat lunch and sit down and rest.

    The cons are:

    I have no techs from 10pm to 8am. Sometimes it can get busy because 5 people come in at same time, but you usually get caught up within the hour.

    Saturday late night/sunday early mornings suck because all the insurances back up and update their system at that time and most insurances are down for a few hours during that time and you have to make pts pay for cash if they have never been there before and thats most people because I get mostly rxs from ER from people who usually don't use pharmacies regularly.

    Calls from lonely insomniacs that you can't get off the phone.

    Fake rxs. But you learn how to spot them and deal with them.

    More chance of getting robbed... we are in nice neighbor hood but have been robbed for oxycontin twice in 08 and both times were at 6am during night shift but not in middle of night.

    I truly believe the messed up sleep schedule does affect your health but so does the busy, high stress, no time for break, no time to sit days. So it is a trade off I believe.

    Also you do a lot of tech work, inventory control, ordering, cleaning, restocking, certain on line reports. These are supposed to be done by techs.

    Working holidays, I worked thanksgiving(although woke up at 4 and had dinner with some friends) xmas eve and day, done with 7 day shift on new years eve at 8am.

    It keeps getting busier because CVS is emrolling more and more people in readyrefill, and these rxs come to queue after you reboot the system at 2am. So sometimes I have 50 refills to fill at 2am. So by 8am I am usually at 50-80 scripts already filled for the day which doesn't sound like much but those scripts are usually filled from 3-8am by myself.


    Right now I love working at nights although ideally I would love to work 7 on 7 off during the day at a store that only does <1000 scripts a week and has adequate tech help. THis year I am going to make over 150,000 and thats with covering the other night pharmacists 3 weeks of vacation and picking up maybe 7 extra shifts. I also went to visit family 3 times each for a week, went on a two week cruise to europe, went on several road trips to CA, and Vegas, and visited friends im NY and florida. I am sure that would be almost immposible for some working during the day to do unless they had 6 weeks vacation.
     
  7. blueclassring

    blueclassring Senior Member
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    I worked the night shift for a biotech company several years ago, I must say that this schedule seriously messes up your sleep patterns. Circadian rhythm cycles go out of whack, and you are at a higher risk of developing certain types of cancers if you do this long term. Do a google search on it.

    If you do decide to do this shift, here's one piece of advice. Wear dark sunglasses when you step outside to get into car to prevent the sun from resetting your circadian rhythms. Also, try to make your sleeping area as dark, and as cool as possible. This should allow you to fall asleep faster.(ie any sunlight that gets into the room may give you problems)

    IMO, this type of work environment is well-suited to single people who don't mind doing in a couple years. It's hard to work in this type of situation with a family because their sleeping/activity cycle will be opposite yours. More than likely you'll spend the first couple days of your day off trying to catch up on sleep. I wouldn't do it for 200K.
     
  8. Snesley Wipes

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    I guess I missed the "12 hour" shift part. I thought it was seven "tens"... That's how it worked at the hospital. Work 7 tens straight, get the overtime which made it like working 80hrs.
    Since 7 "twelves" is the shift, I would bag that idea!
     
  9. NormalSaline

    NormalSaline Isotonic Member
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    Full years salary for 6 months of work - this is a huge point

    You could pick up 3 days in your off week(still working 10/14 days, like the average working stiff)

    working normal 40hr/wk schedule @ $50/hr = 104000
    working overnight schedule + 3 days @ $50/hr = 132800
    overnight schedule + 3 days @ overtime rate = 147200

    not bad.

    Also, working probably less than 8 hours of your 10 hour shift(its gotta slow down sometime around 3am) Gives you at least 2 hours per night to chill, read a romance novel while making $50+/hr

    I think it should also be noted that most new grads have to float, pick up random shifts that nobody else wants, have variable commutes to work...where overnighters are kind of in demand, so you immediately fall into a regular schedule and a home store.

    Ive also heard stories of hospitals not wanting to hire pharmacists who have done retail for 5 years or more, saying that they've probably forgotten everything. You could pick up shifts at a hospital in your off week, and keep yourself a well rounded pharmacist with your foot in 2 doors, so to speak.
     
  10. crossurfingers

    crossurfingers Senior Member
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    I've worked a few nights as a floater. At Walgreens it's 10 hour shifts though. Some store are really easy 24 hour stores and some aren't. Some already have the whole queue for the next day done for you in advance and others you wouldn't be able to finish the whole queue by the morning.

    It's boring, lonely and it seems to drag on and on forever. The upside is that you get paid more, hardly any doctor calls or insurance issues, and way less patients that come in. I think I would pick up an overnight here and there, but I don't think I could do it all the time. It seems to me that the day/evening shifts go by much faster.
     
  11. npage148

    npage148 Senior Member
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    It is mostly busy work with brief moments of being a pharmacist (like 10 minutes of a 12 hours shift). When I work overnight the majority of it is spent filling the script pro, taking out the garbage, filing scripts, and doing inventory BS.
     
  12. Requiem

    Requiem Senior Member
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    Hey man, just wondering how you find that enjoyable? Specifically the predominant tech-esque roles every night?

    Not a hostile question, just curious.
     
  13. npage148

    npage148 Senior Member
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    Well, I find it enjoyable because I only do it once or twice every 4-6 weeks or so. Just when we need a fill in overnight. I couldn't do it regularly. Sometimes I llike turning off my brain and doing tech work. I enjoy counting and filling and I would try to escape to the counting trays during my rotations or putting stock back. I guess it's my personality, I'd probably enjoy assembly line work if it wasn't for the low pay and risk of losing an arm.
     
  14. loo

    loo Always Sleepy
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    1. The figures you quote are gross, not net. Don't forget taxes, SS, health ins, etc.

    2. You're still working a full year, just on a compressed schedule.

    3. Depending on the region, nightshift is very popular and can have a waitlist to get into.
     
  15. loo

    loo Always Sleepy
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    :laugh:

    (Me too, in a weird sort of way. I like to stay busy and I'm glad my store keeps me busy.)
     
  16. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Did you just say something?
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    Yeah, but nothing I ever see lists net. So many different factors go into net, it's kind of useless to post it.
     
  17. tlh908

    tlh908 Senior Member
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    If you don't mind being walked over, then night shift is ok. You are left whatever work they don't want to do during the day. You get no recognization from your supervisors or PIC, I think I have seen my supervisor once the past year (for my performance review). And get all the people who can't sleep calling to ask pointless questions that they won't remember the answer to in the morning. The money is ok, but that is about it (but taxes take most of the extra anyways).
     
  18. confettiflyer

    confettiflyer Did you just say something?
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    Experience is going to be site specific...our overnighter loves the day staff/vice versa.

    And if you're smart, you can reduce your income tax load. Otherwise...Obama needs your money to spend on welfare (actually n/m he's turning into a conservative republican...SWEEET!)
     
  19. Asacol

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    Graveyard shift is great if you have internet access. I worked nights (per deim) in a store where the manager was violently ademant about prohibiting laptop use inside the pharmacy and that really S****D and it was a dead store at night, nothing, nada...
     

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