Welcome back to MCPHS for the new school year!
Just a quick introduction. This blog is intended to be a tool for you to supplement all the things you are learning in classes, on rotations, or at work. A place for discussion about different topics in pharmacy practice, tips that we have found important at school, and questions that might be brought to our attention. It is hosted by Rho Chi, the pharmacy honor society at MCPHS. We hope to have many different articles by Rho Chi members about topics that they feel are important and that they want to share with you. It’s our goal to foster a discussion that may not otherwise take place. Now on to how I want to start…
When I talk to people about my decision to go to pharmacy school, their first reaction very often seems to be “Oh, that’s nice. You don’t have to decide much about what you’re going to be doing.” Then I have to begin the long discussion about the misconception that is pharmacy. A pharmacist doesn’t just count pills, which I hope you’ve figured out by now. If our classes have taught us anything, it’s that there is a lot more to pharmacy than we thought there was when we came here. Even retail pharmacy is more than it seems: managing staff, dealing with insurance companies, pulling in customers, counseling patients on OTC products, and making sure in the process you correct any mistakes that could harm a patient and cost you your license.
Then we get to the part about really how many DIFFERENT types of pharmacy jobs there are out there. Over the summer a fellow intern asked the pharmacist we worked with, who has been working for 7 years, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Her response was, “I have no idea.” If she has no idea where she wants to end up in her career, how can I, merely 2 years into my professional years of pharmacy school, know where I want to end up? It’s a little nerve-wracking. So, I decided to ask as many young pharmacists as I could about their path to where they stand now. Their answers made me feel a lot better about my indecisiveness.
Krista, who I mentioned above, graduated school and worked at CVS. She then had the opportunity to get into nutritional pharmacy (something I had never considered), where she made TPNs (Total Parenteral Nutrition), while working part time at Rite-Aid. She then moved and started working at an independent pharmacy, which meant a combination of retail, LTC (long-term care), and DME (durable medical equipment). She is now currently working at a hospital pharmacy. This all happened in only 7 years!
Many pharmacists I talked to also started out in retail, but migrated toward hospital pharmacy after a few years. We have an advantage that so many of us will only be around the age of 25 when we graduate. So much time to change our minds. BUT, that doesn’t mean we should just let it go and see where we end up. How lucky we are that there are so many faculty members, with such different backgrounds, that we have the opportunity to talk to and learn from. I’ve also found that many pharmacists not associated with MCPHS love to share their stories too. Use your time wisely and learn about all the possible choices. You never know what you might find.
Any types of pharmacy or research that you have stumbled upon that you had never thought of before? We’d love to hear from you!